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It’s over 225 Days: Why is Donte Not Free?

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We posted about the extraordinarily frustrating situation with our client, Donte Rollins, a few weeks ago. In our last post, we explained how – despite the Philadelphia District Attorney’s agreement Donte’s convictions must be vacated and he needs to be released – Donte was still in prison.

Since then, Judge Means denied Donte’s petition even though all parties agreed he should be released. In fact, when the appointed day arrived, Judge Means called the case, announced the petition was denied, then promptly left the bench. No explanation. No reasoning. When we asked him to put his findings of facts on the record – what usually happens in cases like this – the judge just kept walking, right out the courtroom. He never even acknowledged us.

We appealed the same day to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. Within a few days, we filed a motion asking that Court to just reverse Judge Means’ order and let Donte go home. Immediately, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office filed a letter saying “the Commonwealth agrees to the requested relief.” That was November 21. Nearly 2 weeks, and the Court has yet to act upon an agreed upon motion.

In light of the Superior Court’s lack of action, we filed a petition with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court asking the Justices to intervene and bring Donte the justice he’s been so long denied. The petition – filed as a King’s Bench Petition – asks the Supreme Court to reverse Judge Means’ order and send the case back to the Court of Common Pleas to get Donte released from prison. And, again, the next day the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office filed a letter saying, “the Commonwealth agrees to the requested relief.”

To this day, Donte sits in prison although he should have been released over six months ago.