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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. MICHAEL JONES (11/03/78)

decided: November 3, 1978.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
MICHAEL JONES, APPELLANT



No. 1073 October Term, 1977, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Trial Division, Criminal Section, Revoking Parole as of February Sessions, 1975, No. 7502-1824.

COUNSEL

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

Michael R. Stiles, Assistant District Attorney, and F. Emmett Fitzpatrick, District Attorney, Philadelphia, for Commonwealth, appellee.

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

Author: Cercone

[ 260 Pa. Super. Page 44]

The instant appeal arises from the revocation of appellant's parole following a hearing thereon. Appellant admits that the parole revocation procedure satisfied minimal due process requirements as delineated in Morrisey v. Brewer, 408 U.S. 471, 92 S.Ct. 2593, 33 L.Ed.2d 484 (1972). See Moody v. Daggett, 429 U.S. 78, 97 S.Ct. 274, 50 L.Ed.2d 236 (1976). Instead, appellant contends that his parole revocation hearing was not held speedily enough after his convictions for the offenses which were the basis for revoking parole to satisfy the requirements of Pa.R.Crim.P., Rule 1409. We disagree.

On April 21, 1975 appellant entered a plea of guilty to a charge of robbery before Judge Judith Jamison and received a sentence of two and one-half to eighteen months in jail. Almost immediately thereafter appellant was admitted to parole. One year later, on April 29, 1976, appellant was arrested and charged with rape and indecent assault. Again, on June 30, 1976, appellant was arrested for robbery and related offenses. On September 2, 1976, appellant pleaded guilty to robbery and received the relatively light sentence of four to twenty-three months imprisonment. Although a parole revocation hearing had been scheduled for September 23, 1976, it was postponed pending the outcome of the outstanding rape and indecent assault charges. Appellant also pleaded guilty to these charges on October 20, 1976, for which he received a sentence of eleven and one-half to twenty-three months' imprisonment and two years of probation. Thereafter, a parole revocation hearing was scheduled for December 2, 1976, before Judge Jamison.

The hearing was not long underway when Judge Jamison indicated that she was not inclined to render a decision on appellant's parole without seeing a presentence investigation report as well as a psychiatric evaluation. Because appellant's

[ 260 Pa. Super. Page 45]

    previous felonies had resulted in negotiated pleas of guilty, no such reports had ever been compiled with respect to appellant. The judge was understandably daunted by the fact that such serious offenses as rape and robbery had received such relatively mild sentences. As the judge stated at the hearing:

"I am delaying for six weeks hence so that I can have a further understanding of the defendant. I do not feel that I can properly evaluate a twice-convicted robber, and an individual convicted of rape, without the benefit of either a presentence investigation or a psychiatric evaluation. This man has had three negotiated pleas, I believe, and in that way has been able to avoid an intensive study."

"Sometimes the charge may sound more serious than the actual offense, and I see the man in the flesh, but I also have these records. His probation officer tells me there are some extenuating circumstances. I am trying not to shoot from the hip. . . ."

This laudable concern for appellant's welfare proved fruitless, however, as the presentence investigation and psychiatric evaluation exacerbated appellant's already serious criminal record. Hence, on ...


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