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[U] Commonwealth v. Clark

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

February 20, 2014

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, Appellee
v.
KEON CLARK, Appellant

NON-PRECEDENTIAL DECISION

Appeal from the PCRA Order May 30, 2013 In the Court of Common Pleas of Indiana County Criminal Division at No(s): CP-32-CR-0000587-2009

BEFORE: FORD ELLIOTT, P.J.E., BOWES, and WECHT, JJ.

MEMORANDUM

BOWES, J.

Keon Clark appeals from the order entered by the court below denying his first-counseled PCRA petition. We affirm.

The PCRA court detailed the following relevant factual and procedural background.

In May 2009, the Pennsylvania State Police received a complaint that persons in the Hickory Meadow Apartments at 110 Roush Drive, White Township, Indiana County were possibly selling and using illegal drugs. Trooper Christopher Leon visited the apartments to conduct surveillance. While driving through the complex, Trooper Leon was stopped by the apartment complex manager and maintenance man. Scott Snyder, the maintenance man, informed Trooper Leon that he removed four trash bags from the rear porch of 110 Roush Drive. Residents were not permitted to leave trash on their porches, and if they did so, Snyder was permitted to remove the trash. Trooper Leon examined the contents of the trash bags and discovered torn and cut baggies that he believed to be evidence of drug paraphernalia consistent with his experience and training. A receipt was also recovered containing the name Heather McGee. Trooper Leon sought and obtained a search warrant for McGee's apartment.
The police searched the residence and removed a bank check box containing bagged heroin and crack cocaine, torn and cut baggies, rubber bands, a digital scale, $50.00 in United States currency, and other drug paraphernalia. Defendant was arrested on unrelated felony drug charges and was found to be in possession of $1, 135.75. As a result of the search of McGee's apartment, Defendant was charged with Possession with Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance-Cocaine and Heroin, Criminal Conspiracy-Possession with Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance, Possession of a Controlled Substance, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. A jury trial began on February 9, 2010 and ended in a mistrial. Defendant's second trial was held on February 22, 2010 and resulted in Defendant being convicted of all charges against him. Defendant appealed to the Superior Court, asserting that the evidence seized by Snyder should have been suppressed because he was a state actor and that there was not probable cause to grant the warrant to search McGee's apartment. The Superior Court [affirmed] and the Supreme Court denied Defendant's appeal.

PCRA Court Opinion, 5/30/13, 1-2.

Appellant filed a timely pro se PCRA petition, and the court appointed counsel. Counsel submitted an amended petition and the PCRA court conducted an evidentiary hearing, wherein trial counsel and Appellant testified. Following the hearing, the PCRA court denied relief. This timely appeal ensued. The PCRA court directed Appellant to file and serve a Pa.R.A.P. 1925(b) concise statement of errors complained of on appeal. Appellant complied, and the PCRA court authored its Pa.R.A.P. 1925(a) opinion. The matter is now ready for our consideration. Appellant raises the following issues for this Court's review.

I. Whether the trial court erred when it denied defendant relief under the Post Conviction Collateral Relief Act when it made a finding that trial counsel was not ineffective counsel, even though insufficient evidence was presented by the Commonwealth on all charges and trial counsel did not argue the claim to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania?
II. Whether the trial court erred when it denied defendant relief under the Post Conviction Collateral Relief Act when it made a finding that trial counsel was not ineffective counsel, even though the weight of the evidence on all charges clearly favored the defendant and trial counsel did not argue the claim to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania?
III. Whether the trial court erred when it denied defendant relief under the Post Conviction Collateral Relief Act, even though trial counsel failed to raise an objection under Pennsylvania Rule of Evidence 404(b) regarding prior bad acts, resulting in severe prejudice to defendant?
IV. Whether the trial court erred when it denied defendant relief under the Post Conviction Collateral Relief Act when it made a finding that defense counsel was not ineffective counsel, even though trial counsel failed to object to the testimony of a Pennsylvania State ...

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