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[U] Commonwealth v. Williams

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

February 20, 2014

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, Appellee
v.
JEFF SCHIRONE WILLIAMS A/K/A JAFARNIA WILLIAMS, Appellant

NON-PRECEDENTIAL DECISION

Appeal from the PCRA Order June 26, 2013, Court of Common Pleas, Allegheny County, Criminal Division at No. CP-02-CR-0014658-2004

BEFORE: FORD ELLIOTT, P.J.E., DONOHUE and PLATT [*] , JJ.

MEMORANDUM

DONOHUE, J.

Appellant, Jeff Schirone Williams a/k/a Jafarnia Williams ("Williams"), appeals from the order granting in part and denying in part relief requested pursuant to the Post-Conviction Relief Act ("PCRA"), 42 Pa.C.S.A. §§ 9541-46. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the trial court's order.

On September 17, 1991, the trial court, per the Honorable Judge Jeffrey Manning, sentenced Williams at CC199193256 to a term of incarceration of five to twelve years for kidnapping and a concurrent term of incarceration of one and one-half years for aggravated indecent assault. During the PCRA proceedings, it was determined that Williams' prior record score for the kidnapping conviction had been miscalculated. On December 21, 2000, Judge Manning re-sentenced Williams to a term of incarceration of two and one-half years to five years on the kidnapping conviction, and a consecutive term of four years of probation on the aggravated indecent assault conviction. Judge Manning's December 21, 2000 sentencing order provided that Williams was to be "released forthwith, " and in accordance with this provision Williams was released from incarceration on December 29, 2000.

On March 26, 2001, the Commonwealth and appointed counsel for Williams jointly signed and filed a motion to clarify the record, in which the parties indicated that the Department of Probation and Parole "has interpreted this Court's order as directing the probation to be effective December 20, 2000." Commonwealth's Motion to Clarify the Record, 3/26/2001, at ¶ 3. On May 31, 2001, Judge Manning signed the order attached to said motion, which order stated that the sentence on the kidnapping conviction was "not less than one (1) nor more than five (5) years imprisonment;" that a term of four years of probation on the aggravated indecent assault conviction was to begin at the expiration of the sentence for kidnapping; and that Williams was entitled to "receive credit for all time-served effective September 17, 1991." Trial Court Order, 5/31/2001, at 1. In effect, the May 31, 2001 order clarified that Williams had served the entirety of his sentences at CC199193256, with no further probation obligations.

On January 10, 2007, at CC200414658 (the present case), a jury found Williams guilty of kidnapping, 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 2901, corruption of minors, 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 6301, possession of a controlled substance with the intent to deliver, 35 P.S. § 780-113(30); and possession of drug paraphernalia, 35 P.S. § 780-113(32). On May 14, 2007, the trial court imposed an aggregate sentence of 15 to 30 years of imprisonment. On May 3, 2010, this Court affirmed the judgment of sentence.

On June 22, 2011, Williams filed a pro se PCRA petition, and the PCRA court appointed counsel to represent him. On August 22, 2011, however, Williams filed a petition for a Grazier hearing, which the PCRA court conducted on October 6, 2011. The PCRA court concluded that Williams' decision to waive his right to appointed counsel was made knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily, and that as a result he could represent himself (with appointed counsel as backup counsel). On October 26, 2011, Williams filed an amended PCRA petition setting forth five issues, including a claim that the trial court had failed to provide him with credit for time served in connection with his sentence at CC199193256. On April 11, 2012, the PCRA court dismissed Williams' PCRA petition. In a memorandum decision dated March 12, 2013, this Court remanded the case for a hearing on the credit for time served issue, stating as follows:

[Williams'] probationary term in CC199193256 was four years; however, the time period for which he seeks credit amounts to four years, three months, and twelve days. Consequently, even if four years of that term were properly credited towards his probationary sentence, the remaining time appears to be unaccounted for.

Memorandum Decision, 3/12/2013, at 15-16.

On June 12, 2013, the PCRA court conducted an evidentiary hearing on remand. In its subsequent June 26, 2013 order, the PCRA court ruled that Williams was entitled to credit for time served from September 17, 2000 until December 29, 2000, a period of three months and twelve days. The PCRA court ruled that Williams was not entitled to credit for time served from September 17, 1991 to September 17, 2000. This appeal followed, in which Williams raises the following issue for our consideration and determination:

Whether the PCRA court erred by failing to credit [Williams] time spent in custody from September 17, 1996 to September 17, 2000, which the prior sentencing court did not explicitly state that the four (4) years of the illegal probation would be credited to the time spent in custody and it was error for the PCRA court to consider the sentencing order entered on May 31, 2001, because it was a nullity.

