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COMMONWEALTH v. STAUFFER (03/20/69)

decided: March 20, 1969.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
STAUFFER, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of Court of Quarter Sessions of Lancaster County, March T., 1968, No. 55, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Linnie Pearl Stauffer.

COUNSEL

William W. Stainton, with him John W. Beyer, and Arnold, Bricker, Beyer & Barnes, for appellant.

Theodore A. Parker, First Assistant District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Wright, P. J., Watkins, Montgomery, Jacobs, Hoffman, Spaulding, and Hannum, JJ. Opinion by Hoffman, J.

Author: Hoffman

[ 214 Pa. Super. Page 114]

Linnie Pearl Stauffer was charged and convicted of involuntary manslaughter. The court sentenced her to the State Correctional Institution at Muncy for an indeterminate sentence in accordance with the Act of July 25, 1913, P. L. 1311, as amended, 61 P.S. § 551 et seq.

Subsequent to the imposition of sentence, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania held that the sentencing of women to Muncy under that Act violated the equal protection laws under the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. Commonwealth v. Daniel, 430 Pa. 642, 650, 243 A.2d 400 (1968). The court stated that, "We are convinced, . . . that the considerations and

[ 214 Pa. Super. Page 115]

    factors . . . do not govern or justify the imposition of a longer or greater sentence of women than is imposed upon men for the commission of the same crime. In particular, we fail to discern any reasonable and justifiable difference or deterrents between men and women which would justify a man being eligible for a shorter maximum prison sentence than a woman for the commission of the same crime, especially if there is no material difference in their records and the relevant circumstances."

Subsequently, the legislature promulgated Act No. 171 on July 16, 1968, P. L. , § 1, 61 P.S. § 566, altering the Muncy Act. Under the New Act, the court was permitted to sentence women to Muncy for a term not to exceed the maximum prescribed for the particular offense in question.

The lower court then resentenced appellant to Muncy for three years, which is the maximum sentence allowed for involuntary manslaughter. Act of June 24, 1939, P. L. 872, § 703, 18 P.S. 4703.

This appeal concerns the validity of the sentencing of appellant to Muncy rather than to a local county prison.

The Act of March 31, 1860, P. L. 427, § 75, as amended, 19 P.S. 891, provides in pertinent part: ". . . all persons sentenced to simple imprisonment for any period of time shall be confined in the ...


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