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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. LARRY RONALD HOWARD (06/29/77)

decided: June 29, 1977.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
LARRY RONALD HOWARD, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence dated April 21, 1976, of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Montgomery County, at No. 4414 July Term, 1975.

COUNSEL

Calvin S. Drayer, Jr., Assistant Public Defender, Norristown, for appellant.

Bert M. Goodman, Assistant District Attorney, and William T. Nicholas, District Attorney, Norristown, for appellee.

Watkins, President Judge, and Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort, and Spaeth, JJ. Spaeth, J., concurs in the result.

Author: Jacobs

[ 248 Pa. Super. Page 248]

Appellant and a co-defendant were convicted of attempted escape*fn1 from the State Correctional Institution at Graterford. Following the jury trial, post-trial motions were denied. This appeal followed, in which four issues are raised. Since we find these issues are without merit, we affirm.

The facts giving rise to the charges against appellant were summarized by the trial court as follows:

". . . At about 7:00 A.M. on August 26, 1975, Lieutenant Dietz was walking through the kitchen service corridor of the State Correctional Institution at Graterford when he observed two inmates in the courtyard between 'A' and 'B' Blocks. Both were in a 'hunched' position. Dietz recognized one of the men as Howard. Inmates are not permitted in this area. Dietz alerted Captain Spaid, who immediately proceeded into the courtyard where he saw two figures dressed in inmate garb running alongside of 'A' Block. It was a foggy morning, and the men passed beyond his vision. However, as he continued in pursuit, he observed a makeshift rope of bedding and clothing leading to a cell window on the second level of 'A' Block, and saw a figure in the act of scrambling through the window. The cell was number 352. It was Howard's cell, and he was its only occupant when it was promptly searched. One of the window bars had been cut, one window was missing and another held in place with fresh putty covered with wet paint. Two ice cream cups, one containing paint and one containing fresh putty, were found under Howard's bed. A pair of shoes found in the cell were wet and covered with grass.

"A general search of the cells on 'A' Block was ordered. Cell 329 was Shoats' cell and he was its sole occupant when officers arrived to inspect it. The inspection revealed that the cell window bars had been cut, and that the windows could be removed by tapping them. The putty holding them in place was fresh. On removal of the

[ 248 Pa. Super. Page 249]

    windows, there was sufficient space for a man to exit. A third cell on Block 'A' was found to have its window bars cut, but an institution wide search failed to disclose any other such discrepancies. However, a search of the yard area revealed a hook attached to the outside wall between Towers 4 and 5, with about 8 feet of homemade rope fashioned from bed sheets attached to it. Directly beneath this was 40 feet of similar rope in a heap. The wall is 40 feet high."

Lower Court Opinion at 1 & 2 (footnote omitted).

The first argument made by appellant is that he was denied equal protection of the law by virtue of the fact that the enabling legislation*fn2 pursuant to which the Bureau of Corrections formulates regulations, fails to provide sufficient standards and guidelines for the promulgation of such regulations, and thus is an improper delegation of legislative authority. Pursuant to this enabling legislation, the Bureau of Corrections has adopted regulations and by-laws governing operation of the various state correctional facilities. More specifically, regulations have been adopted which ...


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