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COMMONWEALTH v. CAMPBELL (06/21/74)

decided: June 21, 1974.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
CAMPBELL, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of sentence of Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Allegheny County, Oct. T., 1972, No. 8516A, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Robert Campbell.

COUNSEL

John J. Dean and John R. Cook, Trial Defenders, and George H. Ross, Public Defender, for appellant.

Robert L. Eberhardt, Assistant District Attorney, and Robert W. Duggan, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Watkins, P. J., Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort, and Spaeth, JJ. Opinion by Cercone, J.

Author: Cercone

[ 228 Pa. Super. Page 216]

This case comes to us on appeal by defendant from the sentence of the lower court imposed after defendant had pleaded guilty to the crime of prison breach. Defendant claims that the sentence was invalid, excessive, constituted double jeopardy and was not imposed as a punishment for the prison breach crime.

On April 12, 1973, defendant pleaded guilty to the charge of prison breach and was sentenced to a term of not less than three years, no more than ten years to take effect at the expiration of sentences imposed in Washington County and in Allegheny County for armed robberies committed by defendant while on furlough from a life sentence he was serving for the crime of

[ 228 Pa. Super. Page 217]

    murder. It was during this prison breach that he committed the two armed robberies in Washington and in Allegheny County.

Appellant is a 48-year old inveterate criminal with an extensive criminal record, including numerous felonies, two court martials while in the service and various misdemeanors.

On March 10, 1972, defendant was granted a home furlough from prison where he was serving a life sentence for murder. He was scheduled to return on March 12, 1972, but failed to do so. It was during this prison breach that he committed the two armed robberies in Washington County and in Allegheny County. He was found guilty of the Washington County armed robbery and was sentenced to not less than 10 nor more than 20 years of imprisonment. He was also found guilty of assault with intent to kill and received a sentence of 3 1/2 to 7 years to run concurrently with the armed robbery sentence. These sentences are to take effect at the expiration of the sentence the defendant is currently serving for murder. He was also found guilty of the Allegheny County armed robbery and sentenced to 10 and 20 years, said sentence to run concurrently with the sentence imposed in Washington County. On April 12, 1973 after defendant was tried and sentenced on the armed robbery convictions he pleaded guilty to prison breach and was sentenced to 10 to 20 years.

The defendant's first argument is based on the prison breach statute, Act of July 12, 1961, P. L. 575, § 1, 18 P.S. § 4309, as amended, 1968, July 16, P. L. 353, No. 174, § 1. The section of the statute in question reads: "when said prison breach occurs after conviction for any offense other than the prison breach, said sentence shall commence from the expiration of the original sentence ...


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