Noteworthy Cases

Reinhold v. Rozum, — F.3d —-, 2010 WL 1462371 C.A.3 (Pa.), April 14, 2010.
*Attorney Stavroulakis argued this case before a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit on March 9, 2010.  The Court filed a precedential Opinion in which the Court agreed with counsel’s argument that Cunningham v. California, 549 U.S. 270 (2007) announced a “new” constitutional rule in Mr. Reinhold’s case, where his sentence became final in 1996, well before the decision announced in Apprendi v. NJ, 530 U.S. 466 (2000) and its progeny.  Thus, the Court applied the test for determining retroactive application of a new constitutional rule to cases on collateral review as set forth in Teague v. Lane, 489 U.S. 288 (1980).  In doing so, the Court determined that the “new” constitutional rule announced in Cunningham did not constitute a watershed rule of criminal procedure.  Therefore, it is not retroactively applicable to cases on collateral review. 

Real v. Shannon, et al., — F.3d —-, 2010 WL 715431, C.A.3 (Pa.), March 03, 2010.
*Following Oral Argument which Diana Stavroulakis, Esq., presented before the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, the panel filed a precedential Opinion to announce the Court’s decision. The Court concluded, in part, that Attorney Stavroulakis established that the Superior Court of Pennsylvania inappropriately used a “balancing test” as established in Commonwealth v. Devlin when denying Mr. Real relief in state court. The ‘balancing test’ of Devlin was deemed contrary to an established federal standard. Thus, the Third Circuit reviewed the case under the appropriate federal standard of review.

United States of America v. McKoy, 2009 WL 3601208 (C.A.3 (Pa.)) – November 3, 2009
*On appeal from the judgment in a criminal case, Ms. Stavroulakis established that the sentencing court committed plain error during the Rule 11 colloquy. However, although the sentencing court committed plain error, no relief was granted by the Third Circuit because Mr. McKoy could not establish that his substantial rights were violated.

Commonwealth v. Scassera, 965 A.2d 247 (Pa.Super. 2009).
*The Superior Court of Pennsylvania filed a published Opinion wherein the Court agreed with the argument that Attorney Stavroulakis briefed and submitted for the Court’s consideration along with Attorney Steven Valsamidis. The Superior Court vacated the Order of the lower court and remanded the case for resentencing, because the sentencing court initially imposed the statutory maximum sentence while refusing to consider the suggested guideline sentencing range, as well as Mr. Scassera’s proper prior record score.

Velazquez v. Grace et al., 277 Fed.Appx. 258, 2008 WL 1977555 (C.A.3 (Pa.)) – May 8, 2008
*On appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, the Court agreed with the issue presented in Ms. Stavroulakis’ brief and at oral argument. The Court concluded that the Federal District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania erred in denying Mr. Velazquez’ request for relief. The Third Circuit VACATED the Order of the District Court and remanded the case so that Mr. Velazquez could enjoy his Sixth Amendment right to a direct appeal from his judgment of sentence, in accord with the holding of our United States Supreme Court case of Roe v. Flores-Ortega.

Farmer v. Wilson, 248 Fed.Appx. 291, 2007 WL 2745778 (C.A.3 (Pa.)) – September 21, 2007
*On appeal from the Order of the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania which denied Mr. Farmer’s request for federal habeas relief, Attorney Stavroulakis submitted a brief to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, alleging various instances of trial counsel’s ineffectiveness. The Third Circuit agreed with Ms. Stavroulakis’ argument and entered an Order VACATING the Order of the District Court and REMANDING the case for an evidentiary hearing on the appropriate issues.

Commonwealth v. Linn, 746 A.2d 1115 (Pa. 2000).
*The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania granted Ms. Stavroulakis’ Petition for Allowance of Appeal. By Order of Court dated February 29, 2000, the Supreme Court VACATED the Order of the Superior Court and REMANDED the case to the PCRA Court for proceedings consistent with the Court’s holding in Commonwealth v. Lantzy, 736 A.2d 564 (Pa. 1999).