United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
Malachy E. Mannion United States District Judge .
Lynn Hatfield, an inmate presently confined in the State
Correctional Institution, Houtzdale, Pennsylvania
(SCI-Houtzdale), filed this pro se habeas corpus
petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §2254. (Doc.
1, petition). He attacks a conviction imposed by the
Court of Common Pleas for Franklin County, Pennsylvania.
Id. For the reasons that follow, the Court will
dismiss the petition as untimely.
following background has been extracted from the Pennsylvania
Superior Court's February 17, 2017 Memorandum Opinion
affirming the sentencing court's dismissal of
Petitioner's petition filed under the Post Conviction
Relief Act (PCRA), 42 Pa.C.S. §§9541 - 9546. (Doc.
8-1 at 82 -84).
On April 30, 2014, Hatfield entered a plea of nolo
contendere to two counts of aggravated assault by
vehicle while driving under the influence
(DUI). The charges stemmed from an incident in
which Hatfield, while driving his tractor-tailor cab under
the influence, veered off the roadway and hit two men who
were working on a disabled vehicle on the side of the road.
The victims suffered serious injuries. On May 2, 2014,
Hatfield filed a motion to withdraw his plea, asserting that
he “wants to wait and see if the victims get out of
their wheelchairs before making a decision on the plea
offer.” Motion to Withdraw Plea, 5/2/14, at ¶3.
After a hearing, the court denied Hatfield's motion and,
on May 28, 2014, sentenced him to an aggregate term of 42 to
120 months' imprisonment.
On June 9, 2014, Hatfield filed a post-sentence motion to
withdraw his plea and for modification of sentence. The court
held a hearing on July 31, 2014, at which Hatfield was
represented by new counsel. The court denied Hatfield's
motion that same day; no direct appeal was filed.
On June 17, 2015, Hatfield filed a timely pro se
PCRA petition and the court appointed Shane Kope, Esquire, to
represent him. On August 27, 2015, Attorney Kope filed a
“no-merit” letter pursuant to
Turner/Finley and requested to withdraw as counsel. The
court granted counsel's request on August 31, 2015, and
entered an order pursuant to Pa.R.Crim.P. 907 notifying
Hatfield of its intent to dismiss his petition. Hatfield
filed a response to the court's Rule 907 notice on
September 18, 2015; the court dismissed his petition on that
filed a timely notice of appeal and court-ordered statement
of errors complained of on appeal pursuant to Pa.R.A.P.
1925(b). Hatfield raises the following issues,
verbatim, for our review:
1. Was the plea invalid pursuant to [Pa.R.Crim.] 590, in
relation to the in court colloquy?
2. Did the court abuse discretion in denying the motion to
withdraw plea? (Without hearing) - (Which includes the
3. Did [Hatfield] suffer ineffective assistance for the
purpose of appeal?
4. Did [Hatfield] suffer ineffective PCRA counsel, and was
PCRA counsel[‘] Finley letter defective?
5. Did [Hatfield] suffer a breach of plea agreement/promise
to waiving his right to preliminary hearing?
6. Is nunc pro tunc relief due [Hatfield] and should
sentence be imposed based upon his knowledge of the plea?
7. Pro se appellant was denied assistance of counsel
at the time of sentencing.
Brief of Appellant, at 3.
(Doc. 8-1 at 82 -84). On February 17, 2017, the
Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed the PCRA Court's
dismissal of Hatfield's PCRA petition. Id. ...