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JOHNSON v. CUYLER

March 1, 1982

James Harold JOHNSON
v.
Julius T. CUYLER, Supt., John J. Parker, Warden, Camden County Jail, N.J., The Attorney General of the State of Pennsylvania and New Jersey



The opinion of the court was delivered by: SHAPIRO

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

INTRODUCTION

 The following findings of fact are based upon the evidence presented and the stipulations of the parties.

 FINDINGS OF FACT

 1. Petitioner was indicted on New Jersey charges in October, 1978 *fn1" and entered a plea of not guilty on October 26, 1978. The case was continued on November 20, 1978 at the request of the prosecutor. On December 27, 1978 petitioner was arrested in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on charges unrelated to the New Jersey proceedings. At the next listing of the New Jersey case, on January 16, 1979, petitioner was being held in custody in Delaware County, Pennsylvania on a federal detainer for violation of probation (Stip. 1).

 2. On January 18, 1979 petitioner was temporarily transferred to Philadelphia custody; on January 25, 1979 Sergeant Banks of the Camden County Fugitive Unit wrote to the Records Keeper of the Philadelphia Detention Center requesting that a detainer based on a New Jersey warrant, issued January 16, 1979, be lodged against petitioner (Stip. 2).

 3. Petitioner was arraigned on the New Jersey detainer before The Hon. Abraham J. Gafni, Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, on February 1, 1979. Petitioner then stated in court on the record his desire to be returned to New Jersey for disposition of the New Jersey charges. The matter was continued and bail was set (Dkt.Ent.Muni.Ct.Phila., Ex. 8, p. 2).

 4. Petitioner next appeared before Judge Gafni on February 6, 1979. Again he expressed a desire to have the New Jersey charges disposed of but the matter was continued because New Jersey Governor's warrants had not been received (Dkt.Ent.Muni.Ct.Phila., Ex. 8, p. 2).

 5. Despite petitioner's statements in court that he wished to be returned to New Jersey for trial, the Philadelphia Police Department by letter dated February 7, 1979 (Exhibit 4), and the District Attorney's office, by letter dated February 26, 1979 (Exhibit 6), advised the Camden County prosecutor that petitioner refused to waive extradition.

 6. On February 26, 1979 the Philadelphia District Attorney's office wrote to the Camden authorities that Governor's warrants should be received in Harrisburg by March 7 so that the petitioner might be afforded a hearing by April 7. On February 27, 1979 petitioner was not brought down for his extradition hearing and the matter was continued to February 28, 1979. The defendant was not brought down on February 28 because he was in the Delaware County Prison. On March 2, 1979 the matter was listed for status and continued until March 27, 1979 because no Governor's warrants had yet been received from New Jersey (Stip. 4).

 7. According to the letter from the New Jersey Governor's office, the Governor's warrants were sent to the Pennsylvania Governor on March 8, 1979 (Exhibit 7). At the hearing on March 27, 1979, the petitioner was not brought down once again, this time because he was a federal prisoner and the Governor's warrants were lodged in absentia. The fugitive charges against petitioner were dismissed and the matter continued until April 17, 1979 for a hearing on a habeas petition. The hearing of April 17, 1979 apparently never took place; there is no indication on the record why it was continued "for status" until May 23, 1979.

 8. On April 24, 1979 petitioner wrote a letter to Ms. Anne T. Manning, Assistant Deputy Public Defender, Camden, New Jersey, and asked why he was not brought to Camden for trial (Exhibit 45). Ms. Manning responded by letter dated May 2, 1979 and advised petitioner if he wished to come back to New Jersey he could proceed by filing under the Agreement (Exhibit 46).

 9. On May 9, 1979, petitioner again requested extradition when he appeared before Judge J. William Ditter, Jr., of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, in violation of probation charges (Cr.No. 76-47, Dkt.No. 22; see Ex. 3).

 10. On May 23, 1979 petitioner appeared before Judge Gafni who noted, "Governors Warrants are not contested by Defense. Defense requests immediate extradition. Defendant to be ordered extradited on 6/4/79. (Further investigation by C/W)." (Exhibit 8).

 11. On May 23 and May 24, 1979 petitioner was tried in Pennsylvania before The Hon. Charles Durham, Judge of the Court of Common Pleas and convicted. *fn2" At the conclusion of that trial, petitioner was slated for extradition to New Jersey (Exhibit 11).

 12. On June 4, 1979 petitioner's extradition to New Jersey was stayed at the request of the Governor of Pennsylvania; the matter was continued to July 13, 1979 (Exhibit 8). On July 7, 1979 petitioner was sentenced by Judge Durham on the Pennsylvania conviction (Exhibit 10). There is no record of disposition of the July 13, 1979 listing in Room 784 before Judge Gafni.

 13. On August 3, 1979 petitioner's federal violation of probation detainer was discharged and probation reimposed (Cr.No. 76-47, Dkt.Nos. 23 and 24).

 14. On August 8, 1979 petitioner again wrote to Ms. Anne T. Manning, his appointed lawyer for the New Jersey charges, and requested her to advise him of his options (Exhibit 47). She responded on August 15, 1979 and advised petitioner, "if you want to have the matter disposed of, you should request you be returned to New Jersey under the Interstate Agreement on Detainers. Ask the warden for the appropriate forms." (Exhibit 49) (Emphasis supplied). *fn3"

 16. Notwithstanding the erroneous information received from the Graterford officials, petitioner had actual knowledge of the outstanding New Jersey detainer from the prior proceedings. Thus, on August 20, 1979 petitioner wrote a letter addressed to "Prosecutor, Camden County" that he intended to assert his rights under N.J.S. 2A:159-A, Article III and demand a speedy trial. The letter stated where he was incarcerated, his term of sentence and his parole date. He wrote that his attorney, Anne T. Manning, advised him to make this request. However, no copy of this letter was ...


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