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[U] Commonwealth v. Painter

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

February 27, 2014

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, Appellee
v.
ROBERT STANLEY PAINTER, JR., Appellant

NON-PRECEDENTIAL DECISION

Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence December 5, 2012 in the Court of Common Pleas of Fulton County Criminal Division at Nos.: CP-29-CR-0000101-2012, CP-29-CR-0000174-2011, CP-29-CR-0000200-2009

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

MEMORANDUM

PLATT, J.

Appellant, Robert Stanley Painter, Jr., appeals from the judgment of sentence imposed following his open guilty plea to one count each of theft by unlawful taking and perjury.[1] After careful review, we vacate and remand.

On March 13, 2009, the Commonwealth charged Appellant at docket number 200 of 2009 with multiple counts related to the alleged use of a shotgun to threaten and chase individuals from his parents' land in Needmore, Pennsylvania. Appellant fled and was arrested in Maryland for an unrelated parole violation.

On August 10, 2009, Maryland authorities released Appellant to Pennsylvania. Thereafter, Appellant posted bail and, when he did not appear for mandatory arraignment, Pennsylvania authorities issued a bench warrant for his arrest. On October 31, 2009, Maryland authorities again arrested Appellant and a Pennsylvania detainer was placed on him. On January 11, 2010, Maryland authorities returned Appellant to Pennsylvania. On January 13, 2010, Appellant again made bail and was put on electronic monitoring. Appellant fled on February 1, 2010 and as a result, on February 3, 2010, the Commonwealth charged Appellant with escape and theft of the monitoring device at docket number 174 of 2011.

On January 13, 2011, Maryland authorities arrested Appellant and notified the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP). Appellant remained incarcerated in Maryland on the Pennsylvania warrant until July 29, 2011, when Maryland authorities returned Appellant to Pennsylvania pursuant to the Interstate Agreement on Detainers (IAD) Act, 42 Pa.C.S.A. §§ 9101-08.

On October 6, 2011, Appellant filed pre-trial motions. At a November 29, 2011 hearing on the motions, Appellant denied facts related to his October 31, 2009 arrest in Maryland. The Commonwealth filed a perjury charge against Appellant at docket number 101 of 2012. On September 11, 2012, the court denied Appellant's pre-trial motions.

On September 25, 2012, Appellant pleaded guilty to one count each of theft by unlawful taking at number 174 of 2011 and perjury at number 101 of 2012. The remaining charges were nolle prossed. The court ordered that a pre-sentence investigation report (PSI) be prepared. On October 17, 2012, prior to sentencing, Appellant submitted a motion to withdraw his guilty plea. On December 5, 2012, Appellant filed an amended motion in which he asserted his innocence, and the court held a hearing on Appellant's motion that day. At the hearing, Appellant presented the testimony of Dr. Vasantha Kumar, who testified that Appellant had been improperly medicated for Parkinson's disease at the time that he entered his guilty plea, which could have caused hallucinations, confusion, dizziness, and amnesia. (See N.T. Hearing, 12/05/12, at 15-16, 21-22). The same day, the court denied Appellant's motion[2] and sentenced him to not less than eighteen nor more than sixty months' incarceration on the theft by unlawful taking charge, with a consecutive sentence of not less than thirty-six nor more than eight-four months' incarceration on the perjury charge. (See Sentencing Order, Docket Number 174-2011, 12/05/12, at 1; Sentencing Order, Docket Number 101-2012, 12/05/12, at 1). Appellant filed post-sentence motions on December 17, 2012. On March 19, 2013, the court denied Appellant's post-sentence motions. Appellant timely appealed.[3]

Appellant raises two questions for this Court's review:

[1.] Did the court err in denying Appellant's request to withdraw his pre-sentence guilty pleas when Appellant presented fair and just reasons and the Commonwealth did not present evidence that it would be prejudiced if the pleas were withdrawn?
[2.] Did the court err by not including time served by Appellant in foreign jurisdictions while being held on Pennsylvania detainers as ...

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