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JOHN CLAIR LANTZY v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (05/31/84)

decide: May 31, 1984.

JOHN CLAIR LANTZY, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, PENNSYLVANIA BOARD OF PROBATION AND PAROLE, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole in the case of Re: John Clair Lantzy, SCIP No. K-3392, Parole No. 5842-G.

COUNSEL

M. Jay Earley, for petitioner.

Arthur R. Thomas, Assistant Chief Counsel, with him, Robert A. Greevy, Chief Counsel, Jay C. Waldman, General Counsel, and LeRoy S. Zimmerman, Attorney General, for respondent.

Judges Williams, Jr., Doyle and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Williams, Jr.

Author: Williams

[ 82 Pa. Commw. Page 627]

John Clair Lantzy (petitioner) petitions for review*fn1 of an order of the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole (Board) dated December 17, 1982 which denied administrative relief from a Board recommitment order revoking his parole and recommitting him as a technical parole violator to serve backtime.*fn2 Petitioner alleges that the Board denied him due process of law when it accepted hearsay testimony at his violation hearing despite his objections which

[ 82 Pa. Commw. Page 628]

    denied him the right to confront and cross-examine adverse witnesses. Petitioner also alleges the Board based its recommitment order on such hearsay evidence which constitutes a further violation of due process.

Petitioner was paroled by the Board on June 18, 1982 from the State Correctional Institution at Pittsburgh (SCI-Pittsburgh) on concurrent sentences imposed by the Courts of Common Pleas of Venango and Clearfield Counties. The longest of those sentences had a maximum term expiration date of May 1988. Petitioner was paroled to the Pittsburgh parole district.*fn3

On June 26, 1982, petitioner was arrested by Pennsylvania State Police in Indiana County.*fn4 At the time of his arrest, arresting officers found a sawed-off shotgun in the vehicle in which petitioner was riding and several live shotgun shells were confiscated from petitioner. The officers observed an open quart-bottle of beer in the vehicle; and noted petitioner's breath smelled of alcohol, that petitioner's speech was slurred, and that petitioner had difficulty walking. Petitioner was charged with violating the Uniform Firearms Act*fn5 and confined in Indiana County Prison. The Board lodged its warrant against petitioner on June 30, 1982 charging him with technical parole violations.

A Violation Hearing was held before a Board hearing examiner on September 29, 1982 at the Indiana County Prison. Petitioner was represented by counsel who duly objected to the hearsay evidence attributed

[ 82 Pa. Commw. Page 629]

    to Parole Agent Hasak and Pennsylvania State Trooper John Sokol who were not present at the hearing. The examiner found good cause for the absence of Trooper Sokol and Agent Hasak and received the evidence over defense counsel's objection. Also testifying was Pennsylvania State Police Lieutenant Glen Walp who was present at petitioner's June 26, 1982 arrest. On October 18, 1982 the Board recorded an order recommitting petitioner to serve fifteen months for violating general parole conditions 1 and 5B*fn6 and nine months for violating special parole condition 6*fn7 for a total of twenty-four ...


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