Centre County Murder Case
Multiple Attorneys Missed Time Deadlines for Filings
The client proceeded to a jury trial with a Centre County criminal defense lawyer and was convicted of Murder and Robbery. The criminal defense lawyer filed an appeal with the Superior Court, but the defense lawyer failed to file a Statement of Matters of Complained of on Appeal in a timely manner. The Superior Court stated that all appellate issues had been waived because the Statement was not filed timely, and the Superior Court then denied the appeal.
The client retained a Blair County PCRA defense lawyer to file a PCRA petition and argued that the Centre County trial defense lawyer was ineffective for failing to file a timely Statement. The PCRA lawyer then failed to file a PCRA petition in a timely manner. Despite the late filing of the PCRA petition, the Centre County judge granted the PCRA petition, reinstated the client’s direct appeal rights, and another appeal was filed to the Superior Court. The Superior Court quashed the appeal and held that the Centre County judge had erred when it did not dismiss the PCRA petition that had been untimely filed by the PCRA defense lawyer.
State College criminal defense attorney Jason Dunkle provided representation and filed a second PCRA petition with the Centre County Court. The Centre County criminal defense lawyer argued that the PCRA attorney was ineffective for failing to file a timely PCRA petition. The client testified at the PCRA hearing that he was led to believe by the initial PCRA attorney that the petition had been timely filed, and the client’s mother testified that she had routinely contacted the initial PCRA attorney for status updates. The criminal defense lawyer then argued that the client was entitled to assert an exception to the one-year filing deadline for the PCRA petition. The Centre County judge agreed with the PCRA defense lawyer’s arguments, and, after considering the merits of the PCRA, the Centre County judge granted the petition and reinstated the client’s direct appeal rights.