Philadelphia criminal appeals lawyer Lloyd Long discusses details surrounding the Pennsylvania’s Superior Court’s decision in the Konias case for hit and run.
The defendant was an armored car guard who killed his partner and ran off to Florida with $2.3 million. He claimed self-defense at trial but somehow lost.
The defendant hired private counsel who subsequently filed two motions for court-funded experts for evidentiary and psychological analysis; the motions claimed that all available funds had been exhausted on counsel fees.
The trial court denied the motions without a hearing. The Superior Court affirmed based on the lack of an offer of proof – neither of the motions provided a specific showing of financial hardship. They contained only mere averments of indigency and need for court-appointed experts.
The panel did indicate that the hiring of private counsel does not establish non-indigency. But the failure to include a specific offer of proof in the motion for court-funded experts was fatal to being entitled to a hearing on the motion.
The panel also rejected a claim of inadmissible evidence (a detective’s statement that no struggle had occurred in the armored truck) by finding it to be, at most, harmless error. Similarly, it rejected the defendant’s claim that the verdict was against the weight of the evidence.