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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. ROBERT A. SMITH (08/15/84)

submitted: August 15, 1984.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
ROBERT A. SMITH, APPELLANT



No. 146 Harrisburg 1983, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Lebanon County at No. 226-1979.

COUNSEL

Robert A. Smith, in propria persona.

Daniel J. McDevitt, Assistant District Attorney, Lebanon, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Wickersham, Johnson and Hoffman, JJ.

Author: Per Curiam

[ 336 Pa. Super. Page 638]

Appellant, Robert A. Smith, appeals pro se from the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lebanon County dismissing his petition for writ of habeas corpus.

Appellant was charged with robbery and criminal conspiracy in April of 1979. He pleaded guilty on June 27, 1979 as part as a plea bargain. He was subsequently sentenced to concurrent sentences of one (1) to three (3) years imprisonment at Lebanon County Prison, and to pay costs, $500.00 in fines, and restitution of $371.00 to Giant Foods, the site of the robbery. At some point, which is unclear from the record, appellant was recommitted to the Lebanon County Prison by the State Parole Board for various infractions of his parole, with a new maximum to January 13, 1984.

On February 22, 1983, appellant filed a pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus against Robert Raiger, the Warden

[ 336 Pa. Super. Page 639]

    of the Lebanon County Prison.*fn1 Basically, appellant alleged a violation of the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment, in that he lacked access to an adequate law library. Following a hearing on February 25, 1983, at which an attorney from the Public Defender's Office was present, appellant's petition was refused. On March 4, 1983, appellant filed another pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus, this time concerning his pre-release status. This petition was likewise refused three days later. On March 25, 1983, appellant filed this timely appeal from the February 25, 1983 order.

Appellant asks us to determine whether he is entitled to relief due to the lack of an adequate law library.*fn2 However, presently before us is the Commonwealth's motion to dismiss the appeal. The Commonwealth contends that this appeal has been rendered moot by the fact that appellant is no longer a prisoner at the Lebanon County Prison and thus no longer suffers from the alleged lack of an adequate law library.*fn3

The general rule is that an actual case or controversy must exist at all stages of appellate review. DeFunis v. Odegaard, 416 U.S. 312, 94 S.Ct. 1704, 40 L.Ed.2d 164 (1974); Roe ...


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