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COUNTY ALLEGHENY AND PRISON BOARD ALLEGHENY COUNTY v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (07/28/88)

decided: July 28, 1988.

THE COUNTY OF ALLEGHENY AND THE PRISON BOARD OF ALLEGHENY COUNTY, AND THE CITY OF PITTSBURGH, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION
v.
THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA; THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS; DAVID S. OWENS, JR. COMMISSIONER DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS; AND ERSKIND DERAMUS, DEPUTY COMMISSIONER, DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS; AND THE PENNSYLVANIA BOARD OF PROBATION AND PAROLE, FRED W. JACOBS, CHAIRMAN. APPEAL OF THE COUNTY OF ALLEGHENY AND THE PRISON BOARD OF ALLEGHENY COUNTY, AND THE CITY OF PITTSBURGH, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION



Appeal from the Order of the Commonwealth Court Dated January 20, 1988, at No. 2492 C.D. 1987. Pa. Commonwealth Ct. , A.2d (19 ) (Unreported Opinion).

COUNSEL

James J. Dodaro, County Sol., George C. Diamantopulos, Asst. County Sol. Allegheny County Law Dept., Pittsburgh, for appellants.

Francis R. Filipi, Sr. Deputy Atty. Gen., for appellees.

Nix, C.j., and Flaherty, Papadakos and Stout, JJ. Larsen, McDermott and Zappala, JJ., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case.

Author: Papadakos

[ 518 Pa. Page 557]

Opinion OF THE COURT

This is an appeal from an Order of the Commonwealth Court dated January 20, 1988 denying the motion of the County of Allegheny, the Prison Board of Allegheny County, and the City of Pittsburgh, Appellants, requesting preliminary mandatory injunctive relief requiring the Pennsylvania

[ 518 Pa. Page 558]

Department of Corrections (Department) and the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole (Board) to accept custody of state-sentenced inmates who were sentenced to serve terms of 11 1/2 to 23 months from the County Jail to the State Correctional Institution at Mercer (Mercer). We hear this matter as a direct appeal pursuant to 42 Pa.C.S. § 723(a), 42 Pa.C.S. § 5105, and Pa. Rule of Appellate Procedure 311(a)(4). This appeal is just another part of ongoing litigation between the County and the State on the issue of who bears the primary responsibility for state prisoners. The issue before this Court is simply whether or not the Commonwealth Court erred in denying Appellants' motion for a preliminary mandatory injunction. For the reasons set forth herein, we conclude that there was no error committed by the Commonwealth Court in denying the injunction.

This action was initiated in the Commonwealth Court pursuant to a Petition for Review by the Appellants seeking relief in mandamus to compel the transfer of inmates from the Allegheny County Jail to State Correctional facilities to ease overcrowding at the County Jail, and in equity requesting that the Department be permanently enjoined from refusing to accept state-sentenced inmates from the County Jail for transfer to state facilities and seeking damages in the amount of $329,947.04 for maintenance of approximately eighty (80) inmates from July 1, 1986 through July 9, 1987, and requesting reimbursement of maintenance expenses on a continuing basis from July 9, 1987 forward. Section § 72*fn1 of the Code on Penal Institutions provides discretionary authority for the transfer of inmates from county to state facilities to alleviate overcrowded conditions upon a petition being presented to the Deputy Commissioner by an official in charge of a county institution, and an order for transfer being issued by the Commissioner with the consent of the Court of Common Pleas of the county wherein the institution is located. 61 P.S. § 72. The County had filed such petition requesting authorization to transfer

[ 518 Pa. Page 559]

    approximately eighty (80) inmates who were sentenced by common pleas judges to serve terms of 11 1/2 to 23 months at Mercer. The Department refused to authorize the transfer and the County filed the petition for review.

An evidentiary hearing was held on December 3, 1987, after which the Honorable James Crumlish, Jr., President Judge, denied the injunction. The County appealed to this Court and, by order dated March 21, 1988, we remanded to the Commonwealth Court to conduct an evidentiary hearing and make findings of fact relating to the questions of the taxing authority of the County to raise revenue for the construction of prisons and the availability of current resources for this purpose. A hearing was held on April 26, 1988, before the Honorable Emil E. Narick, Senior Judge. All parties participated and were afforded full opportunity to be heard, to examine and cross-examine witnesses, and to introduce relevant evidence on the stated issues. Judge Narick made 57 specific findings ...


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