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[U] Commonwealth v. Mason

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

March 6, 2014

PERRY MASON, Appellant


Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence Entered July 30, 2010, In the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Criminal Division, at No. CP-51-CR-0014041-2007.




Appellant, Perry Mason, appeals pro se from the judgment of sentence entered on July 30, 2010, in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas. We affirm.

The record reveals that on October 22, 2007, Appellant approached Jacqueline Jacobs, a person unknown to him, and stabbed her twice in the neck and once in the chest. N.T., 7/30/10, at 12. Police Officer Dennis Stevens was in the area and saw Appellant in the act of attacking Ms. Jacobs. Id. at 13. Officer Stevens chased Appellant and was able apprehend him. Police officers also recovered the knife Appellant used to stab Ms. Jacobs. Id.

On July 30, 2010, Appellant pled guilty to one count of attempted murder and one count of possessing an instrument of crime ("PIC"). On that same day, the trial court sentenced Appellant to a term of eight to twenty years of incarceration for attempted murder and imposed a concurrent sentence of two and one-half to five years of incarceration for PIC. Appellant filed a timely appeal, and the trial court directed Appellant to comply with Pa.R.A.P.1925(b) and file a concise statement of errors complained of on appeal.

On October 26, 2011, counsel for Appellant filed a statement of intent to file an Anders[1] brief pursuant to Pa.R.A.P.1925(c)(4) indicating that there were no non-frivolous issues Appellant could raise. In response, Appellant filed a motion to have counsel removed and sought to represent himself on appeal. On July 20, 2012, the trial court held a hearing pursuant to Commonwealth v. Grazier, 713 A.2d 81 (Pa. 1998), to determine if Appellant's waiver of counsel was knowing, voluntary, and intelligent. Following the Grazier hearing, the trial court permitted Appellant to represent himself. On February 11, 2013, the trial court filed an order directing Appellant to file his Pa.R.A.P.1925(b) statement. In response, Appellant filed a letter on February 27, 2013, indicating that he could not file a Pa.R.A.P.1925(b) statement because the record was incomplete and alleged the trial court lacked jurisdiction. On April 15, 2013, Appellant filed an application for relief with this Court requesting documents from the certified record that he had not received. In an order filed on May 24, 2013, this Court remanded the case to the trial court, directed the Superior Court Prothonotary to forward to Appellant the missing documents, and ordered Appellant to file his Pa.R.A.P. 1925(b) statement within twenty-one days. On June 11, 2013, Appellant filed a twelve-page Pa.R.A.P. 1925(b) statement. The trial court filed an opinion on July 8, 2013.

On appeal, Appellant purports to raise seventeen issues for this Court's consideration, which we set forth verbatim as follows:

(1) Whether both the trial court and the commonwealth erred by failing to provide competent proof of jurisdiction, authority, and legitimacy of the prosecution, and court judge to proceed in this case?
(2) Whether appellant's due process were violated by both the prosecution and court judge by failing to act upon their constitutionally mandated duty's.
(3) Whether the trial court judge or the tribunal has the power of authority to render any judgments, and/or orders in this particular case?
(4) Whether alleged trial court judge provided correct oath of office for the record.
(5) Whether alleged trail court judge provided legitimate proof of bond for the record?
(6) Whether alleged trial court judge provided proof of receipt of payment for services as constitutionally required by Article 6, Clause 3?
(7) Whether the alleged prosecuting attorney provided correct oath of office for the record?
(8) Whether alleged prosecuting attorney provided legitimate proof of bond for the record?
(9) Whether alleged prosecuting attorney provided proof of receipt of lawful payment for services, as required by the constitution for the United States Article 1, Section 10?
(10) Whether the trial court erred in denying defendant's special Plea In Bar?
(11) Whether the commonwealth erred by it failure to rebut defendant's Special Plea In Bar?
(12) Whether trial court erred by denying defendant the right to formal notice of charges, guaranteed by U.S. Const. Amend. VI, and Pa. Const. article I, §9.
(13) Whether the trial court erred by failing to provide appellant with pre-trial conference, and rights therein?
(14) Whether defendant was actually or constructively denied counsel during any critical phases of these proceeding in the lower court?
(15) Whether the District Attorney's Office Of Philadelphia is precluded from this matter for failure to establish proof of legitimacy, authority, and proof of jurisdiction of the person, and subject matter?
(16) Whether the outcome of these proceedings are reliable?
(17) Whether appellant was charged with an actual lawfully enacted crime/statute/law?

Appellant's Brief at 7-8 (verbatim). Despite Appellant's lengthy statement of questions involved, in the argument portion of his brief, Appellant has narrowed his claims of error to four issues.[2] We shall address these issues in the order presented.[3]

First, Appellant claims that the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction. Appellant's Brief at 13. We disagree.

It is undisputed that the crimes of which Appellant was convicted occurred in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A person may be convicted under the laws of this Commonwealth for offenses committed within Pennsylvania. 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 102(a)(1). Moreover, it is well settled that all courts of common pleas in Pennsylvania have statewide subject matter jurisdiction in cases arising under the Crimes Code. Commonwealth v. Bethea, 828 A.2d 1066, 1074 (Pa. 2003); 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 931. Accordingly, the trial court had jurisdiction in the underlying prosecution, and Appellant is entitled to no relief.

Next, Appellant claims that he did not have notice of the charges against him pursuant to Article I, Section 9 of the Pennsylvania Constitution because he alleges that he did not waive formal arraignment and was not present at his pretrial conference. Appellant's Brief at 14. We conclude that this issue was waived.

It is unclear from the record whether Appellant waived formal arraignment and whether he was present at the pretrial conference.[4]Nevertheless, as noted above, Appellant pled guilty. The entry of a guilty plea constitutes a waiver of all defects and defenses except lack of jurisdiction, invalidity of the plea, and illegality of the sentence. Commonwealth v. Main, 6 A.3d 1026, 1028 (Pa.Super. 2010) (citation omitted). Therefore, Appellant's challenge is waived.

In his third issue, Appellant baldly asserts that he was denied counsel. Appellant's Brief at 14. Initially, this claim is belied by the record as Appellant was represented at all relevant times, until he waived counsel at his Grazier hearing, by the Defender Association of Philadelphia.[5] Moreover, while Appellant attempts to define, generally, a criminal defendant's right to counsel, he provides no argument or even an allegation that he was denied counsel. Because we conclude that this issue is completely undeveloped, we are constrained to deem it waived. See Commonwealth v. Bavusa, 832 A.2d 1042, 1052 (Pa. 2003) (stating that an issue will be deemed waived where its corresponding argument is undeveloped).

In his final issue, Appellant restates his first issue concerning subject matter jurisdiction. Appellant's Brief at 14. As we have already addressed this issue and concluded that Appellant's jurisdictional claim is meritless, we will not revisit it here.

For the reasons set forth above, we conclude that Appellant is entitled to no relief.[6] Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of sentence.

Judgment of sentence affirmed.

Judgment Entered.

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