Commonwealth v. Woods 2009 PA Super 19
Topic: Probation Violation – Right to a speedy violation hearing
Summary: Probationer was not denied his right to a speedy probation violation hearing where probationer was sentenced for a new offense and was subject to a delay of 15-months before having a probation violation hearing.
Illustration: Russell Woods was initially placed on probation on June 16, 2005. He violated his probation on July 20, 2005. His initial probation violation hearing was scheduled for August 9, 2005. The hearing was postponed for a mental health evaluation. Woods committed another offense on September 12, 2005. Woods entered a guilty plea to both new offenses on June 29, 2006 and was sentenced on those charges on December 12, 2006. Woods had his probation violation hearing on September 17, 2007.
Although the period from June 16, 2005 to December 12, 2006 could be attributed to Woods being convicted and sentenced for the new offenses, there was no explanation for the 9 month delay from the time of sentencing to the violation hearing in September 2007. However, the Superior Court concluded that Woods was in prison anyway and was not deprived of witnesses or new evidence. Therefore, the Court concluded that Woods suffered no prejudice and there was no violation of Pennsylvania Rule of Criminal Procedure 708.