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MATTER LAURA FIRSTER (03/11/83)

filed: March 11, 1983.

IN THE MATTER OF LAURA FIRSTER, A MINOR. APPEAL OF LAURA FIRSTER


COUNSEL

Carmela R.M. Presogna, Assistant Public Defender, Erie, for appellant.

Dana S. Jones, Assistant District Attorney, Erie, for participating party.

Cavanaugh, Brosky and Montgomery, JJ. Cavanaugh, J. concurs in result.

Author: Brosky

[ 311 Pa. Super. Page 166]

This appeal is from the denial of a juvenile's petition for release from detention. Appellant raises two issues. First, she argues that the statutory parameters for the sentencing of juveniles, as stated in 42 Pa.C.S.A. 6353(a), were not complied with. Second, she maintains that even if those statutory requirements were met, that they work a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. We hold that the statute in question was not followed and that the appellant should be released. It is, therefore, unnecessary for us to reach the constitutional issue.*fn1 We reverse.

The procedural history of this case is as follows. On February 26, 1981, appellant committed two thefts of retail goods.*fn2 The following July 13, she was found guilty by a District Magistrate on both counts of retail theft, a summary violation.*fn3 Her fines and costs amounted to $58 on the first violation and $78 on the second. Subsequent to a master's hearing, a dispositional hearing was held in the Court of Common Pleas. On September 29, 1981, that Court found her to be delinquent through failure to pay the fines. She was then placed "for an indefinite period of time" in Andromeda II, a juvenile treatment facility.

In early May of 1982, appellant ran away from that facility but was detained on May 10 of that year. On May

[ 311 Pa. Super. Page 16712]

, a master's hearing recommendation was made to the trial court that her confinement be continued. This recommendation was adopted by the trial court. On May 28, 1982, the petition for release and to close jurisdiction was denied. That same day, the Court ordered her placed in a Detention Center. By order of the court on June 10, 1982, she was removed to Vision Quest, another juvenile treatment program. Her confinement continues through the time of this appeal.

For our purposes here, three procedural facts are of particular importance. First, she was found to be delinquent by reason of her failure to pay a fine for a summary offense and was sentenced on September 29, 1981. Second, her petition for release was denied on May 28, 1982. Third, she remains in confinement.

A delinquent act is statutorily defined:

(2) The term shall not include: . . . (ii) summary offenses, unless the child fails to pay a ...


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