Williams' Brief at 5.

Sentencing credit for time served is governed by 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 9760, which provides as follows:

§ 9760. Credit for time served

After reviewing the information submitted under section 9737 (relating to report of outstanding charges and sentences) the court shall give credit as follows:
(1) Credit against the maximum term and any minimum term shall be given to the defendant for all time spent in custody as a result of the criminal charge for which a prison sentence is imposed or as a result of the conduct on which such a charge is based. Credit shall include credit for time spent in custody prior to trial, during trial, pending sentence, and pending the resolution of an appeal.
(2) Credit against the maximum term and any minimum term shall be given to the defendant for all time spent in custody under a prior sentence if he is later reprosecuted and resentenced for the same offense or for another offense based on the same act or acts. This shall include credit in accordance with paragraph (1) of this section for all time spent in custody as a result of both the original charge and any subsequent charge for the same offense or for another offense based on the same act or acts.
(3) If the defendant is serving multiple sentences, and if one of the sentences is set aside as the result of direct or collateral attack, credit against the maximum and any minimum term of the remaining sentences shall be given for all time served in relation to the sentence set aside since the commission of the offenses on which the sentences were based.
(4) If the defendant is arrested on one charge and later prosecuted on another charge growing out of an act or acts that occurred prior to his arrest, credit against the maximum term and any minimum term of any sentence resulting from such prosecution shall be given for all time spent in custody under the former charge that has not been credited against another sentence.

42 Pa.C.S.A. § 9760. Under the Sentencing Code, an order of probation constitutes a sentence. 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 9721(1).

In this case, the PCRA court decided that Williams' prior sentence was for a maximum of nine years – a maximum of five years of incarceration on the kidnapping conviction followed by four years of probation on the aggravated indecent assault conviction. Because Williams served nine years, three months and twelve days on this sentence, the PCRA court decided to give Williams a credit on his current sentence for the three months and twelve days he served beyond the maximum on his prior sentence. Accordingly, the PCRA court's order now on appeal gives Williams credit for time served from September 17, 2000 through December 29, 2000.

Williams argues that he was also entitled to credit for the four years from September 17, 1996 through September 17, 2000. To this end, Williams first argues that Judge Manning's May 31, 2001 order did not explicitly state that time served would be credited against the four years of probation on the aggravated indecent assault conviction. Williams' Brief at 11-12. Williams also argues that the May 31, 2001 order was a nullity, since it impermissibly modified his sentence more than five months after its entry on December 21, 2000. Id. at 12-13. Finally, Williams argues that the four-year probationary sentence was itself illegal, since his sentence for aggravated illegal assault had already expired at the time of its imposition on December 21, 2000. Id. at 13.

We need not address these arguments on their merits, however, since they all proceed from an incorrect premise, namely that Williams is legally entitled to any credit for time served on his prior sentence. No language in 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 9760 provides, or even suggests, that an individual is entitled to credit for time served for periods of incarceration on offenses wholly unrelated to the current charges. To the contrary, our Supreme Court has cautioned that the Pennsylvania Constitution neither permits nor requires the establishment of "penal checking accounts, " whereby time served on unrelated charges may subsequently be applied toward a future sentence." Martin v. Pennsylvania Bd. of Probation and Parole, 576 Pa. 588, 605, 840 A.2d 299, 308-09 (2003). Credit for time served is allowed "only if such commitment is on the offense for which sentence is imposed, " and no credit is given "for a commitment by reason of a separate and distinct offense." Commonwealth v. Miller, 655 A.2d 1000, 1002 (Pa. Super. 1995); see also Commonwealth v. Clark, 885 A.2d 1030, 1032-34 (Pa. Super. 2005); Kelly v. Pennsylvania Bd. of Probation and Parole, 900 A.2d 476, 480 (Pa. Commw. 2006).

The PCRA court chose to credit Williams with three months and twelve days on his current sentence, even though we discern no legal requirement that it do so. The Commonwealth does not object on appeal to this ruling, indicating only that Williams received a "favorable ruling" at the remand hearing. Commonwealth's Brief at 19. Accordingly, we will not disrupt the PCRA court's ruling. Williams has not, however, offered any meritorious arguments in support of his contention that he is entitled to credit for any additional time served.

Order affirmed.

Platt, J. concurs in the result.

Judgment Entered.


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