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[U] Commonwealth v. Evans

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

March 3, 2014

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA Appellee
v.
JOSHUA EVANS Appellant

NON-PRECEDENTIAL DECISION

Appeal from the PCRA Order April 10, 2013 In the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County Criminal Division at No(s): CP-02-CR-0008840-2007

BEFORE: FORD ELLIOTT, P.J.E., OTT, J., and WECHT, J.

MEMORANDUM

OTT, J.

Joshua Evans appeals from the order entered on April 10, 2013, in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, denying his timely petition filed pursuant the Post-Conviction Relief Act ("PCRA"), 42 Pa.C.S. §§ 9541-9546.[1]After a thorough review of the record, the parties' briefs, and applicable law, we affirm on the basis of the trial court's opinion.

The PCRA court aptly summarized the facts and procedural history in its Pa.R.A.P. 1925(a) opinion, and we adopt its recitation. See PCRA Court Opinion, 7/18/2013, at 1-3. Evans argues the PCRA court erred in denying his petition, alleging trial counsel was ineffective for failing to object to Evans's improper REAP charges and convictions as to victims Andre Ripley and Baby Doe, and for failing to object to the trial court's improper use, as substantive evidence, of at least one of Evans's jail telephone calls. See Evans's Brief at 3.

The PCRA court has provided a well-reasoned discussion of its disposition. See PCRA Court Opinion, supra, at 3-8 (explaining: (1) Evans's claim that counsel was ineffective relative to his failure to object to the REAP charges was without merit because (a) by way of background – at the preliminary hearing, April Perry and Dayja Thomas were named as the victims of the REAP charges and that the first time that Andre Ripley and Baby Doe were named as victims of REAP was in the criminal information; (b) at the January 6, 2011, post-sentence hearing, trial counsel stated that he did not represent Evans at the preliminary hearing, he did not realize the charges only appeared after the preliminary hearing, he did receive a copy of the criminal information, he was aware that Evans faced the REAP charges at trial, and that had he been aware that the REAP charges were added after the preliminary hearing, he would have objected to the inclusion of the charges at trial; (c) nevertheless, trial counsel acknowledged, and the PCRA court agreed, that the REAP charges were lesser included offenses of the aggravated assault charges and therefore, it was reasonable that Evans was facing both charges;[2] and (2) Evans's claim that counsel was ineffective for failing to object to the court's improper use, as substantive evidence, of at least one of Evans's jailhouse phone calls was without merit because (a) the jail call at issue contained comments made by Evans, who identified his own voice during the call, demonstrating his attempts to procure perjured testimony in an effort to clear him, in which he asked another person to testify that the victim, and not him, possessed a chrome gun at the time of the shooting; (b) trial counsel objected to the admission of this evidence at trial; and (c) the court ruled that it was admissible to demonstrate Evans's consciousness of guilt and was not to be admitted for demonstrating that Evans engaged in any illegal conduct outside of the allegations made in the present case).

Keeping our standard of review in mind, [3] we agree with the court's analysis and discern no error on the part of the PCRA court in denying post- conviction relief. Therefore, we conclude Evans's arguments fail and adopt the sound reasoning of the PCRA court as dispositive of the issues raised in this appeal. Accordingly, we affirm.

Order affirmed.

Judgment Entered.

(Image Omitted).


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