from the PCRA Order Entered December 18, 2018 In the Court of
Common Pleas of York County Criminal Division at No(s):
BEFORE: LAZARUS, J., MURRAY, J., and STRASSBURGER [*] , J.
Edwin Creese, Sr. (Appellant) appeals from the order
dismissing as untimely his petition seeking relief under the
Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA), 42 Pa.C.S.A. §§
9541-9546. After careful review, we are constrained to quash
December 18, 2018, the PCRA court issued its order denying
relief; the order listed four docket numbers. On December 20,
2018, Appellant filed a timely appeal "that included all
docket numbers in each related case." Answer to Rule to
Show Cause, 1/22/19, at 1. Our review of the record reveals
that four separate photocopies of the notice of appeal, each
listing all four docket numbers, were entered on the trial
court docket, and accordingly, on this Court's docket.
January 11, 2019, we issued a rule to show cause for
Appellant to explain why we should not quash the appeal based
on our Supreme Court's decision in Commonwealth v.
Walker, 185 A.3d 969 (Pa. 2018) (holding that
"where a single order resolves issues arising on more
than one docket, separate notices of appeal must be filed for
each of those cases"). See Order - Rule to Show
January 22, 2019, Appellant filed a response, in which he
admitted to filing the notice of appeal that included all
four docket numbers, and conceding "counsel was
previously unaware of the rule in Commonwealth v.
Walker." Response to Rule to Show Cause, 1/22/19.
Appellant further averred that no party would be prejudiced
by "this technical error." Id. By order
dated January 25, 2019, this Court discharged the rule to
show cause and referred the matter to the merits panel.
Official Note to Rule 341(a) of the Pennsylvania Rules of
Appellate Procedure, which was amended in 2013, provides:
Where, however, one or more orders resolves issues arising on
more than one docket or relating to more than one judgment,
separate notices of appeals must be filed. Commonwealth
v. C.M.K., 932 A.2d 111, 113 & n.3 (Pa. Super. 2007)
(quashing appeal taken by single notice of appeal from order
on remand for consideration under Pa.R.Crim.P. 607 of two
persons' judgments of sentence).
Pa.R.A.P. 341, Official Note.
recently, it was common for courts of this Commonwealth to
allow appeals to proceed, even if they failed to conform with
Rule 341. See, e.g., In the Interest of
P.S., 158 A.3d 643, 648 (Pa. Super. 2017) (noting common
practice to allow appeals to proceed if the issues involved
are nearly identical, no objection has been raised, and the
period for appeal has expired).
Commonwealth v. Walker, however, our Supreme Court
held unequivocally that "prospectively, where a single
order resolves issues arising on more than one docket,
separate notices of appeal must be filed for each case."
Walker, 185 A.3d at 971 (emphasis added). The
Supreme Court observed that the Official Note to Rule 341 of
the Pennsylvania Rules of Appellate Procedure "provides
a bright-line mandatory instruction to practitioners to file
separate notices of appeal," and accordingly, determined
that "the failure to do so requires the appellate court
to quash the appeal." Id. at 976-77 (emphasis
added). Because this mandate was contrary to decades of case
law, the Supreme Court specified that it would apply only to
appeals filed after June 1, 2018, the date Walker
was filed. Id.
this Court stated:
In Walker, our Supreme Court construed the [Rule
341] language as constituting "a bright-line mandatory
instruction to practitioners to file separate notices of
appeal." Walker, 185 A.3d at 976-77. Therefore,
the Walker Court held that "the proper practice
under Rule 341(a) is to file separate appeals from an order
that resolves issues arising on more than one docket. The
failure to do so requires the appellate court to quash the
appeal." Id. at 977. . . . Accordingly, the
Walker Court directed that "in future
cases Rule 341 will, in accordance with its Official
Note, require that when a single order resolves issues
arising on more than one lower ...