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THOMAS PIERCE v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (05/21/87)

decided: May 21, 1987.

THOMAS PIERCE, 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 Thomas Pierce, dated June 19, 1986.

COUNSEL

Charles J. Kroboth, Jr., 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

[ 106 Pa. Commw. Page 296]

Thomas Pierce (Petitioner) appeals from a denial by the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole (Board) of administrative relief from its order recommitting Petitioner to serve eighteen months backtime. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.

On October 19, 1979, Petitioner was released on parole after having served one year of a one-to-six year sentence on seven counts of forgery.*fn1

On June 27, 1983, Petitioner was arrested on charges of forgery, theft by deception,*fn2 receiving stolen property*fn3 and bad checks.*fn4 The Board lodged a detainer, and Petitioner requested that his revocation hearing be continued pending disposition of the criminal charges against him and sentencing, if convicted. Petitioner was convicted of forgery, receiving stolen property and bad checks and eventually sentenced on

[ 106 Pa. Commw. Page 297]

January 13, 1986.*fn5 On March 4, 1986, the Board conducted a full hearing on Petitioner's criminal parole violations at which Petitioner was represented by a different counsel than in the present appeal. Following the hearing, the Board revoked Petitioner's parole and recommitted him to serve eighteen (18) months backtime. Petitioner's request for administrative relief was denied, and this appeal followed.

Petitioner contends: (1) that his revocation hearing was untimely; (2) that the evidence presented at the hearing failed to establish that parole had ceased to be an effective vehicle of rehabilitation; (3) that he was denied effective assistance of counsel at the hearing; and (4) that the amount of backtime imposed was excessive.

Our scope of review for Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole denials of administrative relief is limited to whether the Board has committed an error of law, whether its factual findings are supported by substantial evidence, and whether there has been any violation of constitutional rights. Seyler v. Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, 97 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 302, 509 A.2d 438 (1986).

37 Pa. Code ยง 71.4(2) requires the Board to hold a parole revocation hearing within 120 days of Board notification of a guilty verdict on criminal charges against a parolee. Section 71.5(i)(2) of the Code excludes from the 120-day period any delay attributable to continuances granted at the request of the defendant. In the present matter, Petitioner ...


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