THE DC-300B (Court Commitment Form)
[EDITOR'S NOTE: From 2011-Present Day, numerous Records Office Supervisors at numerous State Correctional Institutions under the jurisdiction of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections have suddenly "produced" and/or "altered/amended" the DC-300B Court Commitment Forms to specify terms of "Confinement" instead of "Imprisonment" in an attempt to justify the unlawful commitment of thousands of prisoners currently detained on D.O.C. property... For supplementary in-depth analysis on this matter, go to the PAsentencing.com homepage and click on the "JUDGMENT OF SENTENCE" option. Also see pages 26-30 of the PAsentencing.com FREEDOM PACKET, 1st Edition for an in-depth analysis on the differences between "Imprisonment" and "Confinement".]
Currently, within numerous State Correctional Institutions (SCI's) throughout the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, many prisoners are becoming aware of the shocking revelation that they have never been lawfully committed into D.O.C. custody pursuant to The Administrative Code of 1929 (as amended and codified at 37 Pa.Code Sec. 91.3), and the Pennsylvania Sentencing Code (as codified and amended at 42 Pa.C.S. Sec. 9764(a)(8), and 42 Pa.C.S. Sec. 9762 ) !...
What this basically means is that no person can be committed/accepted into the custody of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections without a lawful court order that authorizes a term of "Confinement". The problem with this legislative requirement is that the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections incorrectly believes that the "lawful court order" required upon commitment is the DC-300B Court Commitment Form, when in fact, it is actually the written Judgment of Sentence order (also known as the "Sentencing Order").
One of the main reasons why this misconception exists is because the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections views the "DC-300B" as an Order when it is only a Form (hence the term "Court Commitment Form")... This is crucial to understand because an "Order" is a written command imposed by a Judge. However, the DC-300B Court Commitment Form is not from the Judge at all, and if you examine the document thoroughly, you'll notice that the DC-300B Court Commitment Form is not even signed by the judge!!! It is signed by a clerk or some other agent of the court or D.O.C. !
This is because the DC-300B Form is nothing more than a warrant of commitment that supports the Judgment of Sentence order. In other words, the Judgement of Sentence order must first be entered onto the records of the court from the Judge to verify the conviction and sentence of the defendant. Then, a DC-300B Court Commitment Form is completed by the designated person acting under the jurisdiction and authority of the Common Pleas Court Case Management System of the unified judicial system; however, the information written onto the DC-300B Court Commitment Form must come from the information on the written Judgment of Sentence order with no additional conviction or sentencing information added to it. This is because the DC-300B Court Commitment Form does not justify a person's incarceration, it merely helps carry into effect the judgment of the court...
"The mittimus after conviction in criminal cases is a final process for carrying into effect the judgment of the court."
Biddle v. Shirley, 16 F.2d 566 (C.C.A.8 (Kan.) 1926);
also Scott v. Spiegel, 67 Conn. 349, 35 A. 262;
also Taintor v. Taylor, 36 Conn. 242, 4 Am.Rep. 58;
also People v. Moore, 3 Parker, Cr. R. (N.Y.) 465
This is critical to understand because the Superintendent of each State Correctional Institutional (SCI) within the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections uses the DC-300B as evidence/authorization for detaining state prisoners under D.O.C. custody. But the written Judgment of Sentence order is the only lawful court order that can stand as evidence/authorization for a prisoner's confinement...
"The prisoner is detained, not by virtue of the warrant of commitment, but on account of the judgement of sentence." Biddle v. Shirley, 16 F.2d 566 (C.C.A.8 (Kan.) 1926) ; also Howard v. U.S., 75 F. 986, 989, 34 L.R.A 509; also People ex rel. Trainor v. Baker, 89 N.Y. 460
"The court speaks through its judgment, and not any other medium. It is not within the power of a judge by instruction to a clerk to make some other medium the authentic organ of his will. We are told that the instructions... are lacking in the formal safeguards that protect against mistake and perhaps oppression." Hill v. U.S. ex rel Wampler, 298 U.S. 460, 56 S.Ct. 760 (U.S. Pa. 1936)
Furthermore, the Superintendent at the State Correctional Institution must have a copy of the lawful court order (Judgment of Sentence order a.k.a. Sentencing Order) within his Records Department possession to justify having custody over a person/inmate. If not, that Superintendent cannot justify the commitment of such person/inmate...
Section 91.3 Reception of inmates
The Department will accept and confine those persons committed to it under lawful court order which conform to 42 Pa.C.S. Sec. 9762 (relating to sentencing proceeding; place of confinement) when information has been provided to the Department as required by 42 Pa.C.S. Sec. 9764 (relating to information required upon commitment and subsequent disposition).
[See: the Administrative Code of 1929, as amended and codified at 71 P.S. Sec. 186, and 37 Pa.Code Sec. 91.3 .]
After reading the above statutory provisions, it is quite clear to see that the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections may only accept and confine a person who is committed to the D.O.C. under a lawful court order that conforms to 42 Pa.C.S. Sec. 9762 when informaiton has been provided to the D.O.C. as required by 42 Pa.C.S. Sec. 9764. In Layman's terms, it's as simple as this:
When a person get's convicted and sentenced in a court of law, the Judge who imposed the sentence completes a written Judgment of Sentence order and enters it onto the records of the court to stand as proof and verity of the sentence, conviction, sentencing conditions, and any transfer of custody (from county to state custody) authorized by the Judge. This is why the written Judgment of Sentence order is so crucially important and recognized as the lawful court order because if the Judge does not specifically authorize the transfer of custody of the defendant from county custody to state custody, NO COMMITMENT INTO D.O.C. CUSTODY CAN OCCUR!...
Furthermore, the mere fact that a written Judgement of Sentence order may have been entered onto the records of the court is not enough to justify a person's commitment into a D.O.C. Institution! 42 Pa.C.S. Sec. 9764 (a)(8) clearly states that a copy of the Sentencing Order (a.k.a. Judgement of Sentence) must be provided to the Institution's records officer by the sheriff (or transporting official) at the time of reception. Therefore, if you've received a response from the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections stating that a copy of your Judgment of Sentence order "does not exist" within their possession, you have obviously been accepted into the D.O.C. custody without a lawful court order, and that is AGAINST THE LAW!!!
In summary, Superintendent's of the D.O.C. are currently hiding behind the DC-300B Court Commitment Form and using it as authorization to detain/incarcerate prisoners under state custody. However, if this situation applies to you or your incarcerated loved one, hold the D.O.C. Superintendent accountable for his unlawful actions.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: If you want to see if the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections has a copy of the required Sentencing Order, go to the PAsentencing.com homepage and click on the JUDGMENT OF SENTENCE (The Most Important Document) option.]
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PAsentencing.com was created solely for the purpose of providing the public with accurate information concerning the Pamphlet Laws of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and other related subject matter. However, this website was not created by persons licensed to practice law throughout the state of Pennsylvania. PAsentencing.com should not be construed as a substitute for the advice or representation of an attorney, but rather an aid towards addressing specific aspects concerning illegal sentencing procedures throughout the state of Pennsylvania.
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