Original jurisdiction in the case of Charles Benefiel v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole.
Charles Benefiel, petitioner, for himself.
Robert A. Greevy, Assistant Attorney General, with him, Edward G. Biester, Jr., Attorney General, for respondent.
President Judge Crumlish and Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers, Blatt, Craig and MacPhail. Judges Williams, Jr. and Palladino did not participate. Opinion by President Judge Crumlish.
[ 57 Pa. Commw. Page 402]
Charles Benefiel has filed a petition for review challenging the decision of the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole (Board) recommitting him as a technical parole violator. Cross-motions for judgment on the pleadings have been filed, and the issues have been submitted on briefs.
Benefiel alleges that a Board warrant filed to commit and retain him as a technical parole violator should be vacated because of certain alleged procedural deficiencies. We disagree and hold the Board's action was proper and will enter judgment for the Board.
Benefiel was under parole supervision when he was arrested on charges of terroristic threats. On November 2, 1978, the Board filed a warrant charging Benefiel with the technical parole violation of disobeying a condition of his parole, namely, that he engaged in overt behavior which threatened or presented a clear and present danger to himself or others.*fn1
[ 57 Pa. Commw. Page 403]
Benefiel contends (1) he was excused from complying with that parole condition because he did not endorse a parole contract indicating this was a condition of parole nor did he ever see the written condition as required by 37 Pa. Code § 63.7; and (2) Board agents dissuaded him from seeking a continuance at his Violation Hearing when they knew two of his material witnesses were unavailable by assuring him they would obtain their affidavits for the Board's consideration.
First, there is no prerequisite to a valid parole condition that the parolee must agree to its terms. After a convict has met certain eligibility parole requirements, he is then paroled subject to certain general and possibly some special conditions. Thus, Benefiel became subjected to condition No. 10 after parole eligibility was determined. Under the Board's broad power to make general rules governing the conduct and supervision of parolees,*fn2 it enacted the regulation found at 37 Pa. Code § 67.3, which puts the burden of acknowledging parole conditions upon the parolee. Thus, the obligation was upon Benefiel to acquaint himself with the conditions of his parole, either by reading them himself or having someone read it to him. Having failed to fully comprehend and comply with the conditions of his parole, Benefiel cannot now excuse his non-compliance with parole conditions by attempting to shift the burden of acknowledgment to the Board.
He secondly contends that he is entitled to have his parole reinstated because he was deprived of his right to present ...