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JEROME LAWSON v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (04/24/87)

decided: April 24, 1987.

JEROME LAWSON, 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 Jerome Lawson, Parole No. 3875-M, dated August 25, 1986.

COUNSEL

Lester G. Nauhaus, Public Defender, with him, John H. Corbett, Jr., Chief-Appellant Division, and Melaine S. Rothey, Appellant Counsel, 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 Senior Judge Barbieri.

Author: Barbieri

[ 105 Pa. Commw. Page 428]

In this parole revocation appeal, Petitioner, Jerome Lawson, appeals here an order of the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole (Board) denying him administrative relief from a Board parole revocation order. That revocation order revoked his parole as a technical parole violator and recommitted him to prison to serve the entire remaining balance of his unexpired term. We modify and affirm.

Lawson was initially sentenced to a term of five to ten years by the Court of Common Pleas of Beaver County as a result of his conviction for Rape*fn1 and Simple Assault.*fn2 The Board last paroled him on this sentence on March 20, 1985, at which time he was released

[ 105 Pa. Commw. Page 429]

    from the State Correctional Institution at Huntingdon (SCI-Huntingdon) to a plan in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania.

On March 6, 1986, Lawson turned himself into the Aliquippa Police at which time he was arrested as a parole violator and confined in the Beaver County Jail. The Board charged him with violating several conditions of his parole.*fn3 A parole Violation Hearing was held before a board hearing examiner on June 3, 1986, at the Beaver County Jail. As a result of that hearing, on July 2, 1986, the Board recorded an order revoking his parole and recommitted him to serve the balance of his unexpired term. A petition for administrative relief was filed pursuant to 37 Pa. Code § 71.5(h) which was denied by the Board on August 25, 1986. He then filed a petition for review with this Court, pro se. As he was confined in the Western Diagnostic and Classification Center at SCI-Pittsburgh at that time, we appointed the Public Defender of Allegheny County to represent him in this appeal. See Section 6(a)(10) of the Public Defender Act, Act of December 2, 1968, P.L. 1144, as amended, 16 P.S. § 9960.6(a)(10); Brewer v. Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, 90 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 75, 494 A.2d 36 (1985); Passaro v. Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, 56 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 32, 424 A.2d 561 (1981) (en banc). The public defender then filed an amended petition for review on Lawson's behalf

[ 105 Pa. Commw. Page 430]

We also recognize that the recomputed maximum term expiration date of Lawson's sentence, March 16, 1987, has since expired. While the expiration of a parolee's maximum term would otherwise render an appeal of a Board parole revocation order moot, we shall proceed to decide the case on the merits on the basis of the importance of the issue of fines, costs and restitution and that of the imposition of backtime, since it is our belief that these issues are of great public importance and capable of repetition. Commonwealth v. Smith, 336 Pa. Superior Ct. 636, 486 A.2d 445 (1984); Carthon v. Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, 99 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 147, 512 A.2d 799 (1986); Appeal of Union Electric Contracting Co., 39 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 584, 396 A.2d 862 (1979).

In this appeal, Lawson contends that (1) the Board's finding he violated 37 Pa. Code § 63.4(3)(ii) is unsupported by substantial evidence; and (2) the Board's finding that he violated Special Condition 6 of his parole by failing to pay fines and costs is unsupported by substantial evidence. We shall address these issues in the order stated, cognizant, of course, that our limited scope of review under Section 704 of the Administrative Agency Law, 2 Pa. C.S. § 704, requires this Court to affirm the Board unless necessary findings are unsupported by substantial evidence, an error of law committed, ...


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