February 5, 2014
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, Appellee
RICHARD JARMON, Appellant
Appeal from the PCRA Order November 30, 2012 In the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County Criminal Division at No(s): CP-51-CR-0703901-2006; CP-51-CR-0703911-2006
BEFORE: GANTMAN, J., OLSON, J., and WECHT, J.
Appellant, Richard Jarmon, appeals from the order entered in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, which denied and dismissed his first petition filed pursuant to the Post Conviction Relief Act ("PCRA"). We affirm.
In its opinion, the PCRA court fully and correctly set forth the relevant facts and procedural history of this case. Therefore, we have no reason to restate them.
Appellant raises the following issues for our review:
DID THE PCRA COURT ERR WHEN IT DENIED APPELLANT POST-CONVICTION RELIEF IN THE ABSENCE OF AN EVIDENTIARY HEARING?
IS APPELLANT ENTITLED TO POST-CONVICTION RELIEF SINCE APPELLATE COUNSEL RENDERED INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE OF COUNSEL WHEN HE FAILED TO PROPERLY LITIGATE THE CLAIM OF INSUFFICIENCY OF [THE] EVIDENCE OR RAISE A CLAIM THAT THE VERDICTS OF GUILT ARE AGAINST THE WEIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE SINCE THE TRIAL TESTIMONY OF ERIC RICHARDSON AND DOMINIQUE SUTTON FAILED TO ESTABLISH APPELLANT'S GUILT BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT AND THEREFORE APPELLANT'S CONVICTION HAS BEEN OBTAINED IN VIOLATION OF HIS CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS AND EQUAL PROTECTION OF THE LAW?
IS APPELLANT ENTITLED TO POST-CONVICTION RELIEF SINCE TRIAL COUNSEL RENDERED INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE IN AGREEING TO CONSOLIDATE THE OFFENSES CHARGED AND/OR BY FAILING TO SEEK SEVERANCE OF THE OFFENSES CHARGED DUE TO THE PREJUDICIAL IMPACT OF HAVING THE OFFENSES TRIED TOGETHER?
IS APPELLANT ENTITLED TO POST-CONVICTION RELIEF SINCE TRIAL COUNSEL RENDERED INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE IN FAILING TO OBJECT TO THE TRIAL COURT'S REFERENCE TO APPELLANT'S PRIOR RECORD AND INQUIRING AS TO WHETHER THE KNOWLEDGE OF APPELLANT'S PRIOR RECORD [A]FFECTED THE TRIAL COURT'S ABILITY TO PRESIDE IMPARTIALLY?
IS APPELLANT ENTITLED TO POST-CONVICTION RELIEF SINCE TRIAL COUNSEL RENDERED INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE IN FAILING TO SEEK SUPPRESSION AND/OR THE STRIKING OF THE TESTIMONY OF ERIC RICHARDSON AND DOMINQUE SUTTON GIVEN THE TESTIMONY OF THOSE WITNESSES WAS IN DIRECT CONFLICT WITH THE PHYSICAL FACTS OF THE CASE?
IS APPELLANT ENTITLED TO POST-CONVICTION RELIEF SINCE TRIAL COUNSEL RENDERED INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE IN FAILING TO UTILIZE THE TESTIMONY AND FINDINGS OF PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR SHARON WILLIAMS TO DISCREDIT THE TESTIMONY OF DOMINIQUE SUTTON?
IS APPELLANT ENTITLED TO POST-CONVICTION RELIEF SINCE APPELLATE COUNSEL RENDERED INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE IN FAILING TO AMEND APPELLANT'S APPEAL TO INCLUDE A MELENDEZ-DIAZ ARGUMENT?
IS APPELLANT ENTITLED TO POST-CONVICTION RELIEF SINCE TRIAL COUNSEL RENDERED INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE IN FAILING TO OBJECT TO THE TESTIMONY CONCERNING ANGELA NELSON'S ILLEGAL PURCHASE OF A GUN AND THE SUBSEQUENT THEFT OF THE GUN FROM A CAR THAT [APPELLANT] HAD ACCESS TO SINCE IT HAD NO RELEVANCE AND WAS PREJUDICIAL?
