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FLETCHER v. SHAPP (06/20/72)

decided: June 20, 1972.

FLETCHER
v.
SHAPP, ET AL.



Original jurisdiction in case of James Morris Fletcher v. Honorable Milton J. Shapp, Governor of Pennsylvania, and J. Shane Creamer, Attorney General of Pennsylvania.

COUNSEL

Louis P. Vitti, for plaintiff.

Curtis M. Pontz, with him Leonard Packel, Deputy Attorney General, and J. Shane Creamer, Attorney General, for defendants.

President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Opinion by Judge Crumlish, Jr. Judge Wilkinson, Jr. concurs in the result only.

Author: Crumlish

[6 Pa. Commw. 33 Page 34]

Fletcher, invoking original jurisdiction,*fn1 filed a complaint in trespass naming the Governor and the Attorney General as defendants. They in turn filed preliminary objections in the nature of demurrers. We sustain.

The undisputed facts are that plaintiff was convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1954. In 1961 this judgment was reversed and plaintiff was granted a new trial which resulted in acquittal. He had served approximately eight years in prison.

In 1966, plaintiff was sentenced to from 10 1/2 to 24 years after having been convicted on bills of indictment

[6 Pa. Commw. 33 Page 35]

    unrelated to the earlier offense. He is now confined on this sentence.

In his Complaint, plaintiff seeks credit for time served on the invalidated 1954 sentence and would have defendants apply it to his current misfortune. He also asks for monetary damages in compensation for the time he served on the 1954 sentence.

Plaintiff would have us overlook the crucial factors in his predicament. His sentences were for different, unrelated crimes and further the sentences were neither concurrent nor consecutive. Under these circumstances, the law is unmistakably clear that Fletcher is not entitled to credit for the time he served under the voided sentence. His later conviction for a new offense constituted an entirely new ball game.

Davis v. U.S. Attorney General, 432 F. 2d 778 (5th Cir. 1970), involved a petition in mandamus for a recomputation of jail time similar to the instant case. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals said: "The basis of appellant's contention is that while serving time under an invalid sentence he managed to earn credit against a future unrelated sentence for a crime not yet perpetrated. We cannot accept such a proposition. An allowance for prison time previously served under a void commitment does not reduce sentences imposed as a result of new and different crimes. . . . The [state imposed] sentence therefore remains undisturbed since it was incurred for ...


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