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Joseph v. Glunt

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

May 23, 2014

WOODENS B. JOSEPH, A/K/A JOSEPH B. WOODENS, Appellant
v.
STEVEN R. GLUNT, SUPERINTENDENT, Appellee

Submitted November 18, 2013

Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Clearfield County, Civil Division, No.: 2013-722-CD. Before AMMERMAN, J.

Woodens B. Joseph, appellant, pro se.

Debra S. Rand, Mechanicsburg, for appellee.

BEFORE: PANELLA, J., OLSON, J., and WECHT, J.

OPINION

Page 366

WECHT, J.

Joseph B. Woodens (" Woodens" ) appeals from the May 14, 2013 order that dismissed his petition for a writ of habeas corpus. We affirm.

On December 18, 2008, following a jury trial, Woodens was found guilty of first-degree murder, criminal conspiracy, carrying a firearm without a license, and false identification to law enforcement.[1] See Notes of Testimony (" N.T" ), 12/18/2008, at 256-59. That same day, Woodens was sentenced to a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment on the first-degree murder conviction. Id. at 265. On the criminal conspiracy conviction, Woodens was sentenced to a term of ten to twenty years' incarceration. Id. On the firearms charge, he was sentenced to a term of two to four years' incarceration. Id. There was no further penalty imposed for the false identification charge. All of Woodens' additional sentences were set to run concurrently with his life sentence. Id.

Following the trial court's denial of his post-sentence motions, on February 3, 2009, Woodens filed a notice of appeal from his judgment of sentence. On January

Page 367

20, 2010, Woodens filed a motion requesting that this Court remand his direct appeal for the appointment of counsel. On February 22, 2010, this Court remanded for the appointment of counsel. Two different counsels were appointed to represent Woodens on March 16 and July 12, 2010, respectively. Thereafter, on January 14, 2011, this Court ultimately affirmed Woodens' judgment of sentence. Commonwealth v. Woodens, 23 A.3d 1082 (Pa. Super. 2011) (table).

On November 3, 2011, Woodens filed a petition for collateral relief pursuant to the Post-Conviction Relief Act (" PCRA" ), 42 Pa.C.S. § § 9541-46. On April 12, 2012, the PCRA court dismissed Woodens' PCRA petition. On April 24, 2012, Woodens filed a notice of appeal (967 MDA 2012). On May 3, 2013, this Court affirmed the dismissal of Woodens' PCRA petition. Commonwealth v. Woodens, 81 A.3d 989 (Pa. Super. 2013) (table). Woodens filed a petition for reargument, which this Court denied on June 27, 2013. On January 21, 2014, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court denied Woodens' petition for allowance of appeal. Commonwealth v. Woodens, 83 A.3d 415 (Pa. 2014) ( per curiam ).

Contemporaneously with his PCRA petition, Woodens filed the separate petition that is the subject of this appeal. On May 10, 2013, Woodens filed a petition in the Civil Division of the Court of Common Pleas of Clearfield County that he styled as a " Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus Ad Subjiciendum. " [2] Specifically, Woodens filed the instant lawsuit against Steven R. Glunt (" Glunt" ) in his capacity as the Superintendent of SCI-Houtzdale, where Woodens then was incarcerated. In relevant part, Woodens asserted in his petition that his sentence is illegal, and that his rights under the United States and Pennsylvania Constitutions have been violated, because the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (" DOC" ) " does not possess a lawful court order signed by [the sentencing court] authorizing any lawful restraint of [Woodens'] body." Woodens' Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus Ad Subjiciendum, 5/10/2013, at 5. Thus, Woodens argues that his sentence violates 42 Pa.C.S. § 9764(a)(8). Id. at 6-10.

Attached to Woodens' petition were copies of his correspondence with the DOC documenting his efforts to obtain a copy of his written sentencing order. On or about December 13, 2012, Woodens submitted a request to the DOC pursuant to Pennsylvania's Right-to-Know Law.[3] In a letter dated January 16, 2013, the DOC's Right-to-Know Office denied Woodens' request, stating that the DOC did not possess a copy of the sentencing order. On or about February 11, 2013, Woodens also submitted an " Inmate's Request to Staff Member" requesting a copy of the " written judgment of sentence order" in his case. On March 11, 2013, the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records (" OOR" ) issued a " Final Determination" in Woodens' appeal from the DOC's conclusion that it did not have a written copy of Woodens' sentencing order. In that letter, the OOR concluded that an affidavit from the DOC affirming the " ...


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