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CAROL STROTHERS v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (03/01/89)

decided: March 1, 1989.

CAROL STROTHERS, 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 the case of Carol Strothers, Parole No. 3181S, dated April 6, 1988.

COUNSEL

Deborah A. Weinman, Assistant Public Defender, for petitioner.

No appearance for respondent.

Judges Craig and Palladino, and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.

Author: Craig

[ 124 Pa. Commw. Page 2]

In this parole revocation appeal, we must determine whether the appeal of the petitioner, Carol Strothers, is so wholly frivolous that we may grant her appointed counsel leave to withdraw. Strothers appealed an order of the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole that recommitted her to serve twelve months backtime as a convicted parole violator. Counsel's petition for leave to withdraw is before the court at this time.

Strothers received a one-to-four-year sentence for her convictions for retail theft and criminal conspiracy. While on parole for those convictions, Strothers was arrested and later convicted for criminal acts including retail theft, prostitution, and criminal conspiracy. The board ordered Strothers to serve a total of sixteen months backtime for her violations.*fn1 Strothers sought administrative relief on

[ 124 Pa. Commw. Page 3]

May 17, 1988 and filed an amended request for relief on May 20, 1988. The board denied relief on June 28, 1988.

Strothers does not claim that the amount of backtime the board ordered is not within the presumptive range the board may order in its discretion, but Strothers appears to claim that the amount of backtime is harsh because mitigating factors exist. These factors include the fact that Strothers remained drug free while on parole, that she is the mother of a three-year-old child, that her mother has cancer, and that she claims to have committed the parole violations only to obtain money to support her family.

In reviewing an application for leave to withdraw, this court must make an independent evaluation of the proceedings before the board to determine whether the petitioner's appeal is wholly frivolous. Stevens v. Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, 114 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 1, 538 A.2d 108 (1988).

Additionally, counsel must have satisfied the technical requirements set out in Craig v. Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, 93 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 586, 502 A.2d 758 (1985). Craig requires counsel to notify the petitioner of her request to withdraw, to furnish the petitioner with a copy of her brief, and to advise the petitioner of her right to retain new counsel or raise any points that she might deem worthy of consideration. Craig, 93 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. at 592-93, ...


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