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ERNEST ROBINSON v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (09/12/78)

decided: September 12, 1978.

ERNEST ROBINSON, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE AND BUREAU OF CORRECTIONS OF PENNSYLVANIA AND D. E. KNOLL, RECORDS OFFICER FOR BUREAU OF CORRECTIONS OF THE STATE CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION AT GRATERFORD, PENNSYLVANIA, RESPONDENTS



Original jurisdiction in case of Ernest Robinson v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Justice and Bureau of Corrections of Pennsylvania and D. E. Knoll, Records Officer for Bureau of Corrections of the State Correctional Institution at Graterford, Pennsylvania.

COUNSEL

Ernest Robinson, petitioner, for himself.

Peter Foster, Deputy Attorney General, J. Andrew Smyser, Deputy Attorney General, and Robert P. Kane, Attorney General, for respondents.

President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers, Blatt and DiSalle. Opinion by Judge DiSalle.

Author: Disalle

[ 37 Pa. Commw. Page 501]

This involves a motion for summary judgment under Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure 1035. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Justice and Bureau of Corrections and D. E. Knoll (Respondents) filed the motion in an action initiated by a petition for review filed by petitioner pro se Ernest Robinson (Petitioner).

On June 25, 1973, Petitioner was sentenced to a term of five to eighteen years. With credit for time served, the effective date thereof was April 17, 1972.

[ 37 Pa. Commw. Page 502]

The minimum date was April 17, 1977, and the maximum date was April 17, 1990.

On September 30, 1975, while participating in a work-release program, Petitioner failed to return to custody. A warrant charging him with escape under 18 Pa. C.S. ยง 5121 was issued on October 1, 1975, and on January 20, 1977, Petitioner was apprehended. A preliminary hearing on the escape charge was conducted on January 25, 1977, and petitioner was bound over for trial. On that same date, the records officer at the State Correctional Institution at Graterford took it upon himself to administratively adjust the effective minimum and maximum dates of petitioner's sentence so as to deny him credit for the time during which he was at large as an escapee -- one year, three months and nineteen days.

In response to this recomputation of his original sentence, Petitioner filed a petition for review in this Court seeking reinstatement of his original minimum and maximum sentencing dates, and credit for all time served. The petition advanced three legal contentions in support of the relief requested: (1) that Petitioner had been subjected to double jeopardy by having had his sentence adjusted simultaneously with being charged with escape; (2) that the records officer had lacked authority to take such action because the adjustment of a sentence is a judicial function; and (3) that respondents' failure to provide him with a hearing prior to adjusting his sentence had violated his due process rights.

Respondents thereafter filed a preliminary objection in the nature of a demurrer to the petition. Upon consideration of this objection, President Judge Bowman ruled that the first two contentions raised by Petitioner were clearly without merit in view of the applicable case law. ...


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