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BARRON M. SEYLER v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (05/16/86)

decided: May 16, 1986.

BARRON M. SEYLER, 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 case of Barron M. Seyler, Parole No. 7337-G.

COUNSEL

Frederick I. Huganir, Assistant Public Defender, for petitioner.

Arthur R. Thomas, Assistant Chief Counsel, with him, Robert A. Greevy, Chief Counsel, for respondent.

Judges Craig and Palladino, and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.

Author: Craig

[ 97 Pa. Commw. Page 303]

Barron Seyler petitions for review of an order of the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole denying him administrative relief from a board recommitment order. The board revoked the petitioner's parole because of two technical parole violations under section 21.1 of the Pennsylvania Board of Parole Act,*fn1 and the board accordingly returned the petitioner to prison to serve eighteen months' backtime.

On February 13, 1979, the board had granted the petitioner parole from a four-to-fifteen-year sentence which he had been serving for burglary, theft and criminal conspiracy.

On January 19, 1985, the West Cocalico Township Police arrested the petitioner on charges of assaulting his stepson. Also on that day, the board filed a warrant charging that the petitioner had violated parole condition 3(c) by failing to notify his parole officer within seventy-two hours of a change in employment status, and that he had violated parole condition 5(c) by failing to refrain from assaultive behavior. A district justice later dismissed the criminal charges against the petitioner.

[ 97 Pa. Commw. Page 304]

The board held a violation hearing on May 19, 1985. The petitioner conceded that he had failed to give his probation officer timely notice of his change in employment, but he insisted that he had refrained from engaging in any assaultive behavior. The board determined that the petitioner had violated both conditions and recommitted him for the multiple violations.

The issue is whether substantial evidence supports the board's determination that the petitioner had engaged in assaultive behavior.*fn2

The board based its decision on the parole officer's testimony and the petitioner's testimony. The parole officer testified that, during an interview on the day after his arrest, the petitioner admitted whipping his stepson with a belt and striking him across the face. The petitioner testified at the hearing that he spanked his stepson with a belt but not to the point of causing detrimental harm.

In Pennsylvania, parents may use corporal punishment in disciplining their children as long as the force used does not create a substantial risk of death, serious bodily injury, disfigurement, extreme pain or mental distress or gross degradation. 18 Pa. C.S. ยง 509(1). However, permissible corporal punishment becomes malicious abuse when the parent acts with malicious ...


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