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10/08/97 JOHN HOLLAWELL v. PENNSYLVANIA BOARD

October 8, 1997

JOHN HOLLAWELL, PETITIONER
v.
PENNSYLVANIA BOARD OF PROBATION AND PAROLE, RESPONDENT



Before: Honorable James Gardner Colins, President Judge, Honorable Bonnie Brigance Leadbetter, Judge, Honorable Jess S. Jiuliante, Senior Judge. Opinion BY Senior Judge Jiuliante.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Jiuliante

ORIGINAL JURISDICTION

OPINION BY

SENIOR JUDGE JIULIANTE

FILED: October 8, 1997

Before us for Disposition is the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole's (Board) preliminary objection in the nature of a demurrer to Petitioner John Hollawell's January 10, 1997 petition for mandamus. *fn1 In that petition, Petitioner requested that this Court compel the Board to 1) explain in detail how it concluded that he is a habitual offender; 2) clarify in specifics any treatment that Petitioner allegedly needs; and 3) describe how it concluded that Petitioner is in need of the alleged, but unspecified, treatment. For the following reasons, we sustain the preliminary objection.

This case raises the question of how much detail the Board must include in a parole refusal decision. Section 22 of what is commonly called the Pennsylvania Board of Parole Act (Act) provides that "whenever an application for parole is refused by the board, a brief statement of the reasons for the board's action shall be filed of record in the offices of the board. . . ." Act of August 6, 1941, P.L. 861, as amended, added by the Act of August 24, 1951, P.L. 1401, as amended, 61 P.S. § 331.22. Here, in a December 17, 1996 notice, the Board set forth the following reasons for denying Petitioner's application for parole:

REFUSE.

HABITUAL OFFENDER.

YOUR NEED FOR TREATMENT.

UNFAVORABLE RECOMMENDATION FROM THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY.

(Board's Brief, Appendix "A.")

Petitioner argues that he is not attempting to attack the refusal of his parole, which is prohibited under Reider v. Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, 100 Pa. Commw. 333, 514 A.2d 967 (Pa. Commw. 1986), but instead, is merely "requesting answers and/or an explanation to the ambiguous and disingenuous/untruthful statements contained on green sheets" and "attempting to secure information to gain parole in the future." (Petitioner's Brief in Opposition to the Board's Preliminary Objections at 3.) In essence, we interpret Petitioner's petition for mandamus as a challenge to the sufficiency of the Board's decision refusing his parole.

After reviewing the facts as averred, we conclude that no relief is possible. As we noted in Weaver v. Pennsylvania Board of Probation and ...


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