(Appellant's Brief at 4-5).
Our standard of review of the denial of a PCRA petition is limited to examining whether the record evidence supports the court's determination and whether the court's decision is free of legal error. Commonwealth v. Ford, 947 A.2d 1251, 1252 (Pa.Super. 2008), appeal denied, 598 Pa. 779, 959 A.2d 319 (2008). This Court grants great deference to the findings of the PCRA court if the record contains any support for those findings. Commonwealth v. Boyd, 923 A.2d 513, 515 (Pa.Super. 2007), appeal denied, 593 Pa. 754, 932 A.2d 74 (2007). A petitioner is not entitled to a PCRA hearing as a matter of right; the PCRA court can decline to hold a hearing if there is no genuine issue concerning any material fact, the petitioner is not entitled to PCRA relief, and no purpose would be served by any further proceedings. Commonwealth v. Hardcastle, 549 Pa. 450, 454, 701 A.2d 541, 542 (1997).
After a thorough review of the record, the briefs of the parties, the applicable law, and the comprehensive opinion of the Honorable Shelley Robins New, we conclude Appellant's issues merit no relief. The PCRA court opinion discusses and properly disposes of the questions presented. (See PCRA Court Opinion, filed May 2, 2013, at 3-9) (finding: (1) evidentiary hearing was unnecessary where Appellant's ineffectiveness claims lacked arguable merit; (2) Appellant's complaint regarding appellate counsel's alleged failure to raise challenge to sufficiency of evidence on direct appeal is actually challenge to weight of evidence; appellate counsel raised challenges to sufficiency and weight of evidence on direct appeal; Appellant now attempts to re-litigate sufficiency claim under new theory, which does not warrant additional review; moreover, court credited testimony of Eric Richardson that Appellant stood over first murder victim and shot him in head; court credited testimony of Mr. Richardson's wife, which corroborated Mr. Richardson's testimony; court credited testimony of Domanique Sutton, who observed Appellant shoot second murder victim at close range; physical evidence corroborated eyewitnesses' testimony; trial counsel vigorously cross-examined eyewitnesses, raising all avenues of impeachment; thus, Commonwealth presented sufficient evidence to sustain Appellant's convictions and convictions were not against weight of evidence; (3) fact that court tried cases involving separate murder victims together raised no inference of guilt against Appellant in either case and no prejudice occurred, where Appellant was subject to bench trial, not jury trial; evidence demonstrated that second murder occurred because Appellant and his cohort feared second murder victim was witness to first murder, which occurred six days earlier; Ms. Sutton heard Appellant state: "I don't have to worry about you snitching. I am going to get you out of the way. I am just going to end this now"; court properly tried cases together where circumstances of first murder provided motive for second murder; (4) Appellant misinterprets and takes out of context court's comment referring to standard police form; court merely referred to fact that when police arrested Appellant for instant crimes, police might have asked him some background questions contained in standard police form; court's comment did not refer to Appellant possessing criminal record; (5) testimony of Mr. Richardson and Ms. Sutton was not inconsistent with physical evidence; moreover, Appellant's claim that eyewitnesses' testimony was inconsistent with physical evidence is not basis for suppression motion; (6) Appellant provided no affidavit from private investigator explaining what her proffered testimony would have been if called as defense witness; moreover, Appellant's claim that private investigator would have discredited Ms. Sutton's testimony misstates trial testimony; Ms. Sutton testified she witnessed second murder while she was peeking around building, not sitting on steps behind building; (7) Dr. Ian Hood performed autopsy on first murder victim; Dr. Hood did not perform autopsy on second murder victim, but testified that he reviewed autopsy report, autopsy photographs and autopsy file, and independently reached his own conclusion regarding cause and manner of second murder victim's death; Dr. Hood was subject to cross-examination as to cause and manner of both deaths; Appellant's Melendez-Diaz argument fails; (8) court properly admitted testimony of Angela Nelson, Appellant's cousin, to show that Appellant and his cohort had access to type of gun used in crimes). Accordingly, we affirm on the basis of the PCRA court's opinion.