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COMMONWEALTH EX REL. KNOWLES v. LESTER (07/01/74)

decided: July 1, 1974.

COMMONWEALTH EX REL. KNOWLES, APPELLANT,
v.
LESTER



Appeal from order of Superior Court, Oct. T., 1972, No. 1150, reversing order of Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, of Philadelphia, June T., 1972, H.C. No. 277, in case of Commonwealth ex rel. Thomas Knowles v. David J. Lester, Director, Philadelphia Court Bail Project.

COUNSEL

Andrea Levin, Assistant Defender, with him Leonard Sosnov, Assistant Defender, John W. Packel, Assistant Defender, and Vincent J. Ziccardi, Defender, for appellant.

James Garrett, Assistant District Attorney, with him David Richman, Assistant District Attorney, Abraham J. Gafni, Deputy District Attorney, Richard A. Sprague, First Assistant District Attorney, and F. Emmett Fitzpatrick, District Attorney, for appellee.

Jones, C. J., Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy and Nix, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Roberts. Mr. Justice Pomeroy concurs in the result. Mr. Justice Manderino took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.

Author: Roberts

[ 456 Pa. Page 424]

On December 8, 1971, Thomas Knowles was charged with receiving stolen property and bringing stolen property into the Commonwealth. The article in question was described as "one U S coin, five cent piece,

[ 456 Pa. Page 425]

Indian Head, dated 1936." It had allegedly been stolen in Florida. Unable to make $5,000 bail, Knowles was committed to jail. At the same time a warrant was issued charging him with being a fugitive from Florida;*fn1 the warrant was lodged against appellant as a detainer.

This warrant was not executed until April 28, 1972, when appellant was arraigned and charged with being a fugitive. Bail was again set at $5,000. On May 12, 1972, a preliminary hearing on the fugitive charge was held. Six days earlier both local stolen property charges were withdrawn.

At this point, Knowles filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus which was granted by the court of common pleas. The Superior Court reversed. Commonwealth ex rel. Knowles v. Lester, 223 Pa. Superior Ct. 519, 302 A.2d 412 (1973).*fn2 We granted the petition for allowance of appeal.*fn3 We reverse the order of the Superior Court and reinstate the order of the court of common pleas.

Section 15 of the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act,*fn4 19 P.S. § 191.15 (1964), permits commitment of an alleged fugitive for up to thirty days*fn5 to allow the governor of the state demanding his presence to forward a requisition to the asylum state. Habeas corpus

[ 456 Pa. Page 426]

    is the remedy for persons illegally confined awaiting extradition. ...


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