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[U] Commonwealth v. Mackie

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

March 3, 2014

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, Appellee
v.
ERIC MACKIE, Appellant

NON-PRECEDENTIAL DECISION

Appeal from the PCRA Order Entered February 8, 2013, In the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Criminal Division, at No. CP-51-CR-0000612-2007.

BEFORE: SHOGAN, OTT and PLATT [*], JJ.

MEMORANDUM

SHOGAN, J.

Appellant, Eric Mackie, appeals from the order entered February 8, 2013, denying him relief on his petition filed pursuant to the Post Conviction Relief Act, 42 Pa.C.S.A. §§ 9541-9546. Upon review, we affirm.

The PCRA court summarized the factual and procedural history of this case as follows:

On September 18, 2007, [A]ppellant was found guilty of third degree murder, carrying a firearm without a license, carrying a firearm on the public streets or public property and possessing an instrument of crime (PIC), for the shooting death of Henry Dennis. On November 30, 2007, [A]ppellant was sentenced to an aggregate of 18 ½ to 37 years incarceration. Post sentence motions were denied without a hearing. On October 16, 2009, the Superior Court affirmed the judgment of sentence. Appellant's petition for allowance of appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court was denied on April 8, 2010.
On March 7, 2011, [A]ppellant timely filed a pro se petition for post conviction relief. PCRA counsel was appointed, and on February 14, 2011, filed a letter pursuant to Commonwealth v. Finley, 550 A.2d 213 (1988). On March 12, 2012, following an independent review, the Court notified PCRA counsel that his Finley letter was inadequate in that it provided insufficient analysis of the issues raised in appellant's pro se petition. On April 9, 2012, PCRA counsel filed an amended Finley letter and [A]ppellant's petition was scheduled for formal dismissal on June 15, 2012. However, on May 16, 2012, PCRA counsel filed an amended PCRA petition claiming that [A]ppellant's decision to forgo a jury trial was not knowing[, ] intelligent and voluntary because [A]ppellant, who was subsequently convicted of 3rd degree murder, had been assured that if he waived his right [to a jury trial], the Commonwealth would seek a degree of guilt no higher than voluntary manslaughter. Attached to the amended petition was a letter to trial counsel from investigator Richard Strohm dated September 17, 2007. The letter stated, in pertinent part, that he (Strohm) interviewed [A]ppellant on September 16, 2007 at the prison, and informed him that if he chose a waiver trial the district attorney would not pursue the charge above voluntary manslaughter. On September 24, 2012, [A]ppellant submitted a certification reiterating the information in the letter attached to the petition.

On February 8, 2013, an evidentiary hearing was conducted before the Court.

Trial Court Opinion, 5/17/13, at 1-2 (footnote omitted).

Following the hearing, Appellant's PCRA petition was dismissed. Appellant filed an appeal. Pursuant to court order, Appellant filed a Pa.R.A.P. 1925(b) statement, and the PCRA court subsequently filed an opinion pursuant to Pa.R.A.P. 1925(a).

Appellant presents the following issue for our review:

I. Did the trial court err in holding [A]ppellant's waiver of his Federal and State Constitutional rights to a jury trial was ...

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