Commonwealth v. Passmore, 052920 PASUP, 2939 EDA 2019

Docket Nº:2939 EDA 2019
Opinion Judge:SHOGAN, J.
Party Name:COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA v. JOHN PASSMORE Appellant
Judge Panel:BEFORE: SHOGAN, J., McCAFFERY, J., and COLINS, J.
Case Date:May 29, 2020
Court:Superior Court of Pennsylvania
 
FREE EXCERPT

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA

v.

JOHN PASSMORE Appellant

No. 2939 EDA 2019

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

May 29, 2020

NON-PRECEDENTIAL DECISION - SEE SUPERIOR COURT I.O.P. 65.37

Appeal from the PCRA Order Entered September 3, 2019 In the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County Criminal Division at No(s): CP-09-CR-0005715-2002

BEFORE: SHOGAN, J., McCAFFERY, J., and COLINS, J. [*]

MEMORANDUM

SHOGAN, J.

Appellant, John Passmore, appeals pro se from the order denying his third petition for relief filed pursuant to the Post Conviction Relief Act ("PCRA"), 42 Pa.C.S. §§ 9541-9546. We affirm.

The underlying criminal charges resulted from Appellant's actions related to his turbulent relationship with the victim, Melissa Chamberlain. The PCRA court summarized the procedural history of this case as follows: On April 22, 2003, Appellant entered a guilty plea to murder generally. After a five-day degree of guilt hearing, Judge Biehn convicted Appellant of Murder of the Second Degree2 and sentenced him to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Appellant timely appealed and the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed this Court's judgment of sentence on August 30, 2004.[1] Appellant sought allowance of appeal, but the Pennsylvania Supreme Court denied allocatur on February 10, 2005.[2] Appellant did not file a petition for a writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court; therefore, his judgment of sentence became final on May 11, 2005. See 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 9545(b)(3) ("[A] judgment becomes final at the conclusion of direct review, including discretionary review in the Supreme Court of the United States and the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, or at the expiration of time for seeking the review.")[.]

2 18 Pa. C.S.A. § 2502(b).

On October 1, 2007, Appellant filed his first Motion for Post-Conviction Collateral Relief. This [c]ourt denied relief and Appellant appealed to the Superior Court on October 7, 2008. On May 20, 2009, the Superior Court affirmed this [c]ourt's denial of PCRA relief [Commonwealth v. Passmore, 976 A.2d 1212, 2894 EDA 2008 (Pa. Super. filed May 20, 2009)].

Appellant filed a second Motion for Post-Conviction Collateral Relief on February 10, 2011. We denied that Motion without a hearing on April 21, 2011. Appellant filed another appeal with the Superior Court, which affirmed this Court's dismissal of the Motion on December 15, 2011. The Supreme Court subsequently denied Appellant's Petition for Allowance of Appeal on May 23, 2012.3

In 2013, Appellant filed a Freedom of Information Act [("FOIA")] request with the FBI, which had participated in the investigation of Melissa Chamberlain's murder. Appellant sought information, including alleged emails between him and the victim, which he contended would exonerate him. The FBI responded that its initial search revealed 16, 039 pages of potentially relevant information, and that the cost of obtaining the records would be $1, 593.90. Appellant contested the cost of obtaining the records in lawsuits which he filed in federal court. The FBI eventually released ten pages of emails to Appellant on June 25, 2015, and the Federal District Court of the District of Columbia granted the FBI and the Department of Justice's request for summary judgment on March 28, 2017. On September 13, 2017, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit affirmed the grant of summary judgment. Appellant filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the United States Supreme Court, which was denied on March 5, 2018.

Appellant filed the instant Motion for Post-Conviction Collateral Relief pro se on December 3, 2018. On April 1, 2019, Appellant filed a "Motion to Supplement Recent PCRA Filed in Court in 2018." This [c]ourt appointed PCRA counsel on May 23, 2019. The Commonwealth filed a "Motion to Dismiss Serial PCRA Petition without a Hearing as Time-Barred" on August 6, 2019, and PCRA counsel filed a "Post-Conviction Relief Act No Merit Letter & Memorandum of Law Pursuant to Commonwealth v. Finley" and a "Motion to Withdraw as Counsel" on August 7, 2019. This [c]ourt issued a Notice of Intent to Dismiss on August 12, 2019, and dismissed Appellant's third Motion for Post -Conviction Collateral Relief on September 3, 2019. PCRA counsel withdrew his appearance on August 15, 2019. On September 25, 2019[, ] Appellant filed a timely Notice of Appeal from the denial of post -conviction relief to the Superior Court.

PCRA Court Opinion, 11/19/19, at 4-5.

Appellant presents the following issues for review, which we set forth verbatim: A. DID PCRA COURT ERR IN DEEMING DEFENDANT'S PCRA MOTION AS UNTIMELY?

B. WAS TRIAL...

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