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Sentencing and the County Intermediate Punishment Sentence

A mandatory sentence under the State Sentencing Code is what it says... "mandatory."

On February 17, 2015, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Commonwealth v. Stotelmyer, No. 73 MAP 2013, J-36-2014 (Feb. 17, 2015), determined that the provisions of state mandatory minimum sentencing scheme found in 18 Pa.C.S. Section 7508 for a drug mandatory and not that of 42 Pa.C.S. Section 9763 (relating to county intermediate punishment sentences) control the imposition of a mandatory.

In Stotelmyer, the defendant pleads guilty to possession with the intent to deliver 2 1/2 pounds of marijuana. The Commonwealth made known its intention to seek the imposition of a mandatory minimum at the time of sentencing, which was one (1) year. The trial court determined that the weight was proved by a preponderance of the evidence, but sentenced the defendant to a county intermediate punishment sentence of 6 months work release, followed by 6 months of at home electronic monitoring.

What's Intermediate Punishment?

County intermediate punishment is a punishment plan that provides a sentencing court with a mechanism to place offenders with county-specific services, such as house arrest, work release, and other forms of partial confinement. It is found in Title 42 Pa.C.S. Sections 9729, '63, 73 and Chapter 98.

Here, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania determined that a defendant that is otherwise required to undergo a mandatory minimum sentence under 18 Pa.C.S. Section 7508, is not an "eligible offender" for a county intermediate punishment sentence unless it is specifically authorized by Section 9763 (as for DUI offenses).