Philadelphia criminal appeals lawyer Lloyd Long discusses details surrounding the Pennsylvania’s Superior Court’s decision in the Kelley case for PCRA.

This was an appeal from the denial of PCRA relief. The appellant, who was on state parole, gave his son counterfeit currency. It was of such poor quality that it didn’t fool the carnival workers who were supposed to unknowingly make change from it.

The appellant pled guilty to various charges in exchange for a sentence of 21-60 months. Part of the bargain included acknowledging a specific effective date for the sentence: the day of his arrest.

After being sentenced, the appellant learned that his true effective date was nearly two years after that specified by the plea agreement. 61 Pa.C.S. 6138(a)(5)(i).

The Superior Court reversed the denial of post-conviction relief. Before the new sentence was imposed, the Parole Board imposed a back-time sentence that went beyond the aforementioned sentence effective date. The Parole Act prohibits a new state sentence from running concurrent to an already-imposed back-time sentence in circumstances like this. 61 Pa.C.S. 6138(a)(5)(i).

The record contained no indication that the appellant was aware of the statutory requirement that he serve his back-time prior to the new state sentence. Counsel was ineffective for not advising petitioner of such, and the plea was therefore not entered knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily. The petitioner was not, however, entitled to specific performance, i.e. imposition of concurrent sentences.