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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. DANIEL J. JORASKIE (01/09/87)

filed: January 9, 1987.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLEE,
v.
DANIEL J. JORASKIE, APPELLANT



Appeal from Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Northumberland County, Nos. CR 84-321; 84-301; 84-381.

COUNSEL

Michael D. Suders, Assistant Public Defender, Milton, for appellant.

Wieand, Olszewski and Cercone, JJ.

Author: Wieand

[ 360 Pa. Super. Page 98]

The issue in this appeal is whether a revocation of parole can be based solely on an unproved urinalysis report suggesting the presence of cannabinoids (marijuana) in the urine of the parolee. The trial court allowed the unproved report to be received and, without further evidence, revoked appellant's parole. We reverse.

After entering pleas of guilty to two counts of writing bad checks and one count of forgery, Daniel Joraskie was sentenced to serve concurrent terms of imprisonment for not less than six months nor more than twenty-three months. Joraskie was released on parole on July 22, 1985. On March 25, 1986, a petition to revoke parole was filed, and a hearing thereon was held on April 3, 1986. Joraskie's parole officer testified to obtaining a sample of Joraskie's urine and then produced a urinalysis report prepared by the

[ 360 Pa. Super. Page 99]

Regional Clinical Laboratory of Northwestern Pennsylvania. The chemist or other person who had made the analysis and prepared the report did not appear in person or by deposition. The written report, showing the presence of cannabinoids, was received in evidence over objection by Joraskie's counsel. Joraskie testified in defense and denied that he had used marijuana during the period of his parole. The hearing court, on this state of the record, revoked parole and ordered that Joraskie be re-committed to prison. Joraskie appealed.

In Commonwealth v. Maye, 270 Pa. Super. 406, 411 A.2d 783 (1979), a panel of this Court, per the late Judge Price, reviewed the applicable law and summarized it as follows:

A parole revocation hearing is not a formal procedure that must be conducted in strict accordance with the entire gamut of evidentiary and procedural rules necessary in a criminal trial. Commonwealth v. Kates, 452 Pa. 102, 305 A.2d 701 (1973); Commonwealth v. Rossetti, 255 Pa. Super. 524, 388 A.2d 1090 (1973); Commonwealth v. Tomczak, 252 Pa. Super. 114, 381 A.2d 140 (1977); Commonwealth v. Quinlan, 251 Pa. Super. 428, 380 A.2d 854 (1977). Nonetheless such a hearing must comport with certain minimum due process standards enunciated by the United States Supreme Court in Morrissey v. Brewer, 408 U.S. 471, 92 S.Ct. 2593, 33 L.Ed.2d 484 (1972). Among these requirements is the "right [of the probationer] to confront and cross-examine adverse witnesses (unless the hearing officer specifically finds good cause for not allowing confrontation); . . . ." Id. at 489, 92 S.Ct. at 2604. We have noted the necessity for this type of confrontation on several previous occasions. See Commonwealth v. Rossetti, supra; Commonwealth v. Riley, 253 Pa. Super. 260, 384 A.2d 1333 (1978); Commonwealth v. Ball, 235 Pa. Super. 581, 344 A.2d 675 (1975); Commonwealth v. Davis, 234 Pa. Super. 31, 336 A.2d 616 (1975).

Id., 270 Pa. Superior Ct. at 410, 411 A.2d at 785.

Although this Court has not heretofore been asked to review the precise issue presented by ...


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