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JAMES KNIGHT v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (06/10/86)

decided: June 10, 1986.

JAMES KNIGHT, 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 James Knight, dated October 19, 1985.

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

[ 98 Pa. Commw. Page 89]

James Knight has appealed from an order of the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole denying his request for administrative relief from a board decision of September 27, 1985, which recommitted him as a technical parole violator to serve 18 months backtime for violation of the two provisions of Special Condition No. 6 applied to his June, 1984 parole, requiring him (1) to abstain from the consumption of alcohol and (2) to stay away from the Hamilton Mall in Allentown during the "late" evening hours.

The record shows that, on August 25, 1984, during Mr. Knight's parole period, the police arrested him for public drunkenness, disorderly conduct and loitering at the Hamilton Mall in Allentown between 10:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m.

With respect to the matter of consuming alcohol, although the evidence is strongly controverted, the board, as the arbiter of credibility, was entitled to believe police testimony that Mr. Knight was intoxicated and to disbelieve the contrary testimony.

With respect to the prohibition against being at the designated mall during "late" evening hours, the issue is whether that condition is unworkably vague and therefore violative of constitutional due process.

A requirement cannot be so vague that men of common intelligence must guess at its meaning. City of Chester v. Elam, 408 Pa. 350, 184 A.2d 257 (1962).

This court cannot arrive at any sure or workable meaning with respect to the injunction as to "late" hours. Many persons could well consider the evening hours between 10:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. not to be late hours, as compared, perhaps, to the post-midnight

[ 98 Pa. Commw. Page 90]

    hours. This court cannot and should not strain to read meaning into such a vague description when the parole authorities easily could have specified a ...


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