The Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole was not divested of jurisdiction to recommit a convicted parole violator when it failed to declare the parolee delinquent before the expiration of his original sentence, the Commonwealth Court held in Price v. Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, __ A.3d __ (No. 918 C.D. 2014, filed May 20, 2015). The parolee in this case, Clyde Price, Jr., was charged with DUI on April 29, 2012, while he was on parole. On October 1, 2012, Price was released from the Board’s warrant upon reaching his maximum sentence date. On July 31, 2013, Price was convicted of the DUI offenses and sentenced to a term of imprisonment. In a final decision dated January 6, 2014, the Board recommitted Price as a convicted parole violator to serve 12 months of backtime with a new parole violation maximum date of November 29, 2016. Price’s administrative appeal was denied and he petitioned for the Commonwealth Court’s review.
Price’s primary issue on appeal was that the Board’s failure to declare him delinquent before his original sentence expired divested the Board of jurisdiction to recommit him and extend his maximum parole date. The Commonwealth Court panel, through Judge Brobson, disagreed. The Court rejected Price’s narrow reading of two of its prior decisions to mean that the Board must take some action before a parolee’s sentence expires in order to retain jurisdiction. Just because the Board took such action in prior cases does not mean that it was necessary. The unanimous appellate panel emphasized the plain language of Section 6138(a)(1) of the Prisons and Parole Code, 61 Pa. C.S. §6138(a)(1), which vests the Board with jurisdiction to recommit a parolee “who, during the period of parole … commits a crime punishable by imprisonment, for which the parolee is convicted … at any time thereafter in a court of record.” Thus, the Board can recommit and recompute the sentence of a parolee who commits a crime while on parole but is not convicted until after his original sentence would have expired.