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[U] Commonwealth v. Pope

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

February 28, 2014

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, Appellee
v.
CHARLES POPE, Appellant

NON-PRECEDENTIAL DECISION

Appeal from the PCRA Order Entered May 24, 2011, In the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Criminal Division at No. CP-51-CR-1110171-2004.

BEFORE: PANELLA, SHOGAN and COLVILLE [*] , JJ.

MEMORANDUM

SHOGAN, J.

Appellant, Charles Pope, appeals the order entered on May 24, 2011, that denied his petition filed pursuant to the Post Conviction Relief Act ("PCRA"), 42 Pa.C.S.A. §§ 9541-9546. We affirm.

On November 10, 2006, Appellant was sentenced to an aggregate term of four to eight years of incarceration followed by five years of probation. This sentence followed Appellant's conviction of multiple crimes in connection with sexually assaulting minors. No direct appeal was filed.

On May 21, 2008, Appellant filed a pro se PCRA petition. On May 24, 2008, the PCRA court appointed Attorney David Glanzberg to represent Appellant. After numerous continuances, Attorney Glanzberg filed a Turner/Finley[1] letter and motion to withdraw on February 23, 2011, claiming that Appellant's PCRA petition was untimely, and an appeal would be frivolous. The PCRA court dismissed Appellant's PCRA petition on May 24, 2011, and on May 25, 2011, Appellant, pro se, filed a timely notice of appeal.

In a memorandum filed on August 17, 2012, this Court concluded that Attorney Glanzberg was not granted leave to withdraw. Commonwealth v. Pope, 1424 EDA 2011, 60 A.3d 573 (Pa. Super. filed August 17, 2012) (unpublished memorandum). Accordingly, this Court remanded the matter for counsel to file either an advocate's brief or a brief and petition to withdraw that satisfies the requirements of Turner/Finley. Subsequently, on November 14, 2012, after finding that Attorney Glanzberg had not been served with the August 17, 2012 memorandum, this Court filed an order directing counsel to immediately enter his appearance and comply with the August 17, 2012 memorandum. On December 19, 2012, after discerning that counsel had not yet entered his appearance, this Court entered a subsequent order directing counsel to comply with the earlier order and memorandum within five days. On January 25, 2013, this Court filed a second memorandum in this matter. Commonwealth v. Pope, 1424 EDA 2011, 64 A.3d 287 (Pa. Super. filed January 25, 2013) (unpublished memorandum). In that memorandum, this Court explained that while counsel filed a Turner/Finley letter with this Court, counsel did not comply with the requirements set forth in those cases. Id. Accordingly, this Court directed counsel to file either an advocate's brief or a brief and petition that comply with the dictates of Turner/Finley. Id. Attorney Glanzberg failed to comply. On March 25, 2013, this Court directed the PCRA court to remove Attorney Glanzberg from this case, withhold all legal fees, and appoint new counsel to represent Appellant. On March 27, 2013, current counsel, Attorney Raymond Roberts, was appointed.

On October 16, 2013, Attorney Roberts filed a motion for remand for the filing of a Pa.R.A.P. 1925(b) statement and Pa.R.A.P. 1925(a) opinion, and a motion for extension of time to file Appellant's brief. In an order filed on October 23, 2013, this Court directed as follows:

Appellant is granted fourteen days from the entry of this order to file in the PCRA court a Statement of Errors Complained of on Appeal. The PCRA court has fourteen days after the receipt of Appellant's statement to issue an opinion in response to the statement.
Within 30 days of the date the court files its opinion, Appellant's counsel must file in this Court either an advocate's brief or a brief and petition that comply with the dictates of Turner/Finley. The Commonwealth may file a responsive brief not more than 30 days after counsel files his brief. The PCRA court shall ensure that the certified record is returned to this Court within 90 days of the date of this order.

Order, 10/23/13.

On November 2, 2013, Appellant filed a Pa.R.A.P. 1925(b) statement, and on November 20, 2013, the PCRA court filed its opinion. Thereafter, Appellant filed a counseled advocate's brief in this Court.

Despite all of the filings in this matter and the tortured procedural history, we must now address the jurisdictional issue related to the timing of Appellant's PCRA petition. It is well settled that the timing requirements of the PCRA are jurisdictional, and the court may not ignore those requirements in order to reach the merits of the ...


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