IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
February 11, 2009
PHILMINGO JAMISON, PETITIONER
EDWARD KLEM AND DISTRICT ATTORNEY OF YORK COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA, RESPONDENTS
The opinion of the court was delivered by: (Judge Conner)
ORDER AND AMENDED CONDITIONAL WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS
AND NOW, this 11th day of February, 2009, upon consideration of petitioner's motion (Doc. 46) to convert the conditional writ of habeas corpus (Doc. 36) into an absolute writ requiring petitioner's immediate release, and of respondents' brief in opposition thereto (Doc. 48), requesting that the court extend the time period for compliance with the conditional writ and establish a deadline for bringing petitioner to trial, (see id. at 4), and it appearing that the conditional writ required respondents to either release petitioner or allow him to withdraw his guilty plea on or before December 22, 2008, (see Doc. 36), that respondents neglected to comply with the writ due to administrative failings within the Office of the District Attorney for York County, Pennsylvania,*fn1 (see Doc. 38; Doc. 48 at 2), and that, upon realizing the mistake, respondents immediately arranged to execute the provisions thereof, (see Doc. 48 at 3),*fn2 and the court concluding that, "so long as its actions are reasonable under the circumstances, a district court has the authority to alter the time period it originally sets for retrial to commence pursuant to a grant of conditional habeas relief," see Gibbs v. Frank, 500 F.3d 202, 207 (3d Cir. 2007), and that "[t]he broad discretion inherent in a district court's habeas powers include[s] the ability to evaluate whether the Commonwealth has provided a legitimate reason for its delay in retrying a defendant subject to conditional habeas relief", id. at 208; accord Gilmore v. Bertrand, 301 F.3d 581, 582-83 (7th Cir. 2002) ("[T]he equitable power of the district court in deciding a habeas corpus petition includes the ability to grant the state additional time beyond the period prescribed in a conditional writ to cure a constitutional deficiency."), and the court determining that respondents immediately undertook efforts to implement the conditional writ upon receiving notice of their non-compliance, (see, e.g., Doc. 40 ¶¶ 2-4), that they scheduled a hearing to allow petitioner to withdraw his guilty plea as quickly as practicable upon receiving such notice,*fn3 that petitioner has suffered no prejudice as a result of respondents' delay because he is currently incarcerated for a conviction unrelated to the instant matter and has not yet begun serving the sentence affected by the conditional writ,*fn4 and that respondents have not contributed to the delay in bad faith,*fn5*fn6 it is hereby ORDERED that:
1. Petitioner's motion (Doc. 46) to convert the conditional writ of habeas corpus into an absolute writ of habeas corpus is DENIED.
2. Respondents' brief in opposition (Doc. 48) to petitioner's motion is CONSTRUED as a motion to extend the time period within which respondents may comply with the conditional writ of habeas corpus and to establish a deadline for commencement of trial and is GRANTED as so construed.
3. The conditional writ of habeas corpus (Doc. 36) is AMENDED as follows:
a. The time period for respondents to either release petitioner or allow him to withdraw his guilty plea is EXTENDED until February 25, 2009.
b. In the event that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania elects to proceed with retrial of petitioner, trial shall commence no later than April 10, 2009.*fn7
CHRISTOPHER C. CONNER United States District Judge