Recent decisions of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court construing the Post Conviction Relief Act include Commonwealth v. Homes and Commonwealth v. Abraham. In Holmes the Court reaffirmed the rule of deferral of ineffectiveness claims to the post-conviction process but recognized two, limited discretionary exceptions to the rule, one of which provides an opportunity for defendants serving short sentences to obtain review of claims of trial counsel ineffectiveness on direct appeal provided the defendant waives collateral review. In Abraham, the Court held that Padilla v. Kentucky did not abroate the traditional collateral consequences rule, but instead simply identified deportation as an isolated exception to the rule. Other decisions address the constitutionality of the requirement that limits post-conviction relief to defendants who are in custody, whether a request for DNA testing is timely and how a court should assess a claim of mental retardation raised in a post-conviction proceeding.
Pa. B. Ass'n Q.
Thomas M. Place, Post-Conviction Developments, 85 Pa. B. Ass'n Q. 117 (2014).