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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA EX REL. EDWARD MESHEL v. DEWAINE GEDNEY (04/13/78)

decided: April 13, 1978.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA EX REL. EDWARD MESHEL, APPELLANT,
v.
DEWAINE GEDNEY, DIRECTOR PRE-TRIAL SERVICES



COUNSEL

John W. Packel, Assistant Public Defender, and Benjamin Lerner, Defender, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Steven H. Goldblatt and Deborah E. Glass, Assistant District Attorneys, and F. Emmett Fitzpatrick, District Attorney, Philadelphia, for appellee.

Watkins, President Judge, and Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort and Spaeth, JJ. Watkins, former President Judge, did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case.

Author: Cercone

[ 253 Pa. Super. Page 276]

This appeal arises from the order of the court below denying appellant's petition for a writ of habeas corpus and ordering his extradition to the State of New Jersey.

On September 11, 1975, the Governor of New Jersey executed requisition papers stating, inter alia, that appellant had been indicted in New Jersey for the crime of uttering forged checks; that he had been in New Jersey when the crime was committed; and, that he had fled to Pennsylvania. Pursuant to this request, the Governor of Pennsylvania issued a Governor's Warrant on September 24, 1975. Following a hearing, appellant's petition for habeas corpus was denied and this appeal raising two issues ensued.

Appellant first contends the various New Jersey requisition papers are not in order. Specifically, appellant asserts the papers are technically defective in the following manner: (1) The indictment is not personally signed by Cornelius P. Sullivan, who is represented to be the acting county prosecutor for Burlington County, New Jersey; (2) The warrant upon indictment is not signed by Herman Belopolsky, who is elsewhere represented to be a Judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey; (3) No attestation clause certifies that Herman Belopolsky is, in fact, a Judge of the Superior Court; (4) One Ralph Tolomeo is referred to in one of the accompanying documents as the "Executive Assistant to the County Prosecutor," whereas in an affidavit he is referred to as the "County Prosecutor"; and, (5) No clause attests to the position or positions of either Tolomeo or Sullivan.

We find that the foregoing inconsistencies or defects do not affect the validity of the request for extradition. Appellant had been indicted in New Jersey for uttering forged checks. Section 191.3 of the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act*fn* provides in pertinent part that a request for extradition must be "accompanied by a copy of an indictment found. . . . The indictment . . . must substantially

[ 253 Pa. Super. Page 277]

    charge the person demanded with having committed a crime under the law of that state, and the copy of indictment . . . must be authenticated by the executive authority making the demand." Instantly, the requisition papers included, inter alia, a copy of the New Jersey indictment and the formal request for extradition by the Governor of New Jersey. Most importantly, the Governor's request states, in part:

"To the Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Whereas: It appears by the papers required by the Statutes of the United States and of this State, [which] are hereunto annexed, and which I certify to be authentic and duly authenticated in accordance with the Laws of this State. . . ." [Emphasis supplied.]

This certification was sufficient to authenticate all supporting documents included with the requisition request. See Smith v. Helgemoe, 369 A.2d 218 (N.H.1977); Ex parte Regan, 549 S.W.2d 204 (Tex.Cr.App.1977). The question of whether the asserted defects or inconsistencies render the indictment insufficient under the laws of New Jersey is clearly not before us. As the United States Supreme Court has stated:

"The only safe rule is to abandon entirely the standard to which the indictment must conform, judged as a criminal pleading, and consider only whether it shows satisfactorily that the fugitive has been in fact, however inartificially, charged with crime in the state from which he has fled." ...


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