Judge declines resentence request
Rodgers a juvenile at time of murder
HOLLIDAYSBURG — A senior judge from Bedford County has declined, because of a missed filing deadline, to bar life without parole as a option for an Altoona man scheduled for resentencing on June 27 in a 1988 murder case.
In a ruling now on file in the Blair County prothonotary’s office, Senior Judge Daniel Howsare of Bedford County denied a request from defense attorneys to bar prosecutors from seeking life without parole for James “Frankie” Rodgers, convicted by a jury in the stabbing death of Pasquale J. Lascoli.
Rodgers, now 48, was 17 years old when Lascoli was murdered at his residence.
He and others became eligible for resentencing after the 2012 U.S. Supreme Court, in Miller v. Alabama, concluded that automatic life without parole sentences for juvenile offenders violated the Constitution’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment.
Howsare, in his latest ruling, offered no commentary on the dispute that surfaced after District Attorney Richard Consiglio submitted a pre-sentence memorandum after April 15.
In court documents, federal public defense attorneys Kirk Henderson and Michael J. Berrigan of Pittsburgh reported to Howsare they received Consiglio’s pre-sentence memorandum a week after its April 15 due date. That delay, the public defenders said, interfered with their schedule and the time needed to prepare a response.
The only remedy, the defense attorneys stated in court documents, would be to bar the prosecution from seeking life without parole while moving toward “a typical sentencing hearing where the court will determine the appropriate individualized sentence for Mr. Rodgers.”
Consiglio, who is on record in support of a life without parole sentence for Rodgers, acknowledged that his pre-sentence memorandum was completed April 17, two days after the April 15 deadline, which Howsare set in March.
But defense attorneys countered that the copy they received of Consiglio’s pre-sentence memorandum had an April 18 postmark. And because it was mailed on a Thursday, it was a week late by the time it arrived in their office.
In a May 9 document filed with the court, defense attorneys offered assurance that they will respond to Consiglio’s pre-sentence memorandum. They also said they will spell out why prosecutors cannot support their claim that Rodgers deserves life without parole.
To support such a request, guidelines indicate that prosecutors must be able to show that Rodgers is “irreparably corrupt, permanently incorrigible, irretrievably depraved, incapable of rehabilitation and that the crimes do not reflect the transient immaturity of youth.”
Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.