Person is not under official detention when police leave him alone in a hospital, and he does commit escape when, freed from restraints, he walks away


Commonwealth v Treece, 2017 PA Super 135 (May 5, 2017)

Following his arrest and transport to a police station for violation of a PFA order, Mr. Treece was taken, in handcuffs, to an emergency room. The restraints were removed to facilitate examination and treatment, and he was admitted to the hospital. The police left the hospital. A little later, Mr. Treece determined he was just fined, pulled out the IV, and walked out of the hospital. He was later arrested and charged with escape. He was tried, convicted and sentenced for escape, and he appealed challenging the sufficiency of the evidence.

18 Pa.C.S. § 5121(e) defines official detention‖  as:

arrest, detention in any facility for custody of persons under charge or conviction of crime or alleged or found to be delinquent, detention for extradition or deportation, or any other detention for law enforcement purposes; but the phrase does not include supervision of probation or parole, or constraint incidental to release on bail.

When police removed his handcuffs and left the hospital Mr. Treece was no longer in a facility for detention, and had no reason to believe he was otherwise in official detention. Therefore, the evidence was insufficient to convict.

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