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Casper v. Ryan

filed: June 26, 1987.


Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, D.C. Civil No. 85-6642.

Author: Sloviter

Before: HIGGINBOTHAM, SLOVITER, Circuit Judges, and ROTH, District Judge*fn*


SLOVITER, Circuit Judge.

Steven Casper appeals from the district court's denial of his petition for a writ of habeas corpus. Casper contends that he was improperly tried for theft and criminal conspiracy in Pennsylvania because Pennsylvania violated Article III(a) of the Interstate Agreement on Detainers (IAD),*fn1 which requires that a prisoner be tried on outstanding criminal charges within 180 days of his request to be tried, and Article V(c) of that Agreement, which requires that the indictment be dismissed with prejudice if the trial is not commenced within that time.



Casper was arrested on May 31, 1980 in Philadelphia for burglary and related charges. Before trial, Casper jumped bail and fled to Florida where he was arrested on two counts of burglary. On July 22, 1980, the Philadelphia District Attorney's office lodged detainers in Florida against Casper.

On December 2 and December 8, 1980, Casper was sentenced in Florida on the two burglary charges. At the December 8 hearing. Casper entered a plea agreement which provided that the Florida sentence would be concurrent with any sentence imposed on charges then outstanding against him in Pennsylvania and that he would waive extradition and return to Pennsylvania. App. at 35.

On December 11, 1980, the Philadelphia District Attorney initiated proceedings to secure the return of Casper so that he could stand trial pursuant to Article IV(a) of the IAD. That Article entitles a prosecutor in a jurisdiction in which an untried indictment, information, or complaint is pending "to have a prisoner against whom he has lodged a detainer and who is serving a term of imprisonment in any party State" made available upon presentation of a written request for temporary custody or availability to the appropriate authorities of the State in which the prisoner is incarcerated, provided that the relevant court in the requesting state approves, and subject to a thirty day period for the Governor of the sending state to disapprove. IAD Form 5 is the "Request for Temporary Custody" sent by the authorities of the requesting jurisdiction to the authorities of the jurisdiction where the prisoner is in custody.*fn2

Article IV(b) of the IAD provides that upon receiving the request for temporary custody, the authorities having the prisoner in custody shall furnish the requesting authority with a certificate containing information regarding the prisoner's sentence, time served and remaining to be served, good time, parole eligibility, and decisions of the state parole agency. Form 3, entitled "Certificate of Inmate Status", effectuates this provision. The custodial authorities also complete and send the requesting authorities Form 4, an "Offer to Deliver Temporary Custody," which requires the inmate's signature and contains the offer of the custodial state to deliver temporary custody of the prisoner for trial. See App. at 122, 121. The custodial authorities must also furnish similar certificates and notice to the other authorities in the receiving state who have lodged detainers against the prisoner.

Under Article III(c), when a detainer is lodged against a prisoner, the custodial official must inform the prisoner of the detainer and of the prisoner's right to request a final disposition of charges on which the detainer is based. Form 1 is used for this purpose. Article III(a) gives the prisoner the right to request a final disposition of the untried charges, which the prisoner can initiate by sending Form 2, the "Inmate's Notice of Place of Imprisonment and Request for Disposition of Indictments, Informations, or Complaints," which contains a waiver of extradition.

Article III(a) of the IAD requires that the request of the prisoner for final disposition "shall be accompanied by a certificate of the appropriate official having custody of the prisoner, stating the term of commitment under which the prisoner is being held, the time already served, the time remaining to be served on the sentence, the amount of good time earned, the time of parole eligibility of the prisoner, and any decision of the State parole agency relating to the prisoner," which is the same language used in Article IV(b) to describe the information needed. Forms 3 and 4, which are used when proceedings have been initiated by the prosecutor from another jurisdiction under Article IV, must also be attached to Form 2, used when an inmate requests disposition under Article III.

When the prosecution initiates the return of the prisoner for trial under Article IV, the trial must begin within 120 days of the prisoner's return to the receiving state. In contrast, when the prisoner initiates his or her return under Article III, trial must begin within 180 days after the receiving authorities receive the prisoner's request for trial.

In Casper's case, the first relevant date is December 11, 1980 when Philadelphia initiated the proceedings by sending a request for temporary custody to Florida. Although the Florida authorities completed the responsive forms (3 and 4) by December 19, 1980, App. at 122, 121, they were not then sent to Philadelphia. The Florida authorities also prepared a notification of detainer and rights (Form 1) which was delivered to Casper on February 25, 1981. App. at 123.

Casper then wrote a letter dated February 27, 1981, which was notarized, stating that he wished to return to Pennsylvania to dispose of all charges. App. at 124. This letter, addressed to "Philadelphia City Hall", was received in the Philadelphia District Attorney's office on March 12, 1981. Since Casper's letter did not include a Form 3, the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office was not provided at this time with the information regarding time served, parole status etc., which the statute provides must accompany the prisoner's request for disposition of outstanding charges.

Montgomery County, Pennsylvania had burglary charges pending against Casper, and on March 9, 1981 it also sent a Form 5 to Florida requesting temporary custody. App. at 125. In response, the Florida authorities completed the Certificate of Inmate Status (Form 3) and the Offer to Deliver Temporary Custody (Form 4) on March 24, 1981. App. at 126, 127. On March 27, 1981, Casper completed what was apparently his first Form 2 request for disposition of outstanding indictments, informations or complaints. App. at 128. These forms were not transmitted to either the Philadelphia or Montgomery County prosecutors at that time.

Upon receipt of Casper's letter on March 12, 1981, Richard DiBenedetto, the Philadelphia Deputy District Attorney for Intergovernmental Affairs, telephoned the Florida correctional facility where Casper was imprisoned asking about Florida's offer to deliver custody, and was told that Casper could not be sent to Philadelphia until authorization was received from Charles Lawson, the Florida Interstate Compacts Administrator. App. at 94. On March 27, 1981, Lawson told DiBenedetto that inmates were not being sent until procedures had been instituted for pretransfer hearings for prisoners who did not waive extradition, as required by a recent Supreme Court decision. App. at 95; see Cuyler v. Adams, 449 U.S. 433, 66 L. Ed. 2d 641, 101 S. Ct. 703 (1981).

On April 16, 1981, Lawson wrote to DiBenedetto that Casper refused to waive extradition for Montgomery County and "is not interested in being transported to Pennsylvania at this time under the Agreement on Detainers."*fn3 By that time, Casper had written to Philadelphia, albeit informally, to request trial, and, had signed a Form 2, which contains the waiver of extradition, for Montgomery County. App. at 128. There is no ...

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