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The original item was published from 10/15/2015 8:42:00 AM to 11/30/2015 5:35:05 PM.

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District Attorney

Posted on: October 15, 2015

[ARCHIVED] Jailed Liquor-Store Robber Loses Claim that Lawyer Refused to Take him to Trial

Matthew Morris.PNG

A state-prison inmate who committed a spree of armed robberies at Lancaster County liquor stores and ATMs has lost an appeal that his lawyer was inadequate.

Matthew Morris, 43, is serving 8 to 20 years for four knifepoint robberies in East Hempfield and Manheim townships. Liquor stores, along with individuals at ATMs, were targeted.

On appeal, Morris argued his attorney misrepresented on a number of grounds, including:

- The lawyer refused to take his case to trial.
- The lawyer didn’t explain to him the difference between consecutive and concurrent sentences.
- The lawyer didn’t spend enough time on his case.

The Pennsylvania Superior Court denied that appeal this week, concluding the arguments lack “factual basis.”

In an 8-page memo, the high court writes Morris was well aware he would be pleading guilty in exchange for an 8-to-20-year term. His understanding of concurrent and consecutive sentences played no factor, the court ruled.

At sentencing in 2013, Morris told Lancaster County Judge Howard Knisely he understood the terms of the plea agreement.

Judge Knisely denied Morris’ initial appeal; the Superior Court agreed with Knisely’s findings.

Assistant District Attorney Maria Cusick argued the appeal for the Commonwealth.

East Hempfield Township police and Manheim Township police filed charges.

MEDIA CONTACT: Brett A. Hambright, 717-295-2041;

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