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[U] Commonwealth v. Holston

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

February 18, 2014

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, Appellee
v.
GREGORY HOLSTON, Appellant

NON-PRECEDENTIAL DECISION

Appeal from the PCRA Order June 5, 2013 in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County Criminal Division at No.: CP-51-CR-1212981-2001

BEFORE: SHOGAN, J., OTT, J., and PLATT, J. [*]

MEMORANDUM

PLATT, J.

Appellant, Gregory Holston, appeals pro se from the order of June 5, 2013, denying his second petition pursuant to the Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA), 42 Pa.C.S.A. §§ 9541-9546. We affirm.

The PCRA court set forth the relevant facts as follows:

Following a jury trial, on July 15, 2003, [Appellant] was convicted of three counts of robbery, one count of kidnapping, and firearms not to be carried without a license. On September 30, 2003, [Appellant] was sentenced to an aggregate term of 10 to 20 years of incarceration to be followed by 5 years of probation. On September 23, 2004, the Pennsylvania Superior [Court] affirmed the judgment of sentence. On February 18, 2005, the Supreme Court denied [allocatur].
[Appellant] filed a timely, pro se PCRA petition on October 4, 2005. Counsel was appointed, and after review, counsel filed a "no-merit" letter under Commonwealth v. Turner, [544 A.2d 927 (Pa. 1988)] and Commonwealth v. Finley[, 550 A.2d 213 (Pa.Super. 1988)]. The PCRA court also conducted its own review, after which the PCRA petition was dismissed. [Appellant] filed an appeal to the Superior Court, who affirmed the dismissal on July 24, 2007.

(PCRA Court Opinion, 6/05/13, at 1-2). Appellant filed the instant pro se PCRA petition, styled as a writ of habeas corpus, on February 26, 2013. The PCRA court entered notice of its intent to dismiss the petition without a hearing, pursuant to Rule 907, on May 10, 2013. See Pa.R.Crim.P. 907(a). Appellant did not respond. On June 5, 2013, the PCRA court denied the petition as untimely and entered an accompanying opinion. Appellant timely appealed.[1]

Appellant raises one compound question for our review:

Did the Commonwealth fail to prove each element necessary to permit a conviction for kidnapping, thereby creating an illegal conviction and sentence, and did the court err in dismissing the petition as untimely?

(Appellant's Brief, at unnumbered page 3).

Our standard of review on appeal from an order denying a PCRA petition is whether the determination of the PCRA court is supported by the evidence of record and is free of legal error. See Commonwealth v. Ragan, 923 A.2d 1169, 1170 (Pa. 2007). The PCRA court's findings will not be disturbed unless there is no support for the findings in the certified record. See Commonwealth v. Carr, 768 A.2d 1164, 1166 (Pa.Super. 2001).

"The PCRA's timeliness requirements are jurisdictional in nature and a court may not address the merits of the issues raised if the PCRA petition was not timely filed." Commonwealth v. Abu-Jamal, 833 A.2d 719, 723-24 (Pa. 2003), cert. denied, 541 U.S. 1048 (2004) (citations and footnote omitted). Section ...


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