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COMMONWEALTH EX REL. HAUN v. CAVELL (09/16/59)

September 16, 1959

COMMONWEALTH EX REL. HAUN
v.
CAVELL, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 115, April T., 1959, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Mercer County, Sept. T., 1958, No. 92, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania ex rel. Charles Haun v. Angelo C. Cavell, Warden. Order reversed.

COUNSEL

Frank P. Lawley, Jr., Deputy Attorney General, with him Robert A. Jarvis, and Anne X. Alpern, Attorney General, for appellant.

Henry S. Moore, for appellee.

Before Rhodes, P.j., Wright, Woodside, Ervin, and Watkins, JJ. (hirt and Gunther, JJ., absent).

Author: Woodside

[ 190 Pa. Super. Page 347]

OPINION BY WOODSIDE, J.

This habeas corpus case, brought by a prisoner to obtain his release from the Western State Penitentiary, presents a legal problem with serious implications. It comes before us on appeal by the Attorney General

[ 190 Pa. Super. Page 348]

    from an order of the court below directing that the petitioner be discharged.*fn1

If the holding of the court below is correct, there are a substantial number of prisoners being illegally detained. If these prisoners are discharged, there will be released upon society, without any supervision, many of the Commonwealth's worst criminals, all of whom have committed crimes while on parole from sentences imposed for serious offenses, and all of whom the Pennsylvania Board of Parole has refused to reparole because it has concluded that the Commonwealth would be injured thereby. As it would be a serious matter to detain these prisoners illegally or to release them improperly, this case presents a question which demands most careful consideration.

For us to recount all of the petitioner's offenses, sentences, commitments, detainers, releases, paroles, reparoles, and the dates of each, would take the reader into a mass of time calculations which would only becloud the legal issue here involved.

The legal problem is brought into focus by the following facts: The petitioner was sentenced for felonious assault to the Western State Penitentiary for a term of 3 to 6 years to be computed from April 19, 1952. After completing his minimum sentence on April 19, 1955, he was paroled by the Board of Parole to serve "back time" in the Allegheny County Workhouse on a prior robbery sentence of 2 to 4 years on which he has served the minimum, and from which he was on parole when the assault was committed. Since April 19, 1955, he has been in prison 2 years on the prior sentence, 16 days on a detainer, and, after a few months on parole, 6 months on a sentence for carrying concealed deadly weapons committed while on parole from his assault

[ 190 Pa. Super. Page 349]

    sentence. At the expiration of the 6 months' term (December 11, 1957), the Board of Parole recommitted him to the Western State Penitentiary as a parole violator. His maximum was listed ...


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