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[U] Commonwealth v. Wilson

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

January 8, 2014

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA Appellee
v.
BEAU ARTHUR WILSON Appellant COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA Appellee
v.
BEAU ARTHUR WILSON Appellant

NON-PRECEDENTIAL DECISION

Appeal from the PCRA Order of September 4, 2012 In the Court of Common Pleas of York County Criminal Division at No.: CP-67-CR-0003552-1998

BEFORE: BOWES, J., WECHT, J., and PLATT, J. [*]

MEMORANDUM

WECHT, J.

Beau Arthur Wilson appeals the PCRA court's order, entered on September 4, 2012, dismissing his most recent petition under the Post-Conviction Relief Act ("PCRA"), 42 Pa.C.S. §§ 9541-46. We affirm.

The PCRA court provides the following brief factual and procedural history:

On November 3, 1999, [Wilson pleaded] no contest to one count of murder in the third degree, one count of robbery, one count of conspiracy to commit robbery, and one count of prohibited offensive weapons.[1] On December 29, 1999, [Wilson] was sentenced to 20-to-40 years[' incarceration] for third[-]degree murder, 5-to-10 years for robbery, 5-to-10 years for conspiracy to commit robbery, and 3-to-12 months for the weapons offense.[2] [Wilson] was a juvenile at the time the crimes were committed. [Thereafter, Wilson filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea, which was denied on or about February 2, 2000.]
[Wilson] filed his first PCRA petition on July 18, 2000, which was denied after a PCRA hearing on August 25, 2000. [Wilson] filed an appeal on September 11, 2000 (docketed at 1811 MDA 2000). On October 23, 2000, we filed our [Pa.R.A.P.] 1925(a) opinion, and the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed by Opinion on September 6, 2001. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court denied allowance [of] appeal on January 31, 2002.
[Wilson] filed another PCRA petition on February 7, 2005, which was denied on May 2, 2005. [Wilson] filed his third PCRA petition on September 7, 2006, and on October 25, 2006, [Wilson's] petition was granted and [his] appeal rights reinstated.[3] On November 22, 2006, [Wilson] filed an appeal, and on January 24, 2007, we issued our [Rule] 1925(a) opinion. The Superior Court quashed the appeal on April 8, 2008.
[Wilson] filed his most recent PCRA petition [on August 10, 2012, ] on the grounds that the United States Supreme Court's recent decision in Miller v. Alabama, 132 S.Ct. 2455 (U.S. 2012), entitles him to a different sentence because he was a juvenile at the time he committed his crimes. [Wilson's] petition was denied because it was untimely, and no exceptions to the timeliness requirement[s under the PCRA] existed.

PCRA Court Opinion ("P.C.O."), 10/12/2012, at 1-2.

The PCRA court's opinion, while accurate, leaves gaps that may create some confusion. Thus, it is necessary to supplement the above account to clarify the sequence of relevant PCRA court orders, and to explain why we resolve two separately docketed appeals in this memorandum. On August 10, 2012, Wilson filed the PCRA petition at bar. On August 14, 2012, the PCRA court issued notice pursuant to Pa.R.Crim.P. 907(1) of its intent to dismiss Wilson's petition without a hearing twenty days hence due to the petition's untimeliness under the PCRA. See Order, 8/14/2012 ("[Wilson's] judgment of sentence became final on December 29, 1999, [4] and no exceptions under 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 9545(b) apply."). Therein, the PCRA court invited Wilson to provide a rebuttal establishing his entitlement to a hearing on his petition. Id. ("[Wilson] may respond to the proposed dismissal within twenty (20) days.").

Rather than file such a rebuttal, on August 31, 2012, before the expiration of twenty days, Wilson filed a notice of appeal with this Court. On September 4, 2012, the PCRA court entered its order dismissing Wilson's PCRA petition. Thereafter, on September 7, 2012, Wilson filed a separate notice of appeal from the PCRA court's September 4, 2012, order, in which he raised precisely the same issues in connection with the same PCRA petition. Because there was no pertinent final order on August 31, 2012, from which Wilson could have appealed, the notice of appeal from that order was a nullity. See Pa.R.Crim.P. 910 ("An order granting, denying, dismissing, or otherwise finally disposing of a petition for post-conviction collateral relief shall constitute a final order for purposes of appeal."); Commonwealth v. Liebensperger, 904 A.2d 40, 43 (Pa.Super. 2006) (same). Consequently, the only appeal at issue herein is that reflected in Wilson's September 7, 2012 notice, which effectively challenged the final order at issue in this case, the PCRA court's September 4, 2012 dismissal order. To the extent any of the above irregularities could compromise the status of Wilson's appeal, we exercise our discretion to overlook the error or errors. See generally Pa.R.A.P. 105(a) (conferring discretion upon this Court to overlook procedural errors "to secure the just, speedy and inexpensive determination of every matter to which they are applicable").[5]

As noted, the PCRA court dismissed Wilson's petition as untimely and subject to none of the exceptions provided by subsection 9545(b) of the PCRA. See P.C.O. ...


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