Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence October 19, 2011 in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County Criminal Division at No(s): CP-02-CR-0001859-2010
BEFORE: PANELLA, ALLEN, and STRASSBURGER, [*] JJ.
Darryl Williams (Appellant) appeals from the judgment of sentence entered October 19, 2011, after he pled guilty to two counts of possession of a controlled substance, two counts of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance (PWID), two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia, and one count of possession of a small amount of marijuana. We vacate Appellant's judgment of sentence and remand with instructions.
Appellant was arrested on January 5, 2010, after police discovered cocaine in his vehicle. Additional cocaine also was located in Appellant's home. As a result, Appellant was charged with the aforementioned offenses.
Appellant filed a motion to suppress the physical evidence of his crimes, but this motion was denied. Appellant then entered into a negotiated guilty plea on October 19, 2011. Consistent with this agreement, the Commonwealth waived the mandatory minimum sentence of seven years' incarceration, and the trial court sentenced Appellant to four-and-a-half to nine years' incarceration followed by four years of probation. During sentencing, the parties and the trial court addressed whether Appellant was eligible for a reduced sentence pursuant to the Recidivism Risk Reduction Incentive Act (RRRI), 61 Pa.C.S. §§ 4501–4512. Their discussion was limited to the following.
[The assistant district attorney]: [Appellant] is not RRRI eligible.
THE COURT: That is on the record. He is not RRRI eligible.
[Appellant's counsel]: No.
THE COURT: All right.
N.T., 10/19/2011, at 11.
Appellant timely filed a pro se notice of appeal on October 26, 2011.However, Appellant's notice of appeal consisted of a single piece of paper without an accompanying proof of service. Appellant also failed to pay the appropriate filing fee or, in the alternative, submit a petition to proceed in forma pauperis. Accordingly, the Allegheny County Department of Court Records sent Appellant a letter requesting that he correct these deficiencies. Appellant did not comply.
On December 20, 2011, a new attorney, Jenee' N. Oliver, Esq., entered her appearance on Appellant's behalf but did nothing to advance the case. The case remained dormant for nearly nine months before a third attorney, Jennifer R. Chontos, Esq., entered her appearance and filed an amended notice of appeal on September 13, 2012. On September 26, 2012, the trial court ordered Appellant to file a concise statement of errors complained of on appeal pursuant to Pa.R.A.P. 1925. The order specified that Appellant had "twenty-one (21) days after the receipt of all court transcripts" ...