Com. v. Ragan

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
Writing for the CourtEakin
Citation923 A.2d 1169
Decision Date31 May 2007
PartiesCOMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania, Appellee, v. Derrick RAGAN, Appellant.
923 A.2d 1169
COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania, Appellee,
v.
Derrick RAGAN, Appellant.
Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.
Submitted January 9, 2006.
Decided May 31, 2007.

Michael Wiseman, Esq., Philadelphia, for Derrick Ragan.

Amy Zapp, Esq., PA Office of Attorney General, Hugh J. Burns, Jr., Esq., Philadelphia District Attorney's Office, for Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

BEFORE: CAPPY, C.J., and CASTILLE, SAYLOR, EAKIN, BAER, BALDWIN and FITZGERALD, JJ.

OPINION

Justice EAKIN.


This is an appeal from the denial of appellant's second petition under the Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA), 42 Pa.C.S. § 9541 et seq. For the following reasons, we affirm.

On the day of this murder, Darren Brown was pursuing persons who assailed his brother. When he encountered appellant on a set of stairs, appellant drew a pistol and shot Brown in the chest; after Brown collapsed, appellant fired 12 more shots into Brown's body.

A jury convicted appellant of first degree murder, possessing instruments of crime, and recklessly endangering another person. The jury found one aggravating circumstance-that appellant had previously been convicted of the first degree murder of Anthony Thomas.1 See 42 Pa.C.S.

923 A.2d 1170

§ 9711(d)(10). The jury found two mitigating circumstances-appellant's age at the time of the crime, see id., § 9711(e)(4), and his family environment. See id., § 9711(e)(8). Appellant was sentenced to death October 2, 1991, after the jury found the aggravating circumstance outweighed the mitigating circumstances. This Court affirmed July 29, 1994. See Commonwealth v. Ragan, 538 Pa. 2, 645 A.2d 811 (1994). Appellant did not seek certiorari from the United States Supreme Court.

Appellant filed his first PCRA petition and was denied relief. We affirmed the PCRA court's findings December 22, 1999. See Commonwealth v. Ragan, 560 Pa. 106, 743 A.2d 390 (1999). In February, 2000, appellant began federal habeas corpus proceedings. In the course of discovery for that action, appellant's attorney received discovery materials containing witness statements from the Thomas trial, which allegedly had never been turned over to appellant's trial counsel in the Thomas case. Based upon the allegations that these materials resulted in Brady2 violations by the Commonwealth, the federal habeas proceedings were suspended to allow appellant the opportunity to seek state court remedies.

Appellant filed a PCRA petition challenging his conviction in the Thomas case on the basis that after-discovered evidence comprised Brady violations,3 and on October 15, 2001, also filed the instant petition challenging his sentence for the Brown murder, arguing the aggravating circumstance under § 9711(d)(10) could not sustain his death sentence due to the alleged Brady violations and defects in his conviction in the Thomas murder.

The PCRA court noted the petition here was premised on the assumption the PCRA court would grant relief in the Thomas PCRA petition. See PCRA Court Opinion, 9/24/03, at 11. The Thomas PCRA petition was dismissed after the PCRA court determined the witness statements were in fact turned over to defense counsel prior to trial. Here, the PCRA court noted if relief was granted in the Thomas PCRA petition, it may have had an effect on the aggravating circumstance leading to appellant's death...

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61 practice notes
  • Com. v. Springer, No. 341 WDA 2008.
    • United States
    • Superior Court of Pennsylvania
    • December 1, 2008
    ...findings are supported by the record and whether the order in question is free of legal error. Commonwealth v. Ragan, 592 Pa. 217, 220, 923 A.2d 1169, 1170 (2007). The PCRA court's findings will not be disturbed unless there is no support for the findings in the certified record. Commonweal......
  • Commonwealth v. Cristina, No. 601 WDA 2013
    • United States
    • Superior Court of Pennsylvania
    • April 14, 2015
    ...determination of the PCRA court is supported by the evidence of record and is free of legal error. Commonwealth v. Ragan, 592 Pa. 217, 923 A.2d 1169, 1170 (2007). The PCRA court's findings will not be disturbed unless there is no support for the findings in the certified record. Commonwealt......
  • Commonwealth v. Johnston
    • United States
    • Pennsylvania Superior Court
    • March 20, 2012
    ...determination of the PCRA court is supported by the evidence of record and is free of legal error. Commonwealth v. Ragan, 592 Pa. 217, 923 A.2d 1169, 1170 (2007). The PCRA court's findings will not be disturbed unless there is no support for the findings in the certified record. Commonwealt......
  • Commonwealth v. Greco, No. 219 MDA 2018
    • United States
    • Superior Court of Pennsylvania
    • February 8, 2019
    ...the findings of the PCRA court are supported by the evidence of record and free of legal error. Commonwealth v. Ragan , 592 Pa. 217, 923 A.2d 1169, 1170 (2007). We afford the court's factual findings deference unless there is no support for them in the certified record. Commonwealth v. Brow......
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64 cases
  • Com. v. Springer, No. 341 WDA 2008.
    • United States
    • Superior Court of Pennsylvania
    • December 1, 2008
    ...findings are supported by the record and whether the order in question is free of legal error. Commonwealth v. Ragan, 592 Pa. 217, 220, 923 A.2d 1169, 1170 (2007). The PCRA court's findings will not be disturbed unless there is no support for the findings in the certified record. Commonweal......
  • Commonwealth v. Cristina, No. 601 WDA 2013
    • United States
    • Superior Court of Pennsylvania
    • April 14, 2015
    ...determination of the PCRA court is supported by the evidence of record and is free of legal error. Commonwealth v. Ragan, 592 Pa. 217, 923 A.2d 1169, 1170 (2007). The PCRA court's findings will not be disturbed unless there is no support for the findings in the certified record. Commonwealt......
  • Commonwealth v. Johnston
    • United States
    • Pennsylvania Superior Court
    • March 20, 2012
    ...determination of the PCRA court is supported by the evidence of record and is free of legal error. Commonwealth v. Ragan, 592 Pa. 217, 923 A.2d 1169, 1170 (2007). The PCRA court's findings will not be disturbed unless there is no support for the findings in the certified record. Commonwealt......
  • Commonwealth v. Greco, No. 219 MDA 2018
    • United States
    • Superior Court of Pennsylvania
    • February 8, 2019
    ...the findings of the PCRA court are supported by the evidence of record and free of legal error. Commonwealth v. Ragan , 592 Pa. 217, 923 A.2d 1169, 1170 (2007). We afford the court's factual findings deference unless there is no support for them in the certified record. Commonwealth v. Brow......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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