Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County in the case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Earl Howard Lyles, Jr., Nos. 1941-78, 1942-78, 1943-78, 1944-78, 1945-78, 1946-78, 1947-78, 1948-78, 4918-76 and 5083-73.
Carl Vaccaro, with him John T. Kalita, Jr., Deputy Attorney General, and LeRoy S. Zimmerman, Attorney General, for appellant.
Michael C. Shields, with him Morris Gerber, Gerber, Gerber & Shields, for appellee.
Judges Rogers, Craig and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail.
Earl Howard Lyles, Jr. (Appellee) escaped from the State Correctional Institution at Graterford (SCIG) in
November of 1977. When recaptured, Lyles sustained multiple gunshot wounds, as a result of which he is now a permanent paraplegic.
Subsequent to his recapture, Lyles was sentenced by Judge Honeyman, of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, to a term of twenty to forty years for a series of robberies. As part of the plea bargaining agreement reached between Lyles and the Commonwealth, and in recognition of the inability of SCIG to properly treat Lyles for his paraplegic condition, Judge Honeyman ordered that Lyles' sentences be served at a United States Government hospital*fn1 until such time as Lyles was considered sufficiently recovered, when he would then resume serving his sentences at a designated state correctional institution.
Numerous attempts were made to have Lyles placed in a United States Government hospital all met with failure. During this time, Lyles was confined in the hospital ward of SCIG. Lyles subsequently filed a "Petition for Modification of Sentence" under the provisions of Section 1 of the Act of May 31, 1919 (Act), P.L. 356, as amended, 61 P.S. § 81, in the Montgomery County court. That section reads, in pertinent part, as follows:
Whenever any convict or person is confined in any . . . penal institution, under conviction or sentence of a court, . . . and it is shown to a court of record by due proof that such convict or person is seriously ill, and that it is necessary that he or she be removed from such penal institution, the court shall have power to modify its sentence . . . and provide for the confinement or care of such convict or person in some other
suitable institution where proper treatment may be administered. Upon the recovery of such person, the court shall recommit him or her to the ...