700 A.2d 1256 (Pa. 1997), Commonwealth v. Fahy

Citation:700 A.2d 1256, 549 Pa. 159
Opinion Judge:The opinion of the court was delivered by: Castille
Party Name:COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania, Appellee, v. Henry FAHY, Appellant.
Attorney:For Appellant, H. Fahy: Norris E. Gelman, Esquire, Billy H. Nolas, Esquire.
Case Date:September 17, 1997
Court:Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
 
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Page 1256

700 A.2d 1256 (Pa. 1997)

549 Pa. 159

COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania, Appellee,

v.

Henry FAHY, Appellant.

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

September 17, 1997

Submitted Jan. 3, 1997.

Reargument Denied Dec. 2, 1997.

Page 1257

[549 Pa. 160] Norris E. Gelman, Billy H. Nolas, Philadelphia, for H. Fahy.

Catherine Marshall, Philadelphia, Robert A. Graci, Harrisburg, for the Commonwealth.

Before FLAHERTY, C.J., and ZAPPALA, CAPPY, CASTILLE, NIGRO and NEWMAN, JJ.

OPINION OF THE COURT

CASTILLE, Justice.

The sole issue before this Court is whether appellant's waiver of all collateral or appellate proceedings is valid. We hold that appellant's waiver is valid; therefore the instant appeal is dismissed.

In 1983, a jury convicted appellant of first-degree murder, rape, burglary and possession of an instrument of crime as a result of his rape, torture and murder of a neighbor's twelve-year-old [549 Pa. 161] daughter. He was sentenced to death and on direct appeal in 1986, this Court affirmed his sentence of death. Commonwealth v. Fahy, 512 Pa. 298, 516 A.2d 689 (1986).

In 1986, appellant filed a PCRA petition which was dismissed in 1987 because no action was taken on the petition. Five years later, the Governor of the Commonwealth issued a warrant of execution, and appellant was scheduled to be put to death on January 14, 1992. Approximately one week before the scheduled execution, appellant, represented by court appointed counsel, Norris Gelman, Esq. and Louis M. Natali, Esq., sought a stay of execution from the Court of Common Pleas on the grounds that, before his execution, appellant should be allowed to argue the issue of whether his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to challenge the aggravating circumstance of torture. The trial court denied the stay, and appellant filed a stay request in both this Court and in the Federal District Court. On January 13, 1992, this Court remanded the matter to the trial court for a PCRA hearing on the torture issue. On September 14, 1992, the trial court held a PCRA hearing and denied relief to appellant. This Court affirmed on July 1, 1994. Commonwealth v. Fahy, 537 Pa. 533, 645 A.2d 199 (1994). The United States Supreme Court denied appellant's petition for certiorari on January 9, 1995.

On May 19, 1995, the Governor signed another death warrant after which appellant again filed stay requests in the common pleas court, this Court and the Federal District Court. On June 1, 1995, appellant filed a motion requesting additional time to file a PCRA petition. On July 7, 1995, this Court granted a stay of execution and allowed appellant thirty days to file yet another PCRA petition. Appellant filed his third petition on August 4, 1995 and supplemented it on September 12, 1995 claiming that he suffered from a mental illness that should have been deemed a mitigating factor in the penalty phase and that there should have been a competency hearing before the penalty phase...

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