A Delaware County man has filed a pro se complaint against the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas over claims that he spent five years in state prison for a crime he didn’t commit.
Richard Edward Ponton, who resides in Collingdale, Pa., filed his suit on March 25 at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
The plaintiff claims ineffective assistance of counsel relating to a Common Pleas Court trial early last decade at which he was found guilty of forgery and theft by deception.
Ponton, the record shows, was arrested in March 2003 for forgery and related offenses.
He was represented by the Defender Association of Philadelphia.
After a two-day trial in mid-January 2004, Ponton was found guilty on the two charges of forgery and theft by deception, according to his civil complaint.
In early March of that year, Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Amanda Cooperman sentenced the plaintiff to a prison term of between two-and-a-half and five years, with Ponton ultimately serving out the maximum end of the sentence, the suit states.
Ponton claims in his lawsuit that there was no evidence to support the guilty verdict, which he says can be proven by reviewing the “entire record."
“Trial counsel failed to inform the jury that the commonwealth’s evidence was insufficient,” Ponton stated in his complaint, which he wrote and filed on his own behalf without the aid of an attorney.
Ponton did not specify the amount of damages he is seeking for his alleged injuries.
The federal case number is 2:14-cv-01738-ER.