Is a Delay Between a Parolee's Conviction and Receipt of Conviction Records Justifiable ?

In Fitzhugh v. Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, 154 Pa. Commw. 123, 623 A.2d 376 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1993), the parolee pleaded guilty to the new criminal charges in July 1991. The Board's court liaison office date-stamped a packet of court records attesting to the parolee's guilty plea as received in November 1991, and a revocation hearing was held in February 1992. The parolee alleged that the Board had employees in the court system, whose sole function was to retrieve conviction records available within a few days after the sentence. Relying on Williams, the majority rejected "the notion that a parolee convicted of a new offense may be forced to wait for an unreasonable period for a revocation hearing until the Board chooses to retrieve his records, even though the Board has actual notice of the new conviction." Fitzhugh, 623 A.2d at 380. Stating that if the Board was aware of the conviction but did not retrieve available conviction records, there may be a possibility of unreasonable and unjustifiable delay, the majority remanded the matter to the Board to establish facts relating to the delay between the conviction and the receipt of the conviction records.