- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 23, 2015

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A Pennsylvania appellate court has ruled that parole agents may frisk the associates of parolees during arrests or home visits if they suspect those people are armed and dangerous.

A three-judge Superior Court panel clarified the scope of parole agents’ authority in a ruling issued Tuesday, PennLive.com reported.

The case stems from a December 2013 incident in which two parole agents went to a Harrisburg home to check on a parolee. They ended up arresting another Harrisburg man, 23-year-old Darrin Orlando Mathis, after he acted nervously and a pat-down revealed a loaded pistol in a jacket that he had been holding.

In the panel’s opinion, President Judge Emeritus Kate Ford Elliott wrote that parole agents are entitled to the same protection as police officers in interactions with third parties.

“It is irrational to presume that a parole agent will only ever encounter his parolee during an arrest or home visit,” she said.

Mathis, a convicted felon barred from possessing a gun, was convicted on weapons and drug charges and sentenced to 32 to 64 months in prison. He appealed, but the Superior Court panel upheld his sentence.


Information from: Pennlive.com, https://www.pennlive.com

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