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COMMONWEALTH v. FERGUSON (09/12/63)

September 12, 1963

COMMONWEALTH
v.
FERGUSON, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 130, April T., 1963, from judgment of Court of Quarter Sessions of Allegheny County, Oct. T., 1960, No. 436, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. H. Ray Ferguson, Jr. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

Carl Blanchfield, for appellant.

Louis Abromson, Assistant District Attorney, and Edward C. Boyle, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Before Rhodes, P.j., Ervin, Wright, Woodside, Watkins, Montgomery, and Flood, JJ.

Author: Flood

[ 201 Pa. Super. Page 650]

OPINION BY FLOOD, J.

On January 18, 1961, the appellant was placed on probation for three years upon condition that he reimburse the county for costs and make restitution of $50.95 to Robert J. Gaitens. In addition he was ordered not to drive a car except during working hours.

On December 20, 1962, while he was still on probation, he was involved in an automobile accident which resulted in the death of three persons. It was testified at the coroner's inquest that he was the driver of the car. The Commonwealth charged that he lost control of the car when driving at a high rate of speed in the early morning hours.

On January 16, 1963, Judge HESTER, who had placed the defendant on probation in 1961, was notified of this occurrence. At the same time his attention was called to the fact that the probation which he had imposed in 1961 could not legally extend beyond the two year maximum for the offence of assault and battery. He thereupon amended the record to provide for a period for probation of two years.

A violation hearing was held on January 31, 1963, and the probation authorities placed before the court records showing that the defendant had been arrested for violation of the Motor Vehicle Code four times between March 2 and July 21, 1961 and that his driver's license had been suspended on February 21, September

[ 201 Pa. Super. Page 65121]

, October 24 and December 31, 1961, and his operating privileges had not been restored since October 24, 1961. He had been admittedly operating his car without a license since that date and he never advised the probation office of these facts. The court noted that there were further violations in "the obvious fact that Ferguson was operating his vehicle other than going to and returning home from his place of employment.... that on Dec. 20, 1962, Ferguson was in the company of Robert Reese, a parolee; had been admittedly frequenting bars and taverns; indulging in intoxicants and keeping late hours."

At the conclusion of the hearing, Judge HESTER found that the defendant had breached the terms and conditions of his probation within two years from January 18, 1961, revoked the probation and sentenced the defendant to a term of six months in the Allegheny County jail. The sentence was thus imposed thirteen days after the court received notice of the violation and forty-two days after the fatal automobile accident had brought the situation to the ...


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