Com. v. Rowe

CourtSuperior Court of Pennsylvania
Writing for the CourtBefore WATKINS; PRICE; JACOBS, former President Judge, WATKINS, former President Judge, and HOFFMAN
Citation264 Pa.Super. 67,398 A.2d 1060
PartiesCOMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania v. William M. ROWE, Appellant. COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania v. Frank W. SAXON, Appellant.
Decision Date02 March 1979

Page 1060

398 A.2d 1060
264 Pa.Super. 67
COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania
William M. ROWE, Appellant.
COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania
Frank W. SAXON, Appellant.
Superior Court of Pennsylvania.
Submitted Dec. 6, 1977.
Decided March 2, 1979.

Page 1061

[264 Pa.Super. 69] David B. Keeffe, Sayre, for appellant William M. Rowe at No. 2061.

Leonard J. Frawley, Towanda, for appellant Frank W. Saxon at No. 2149.

W. Marshall Dawsey, Dist. Atty., Towanda, for Commonwealth, appellee.


PRICE, Judge.

These appeals arise from the orders of the lower court denying petitions for writs of habeas corpus in an extradition proceeding, and ordering appellants to be remanded to the custody of the appropriate authorities of the State of New York. For the reasons stated herein, we affirm.

The facts pertinent to our determination are as follows. On February 6, 1977, the M & M Hot Dog Stand in Elmira, New York, was burglarized, and its safe carried away. Two weeks subsequent to the incident, Joseph Philippi submitted an affidavit to the Elmira police in which he confessed to being a participant in the crime, and implicated William M. Rowe, Jr. and Frank W. Saxon. On March 14, 1977, appellants were arrested in Pennsylvania pursuant to a warrant charging them with being fugitives from justice. Following arraignment, Rowe was released on bail on March 15, with Saxon being similarly released on March 17. This bail has been continued by the court below pending the outcome of this appeal.

On May 16, 1977, appellants were re-arrested pursuant to a warrant of arrest issued by the Governor of Pennsylvania [264 Pa.Super. 70] on May 6, 1977, in response to a demand by the State of New York for the surrender and extradition of William M. Rowe and Frank Saxon. Writs of habeas corpus were filed by both appellants and were argued before the court below on May 18 and May 25, 1977. The court determined that the requirements of the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act 1 had been satisfied and denied the petitions.

On appeal, the prime contention of both appellants is that the Commonwealth failed to establish that they were the two individuals named in the New York extradition papers. With this we cannot agree.

It has often been repeated that extradition will be ordered if: (1) the subject of extradition is charged with a crime in the demanding state; (2) the subject of extradition is a fugitive from the demanding state; (3) the subject of extradition was present in the demanding state at the time of the commission of the crime; and (4) the requisition papers are in order. Commonwealth ex rel. Coades v. Gable, 437 Pa. 553, 264 A.2d 716 (1970); Commonwealth ex rel. Kelly v. Aytch, 254 Pa.Super. 28, 385 A.2d 508 (1978); Commonwealth ex rel. Colcough v. Aytch, 227 Pa.Super. 527, 323 A.2d 359 (1974). As a necessary pre-requisite to extradition, the Commonwealth must establish that the person being extradited is the person demanded. Commonwealth ex rel. Walker v. Hendrick, 434 Pa. 175, 253 A.2d 95 (1969); Commonwealth ex rel. Kelly v. Aytch, supra. As has been emphasized, in every extradition proceeding "the relator has an absolute right to require that his identity as the person named in the Extradition Requisition be established and proved by the weight of credible evidence." Commonwealth ex rel. Edgar v. Davis, 425 Pa. 133, 136, 228 A.2d 742, 744 (1967). Because the guilt or innocence of the accused is not in question, however, Commonwealth ex rel.

Page 1062

Edgar v. Davis, supra, the Commonwealth's burden is not measured against the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard, but merely against the "preponderance of the evidence" standard. [264 Pa.Super. 71] "(C)ompetent evidence to establish reasonable ground is not necessarily evidence sufficient to convict, nor only...

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