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COMMONWEALTH APPEAL ( MATTER MILLER) (11/17/66)

decided: November 17, 1966.

COMMONWEALTH APPEAL (IN THE MATTER OF MILLER)


Appeal from order of County Court of Philadelphia, No. 107950, Juvenile Division, in matter of Ronald Miller.

COUNSEL

Arlen Specter, District Attorney, with him Alan J. Davis, Assistant District Attorney, and Richard A. Sprague, First Assistant District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellant.

Lois G. Forer, Assistant Defender, with her Vincent J. Ziccardi, Acting First Assistant Defender, and Herman I. Pollock, Defender, for appellee.

Raymond K. Denworth, Jr., with him Lisa A. Richette, Thomas B. Harvey, Jr. and Julian E. Goldberg, for amicus curiae.

Wright, Watkins, Montgomery, Jacobs, Hoffman, and Spaulding, JJ. (Ervin, P. J., absent). Opinion by Wright, J. Opinion by Hoffman, J., concurring in the result. Jacobs, J., joins in this concurring opinion.

Author: Wright

[ 209 Pa. Super. Page 48]

This is an appeal by the Commonwealth from an order of the County Court of Philadelphia, Juvenile

[ 209 Pa. Super. Page 49]

Division, entered June 24, 1966, discharging Ronald Miller from the State Correctional Institution at Dallas. We will briefly summarize the factual and procedural history.

Ronald Miller was born August 5, 1948. He was adjudicated delinquent on June 6, 1956, on a charge of larceny, and was committed to the Youth Study Center. On July 13, 1956, Ronald was placed on probation in his mother's custody. On March 2, 1959, Ronald was adjudicated delinquent on a charge of larceny and again committed to the Youth Study Center. Following the filing of an appropriate petition, Ronald was committed to Allentown State Hospital where he spent almost two years. He was ultimately placed by the hospital in Wylie House, Bethlehem, to live as an out patient. In the summer of 1962 Ronald ran away from Wylie House and returned to Philadelphia. Shortly thereafter he was charged with burglary and assault and battery. On August 21, 1962, he was again committed to the Youth Study Center. On October 6, 1962, he escaped. On October 24, 1962, he was returned on charges of attempted highway robbery, assault and battery, and runaway. After neuro-psychiatric and psychological examinations, Ronald was committed to Dallas by order of Judge Stout, August 5, 1963, under Section 3 of the Act of May 25, 1937, P. L. 808, 61 P.S. 541-3, as supplemented by Section 3 of the Act of July 29, 1953, P. L. 1440, 61 P.S. 542.3.

Commencing in May 1966, a series of hearings took place in the court below to determine whether persons theretofore committed to Dallas should be released. One such hearing, scheduled as the result of a letter from Ronald Miller and without formal petition of any kind, took place on June 24, 1966. At this hearing Rose K. Landy, Esquire, appeared for the American Civil Liberties Union. Also present at the hearing was Ronald's mother, who had recently been released, January

[ 209 Pa. Super. Page 5019]

, 1966, from the State Correctional Institution at Muncy. The hearing judge had previously received from the district attorney a general letter and memorandum requesting the adoption of certain safeguard procedures as a condition precedent to the entry of release orders. With respect to the case of Ronald Miller in particular, the hearing judge had received a letter from the superintendent at Dallas, wherein immediate release of Ronald Miller was not recommended. The hearing judge had also received the report of a re-examination, June 23, 1966, by Dr. Frignito of the ...


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