Philadelphia criminal appeals lawyer Lloyd Long discusses details surrounding the Pennsylvania’s Superior Court’s decision in the Finley case. Finley pleaded guilty to various charges after fleeing police, and was sentenced to an aggregate term of 13 – 20 months’ incarceration followed by two years’ probation (a sentence that sounds odd enough, but was composed of 10-20 months on the misdemeanors plus a consecutive flat 90-day sentence on a summary offense). The trial court granted a motion for parole prior to expiration of Finely’s minimum that the Commonwealth had opposed; it appealed, claiming that no authority existed allowing early parole.

The Superior Court reversed the grant of early parole. Under the Sentencing Code, a minimum sentence cannot be reduced by early parole unless, at the time of sentencing, the trial court states that the defendant is eligible to participate in a reentry plan prior to expiration of the minimum sentence. 42 Pa.C.S. §9756(b).

The record contained no evidence of eligibility. The trial court’s sentencing order indicated that it would retain parole jurisdiction. But that was not a sufficient statement of eligibility to participate in a reentry plan under the sentencing code to permit early parole.

Back to jail for Finley.