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ARTHUR KEASTEAD v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (08/21/86)

decided: August 21, 1986.

ARTHUR KEASTEAD, 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 Arthur Keastead, Parole No. 0985-K, dated October 28, 1985.

COUNSEL

Steven B. Molder, 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 Palladino.

Author: Palladino

[ 100 Pa. Commw. Page 85]

This is an appeal by Arthur Keastead (Petitioner) from a denial of his request for Administrative Relief by the Board of Probation and Parole (Board). We affirm.

Petitioner was paroled on November 23, 1983 from a sentence of one and one-half to three years (minimum date of October 4, 1984 and a maximum date of April 4, 1986). On March 18, 1985 while in Petitioner's apartment, his parole officer observed nunchakus in the pocket of Petitioner's jacket.*fn1 As a result Petitioner was charged with a violation of parole condition 5(b), which required that Petitioner refrain from owning or possessing any firearms or other weapons. See 37 Pa. Code § 63.4(5)(ii). Thereafter, on April 19, 1985, Petitioner was notified by his parole officer to report on April 24, 1985 at 3:00 p.m. to a specified neighborhood center in Easton, Pennsylvania. Petitioner was again reminded (by his officer, in person) on April 24, 1985 that they were to meet at the center, that same day. Petitioner failed to report as instructed, thus violating condition 3(a) of his parole which required Petitioner to maintain regular contact with the parole supervision staff by: reporting regularly as instructed. See 37 Pa. Code § 63.4(3)(i).

Pursuant to a parole revocation hearing held on July 17, 1985 at the Northampton County Prison, Petitioner

[ 100 Pa. Commw. Page 86]

    was recommitted as a technical parole violator to serve an unexpired term of ten months and twenty-eight days. This is an appeal by Petitioner following a denial of administrative relief from the Board.

The Board has been granted great discretion by the legislature in matters concerning parole. Barlip v. Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, 45 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 458, 405 A.2d 1338 (1979). Absent a violation of constitutional rights or a showing of arbitrary and capricious disregard for the fact-finding process, this Court will not interfere with the Board's determination. Bradshaw v. Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, 75 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 90, 461 A.2d 342 (1983).

Petitioner first alleges that because he knew that the purpose for meeting with his officer on April 24, 1985 was to detain and rearrest him, he had a right to disobey the instructions of his parole officer in order to speak with his lawyer. We disagree.

An inmate does not have a right to parole. He has "no constitutional right to be released prior to the expiration of a valid sentence". Barlip v. Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, 45 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 458, 462, 405 A.2d 1338, 1340 (1979). Rather parole is a matter of grace and mercy shown by the Commonwealth to a convict who has demonstrated his ability to function as a law abiding member of society. Bradshaw v. Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, 75 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 90, 461 A.2d 342 (1983). Furthermore, it is consistent with the purpose of ...


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