Dealer’s appeal dismissed

A drug dealer from York, who was part of a network distributing heroin locally in 2015 and 2016, has lost his challenge to the lengthy sentence imposed on him by a Blair County judge.

The Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled Friday afternoon that Wayne Anthony Davis, 39, did not follow the proper procedure in disputing his 12- to 24-year sentence.

Davis was sentenced by Judge Elizabeth A. Doyle on Nov. 16, 2018, after he entered guilty pleas to possession with intent to distribute heroin, dealing in proceeds from unlawful activity, conspiracy to distribute heroin and participation in a corrupt organization.

According to the charges, Davis and Lawrence Francis, natives of New York, took their drug enterprise to York and from there began to deal heroin in the Altoona area.

Police identified a local source for the heroin and linked Davis and Francis to the operation.

Francis remained in York while Davis became what police called the “front man” in Altoona.

Less than three weeks after receiving his sentence, Davis on his own filed an appeal with the Superior Court contending his plea did not meet the legal standard of “knowing, intelligent and voluntary.”

Because it was his first appeal, the trial court appointed Altoona attorneys Joel C. Seelye and Cara E. Harr to represent him.

The appeals court panel ordered Doyle to file a statement addressing Davis’ issues, but, then decided that Davis had not followed the proper procedure in challenging his sentence.

Although his appeal to the Superior Court was timely, he failed to first address his complaints before Doyle.

He raised no issues concerning his sentence during the sentencing hearing, and he did not request a reduction in his sentence within 10 days after it was imposed.

Instead he went directly to the Superior Court with his challenge.

“Issues not raised in the lower court are waived and cannot be raised for the first time on appeal,” according to the Superior Court panel.

It stated Davis should have first raised his concerns immediately after he was sentenced or filed a petition within 10 days asking for reconsideration of his sentence.

In the appeal, the defense claimed the prosecution did not:

— Explain the underlying factual basis for the charges against Davis.

— Describe the nature of the charges.

— Did not inform Davis that the trial court had the power to deviate from any sentence recommended by the prosecution.

While the Superior Court panel dismissed Davis’ challenge to his guilty plea based a procedural error, it also commented that after reviewing Doyle’s explanation of the sentence, it would have concluded his appeal was “knowing, intelligent and voluntary.”

Doyle during sentencing found Davis to be eligible for the state’s Risk, Recidivism, Reduction Initiative, a program designed to lower sentences of inmates who complete several programs.

This means Davis could eventually have his minimum sentence reduced from 12 to 10 years.

Davis is incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Camp Hill.


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