Failure to provide affidavits or certifications of defense witnesses with PCRA petition grounds for dismissing petition

Commonwealth v. Brown, 2017 PA Super 133 (May 4, 2017)

This is an unremarkable affirmance of the dismissal of a PCRA petition but for its noting that the petition could have been dismissed without a hearing because the Mr. Brown failed to provide affidavits indicating the putative witness’s availability and willingness to testify on his behalf. The increased appearance of citations to this requirement (the opinion does not reflect whether the Commonwealth argued this point or it was raised sua sponte) shows that a storm is coming on this issue. This requirement is impractical in the bulk of PCRA cases, as they are handled by underpaid, overworked conflict counsel without investigative resources to obtain such documentation.

The remainder of the opinion is unremarkable because the Superior Court noted several deficiencies in the certified record and the brief that indicated displeasure with the preparation of the appeal.


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