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Sita v. Commonwealth Of&Nbsp;Pennsylvania

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

October 16, 2014

BRIAN SITA, Petitioner,
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, et al., Respondents.

MEMORANDUM and ORDER

ROBERT C. MITCHELL, Magistrate Judge.

Brian Sita has presented a petition for a writ of habeas corpus which he has been granted leave to prosecute in forma pauperis. For the reasons set forth below, the petition will be dismissed, and because reasonable jurists could not conclude that a basis for appeal exists, a certificate of appealability will be denied.

Sita is presently serving a probationary sentence imposed following the entry of a guilty plea to charges of indecent assault, endangering the welfare of children and corruption of minors at No. CP-02-CR.XXXX-XXXX in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. This sentence was imposed on September 27, 2011.[1]

The relevant background and chronological history are set forth in the September 24, 2013 Memorandum of the Superior Court:

The Commonwealth charged Appellant with over 50 crimes, mostly sexual offenses, on September 28, 2010. The Commonwealth alleged the crimes were committed over the course of five years on the minor daughter of Appellant's girlfriend, with whom Appellant was cohabitating. On September 26, 2011, Appellant, represented by counsel pled guilty to one count each of indecent assault, endangering the welfare of minors, and corruption of minors. After accepting the plea, the trial court sentenced Appellant to an aggregate term of six years of probation. Appellant did not file post-trial motions or a direct appeal.
Subsequently, Appellant sent the court two letters requesting collateral relief that the trial court deemed filings under the PCRA. The PCRA court appointed PCRA counsel who filed an amended PCRA petition on October 10, 2012. After receiving an answer from the Commonwealth, on November 13, 2012, the PCRA court filed a notice to dismiss the PCRA petition without an evidentiary hearing pursuant to Pa.R.Crim.P. 903. On December 14, 2012, the PCRA court dismissed Appellant's PCRA petition. This timely appeal followed.

On appeal, Appellant presents three issues for our review:

I. Did the PCRA court err by denying [Appellant's] PCRA petition since the record shows that the trial counsel was ineffective for failing to ensure that [Appellant], a deaf individual, understood and was able to follow the guilty plea proceedings?
II. Did the [PCRA] court err by denying [Appellant's] PCRA petition since the record shows that trial counsel was ineffective for failing to ensure that [Appellant] was informed of his right to file post-sentence motions and a direct appeal?
III. Did the [PCRA] court err by denying [Appellant's] PCRA petition since the record shows that trial counsel was ineffective for unlawfully inducing the guilty plea by misadvising [Appellant] that he would be with his children if he pled guilty and failing to advise him that contact with his children would be eliminated or severely restricted if he pled guilty? (footnotes omitted).[2]

On September 24, 2013, the denial of post-conviction relief was affirmed and leave to appeal was denied by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on February 20, 2014.[3]

In the instant petition executed on May8, 2014 and received in this Court on the same date, Sita alleges he is entitled to relief on the following grounds:

My rights was violated to fully understanding: counsel was ineffective; interpreter not clear or refused; results different than charges; communication with everyone was not established and in possession of added proof and evidence to support my innocence.[4]
Where a habeas challenge is raised following a plea of guilty, the only question before the federal court is whether or not the plea was knowingly, voluntarily and intelligently entered. Bradshaw v. Stumpf , 545 U.S. 175, 183 (2005). That is, the defendant must be provided with sufficient information for making an informed decision. ...

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