No. 640 April Term, 1979, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Erie County, Criminal Division, No. 773 of 1977.
Jay S. Nedell, Erie, for appellant.
Shad Connelly, Assistant District Attorney, Erie, for Commonwealth, appellee.
Spaeth, Wickersham and Lipez, JJ.
[ 287 Pa. Super. Page 348]
This case comes before us in a hopeless procedural snarl. In early 1977, appellant, then living in Erie County, Pennsylvania, applied for the position of volunteer fireman. On April 4, 1977, during a routine background check occasioned by the application, it was discovered, through the National Crime Information Computer, that a person bearing appellant's name had been charged in Wisconsin with theft by fraud. A complaint charging him with being a fugitive from justice was sworn in Erie County on April 12, and he was arrested the next day. The court below held an extradition hearing on July 7, 1977. The only witness was the local police officer who had arrested appellant in Pennsylvania. At the conclusion of that hearing, the court below directed appellant's counsel to file a brief, on the issue of identification of appellant as the person sought by the Wisconsin authorities, within five days. The court stated, on the record, that he would "make a ruling" on that issue following the Commonwealth's response. Appellant's brief was filed in the court below on July 11. The Commonwealth's brief, while not directly in response to appellant's (having been filed on July 8) was vaguely responsive to the issue. The court issued no ruling. On October 24, 1977, appellant filed, in the court below, a "Petition for Habeas Corpus, Appeal, Rehearing and Miscellaneous Extradition Relief." On November 10, the court denied the petition. Appellant filed a Notice of Appeal to the Superior Court on November 16, 1977.
The record shows that no action was taken on this case, by either party or by the lower court, until July 16, 1979. On that date, the court below held a second extradition hearing. The court ordered appellant extradited at the conclusion of the hearing, whereupon appellant immediately filed a second Notice of Appeal to this court (purporting to appeal the
[ 287 Pa. Super. Page 349]
purported order of July 16, 1979).*fn1 This court ordered extradition stayed pending disposition of the latter appeal.
Upon appellant's filing of his notice of appeal in November of 1977, the court below was bereft of power to proceed further in the matter. Pa.R.App.P. 1701(a). The actions taken by that court thereafter fell within none of the limited exceptions to this general rule, and were thus legal nullities. The hearing of July 16, 1979, the court's oral extradition order at the conclusion thereof, and appellant's notice of appeal filed that same day are legally of no effect. This court's stay of the lower court's extradition order is likewise ineffectual. We must, therefore, ignore all of the purported proceedings, orders and filings which took place after the filing of the first notice of appeal on November 16, 1977.
We shall not resolve the matter of the earlier appeal. The briefs of appellant and the Commonwealth to this court were filed pursuant to the second notice of appeal, and properly ought not to be considered.*fn2 The record shows,
[ 287 Pa. Super. Page 350]
clearly, that, in the three and one half years since the filing of the first (and the only valid) notice of appeal, neither of the parties nor the court below has taken any action. Since the parties have, in all respects, failed to observe the Rules of ...