NON-PRECEDENTIAL DECISION — SEE SUPERIOR COURT I.O.P. 65.37
MEMORANDUM BY STEVENS, P.J.E.
Appellant Demond Thomas files this pro se appeal from the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County dismissing Appellant's petition pursuant to the Post Conviction Relief Act ("PCRA").
In January 1998, a jury convicted Appellant of robbery, conspiracy, and related offenses. On March 2, 1998, Appellant was sentenced to an aggregate sentence of forty to eighty years imprisonment. This Court affirmed the judgment of sentence on March 13, 2000. Appellant did not file a petition for allowance of appeal with our Supreme Court.
Appellant filed multiple petitions for collateral relief, all of which were unsuccessful. On April 23, 2015, Appellant filed the instant PCRA petition in this Court. Appellant's case was transferred to the Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County. The PCRA court appointed counsel, who filed a "no-merit" letter and a petition to withdraw. On January 6, 2016, the PCRA court notified Appellant of its intent to dismiss his petition without a hearing pursuant to Pa.R.Crim.P. 907 and permitted counsel to withdraw. Appellant did not respond to the Rule 907 notice. On March 7, 2016, the PCRA court denied Appellant's petition. This timely appeal followed.
When reviewing the denial of a PCRA petition, our standard of review is limited "to determin[ing] whether the determination of the PCRA court is supported by the evidence of record and is free of legal error. The PCRA court's findings will not be disturbed unless there is no support for the findings in the certified record."
As an initial matter, we must determine whether Appellant's PCRA petition was timely filed. It is well-established that "the PCRA's timeliness requirements are jurisdictional in nature and must be strictly construed; courts may not address the merits of the issues raised in a petition if it is not timely filed."
As noted above, the trial court sentenced Appellant on March 2, 1998. After this Court affirmed Appellant's judgment of sentence on March 13, 2000, Appellant did not seek review in our Supreme Court. Section 9545(b)(3) of the PCRA provides that a judgment of sentence becomes final at the conclusion of direct review or the expiration of the time for seeking the review. 42 Pa.C.S. § 9543(b)(3). Appellant's judgment of sentence became final on April 12, 2000, after the expiration of the thirty day period in which he was allowed to seek review in our Supreme Court.
The only arguable exception to the PCRA time bar in Appellant's pro se petition is the newly recognized constitutional right timeliness exception in Section 9545(b)(1)(iii). Appellant argues his sentence of life imprisonment is unconstitutional pursuant to
However, our Supreme Court has recently held that