On Robb: Full statement from parole board chairman

"As previous Chairmen have done for victims or their family members, I met with the family of Ellen Robb to discuss the parole process and to help them understand the factors the Board considers when making parole decisions. In addition, we have procedures in place with the Office of Victim Advocate that allow for the Board to reconsider a parole decision if additional information is received after a parole decision is made and the offender has not yet been released from prison. We followed these procedures in the case of Rafael Robb.


In this case, the prosecutor agreed to, and the court accepted, a guilty plea, which resulted in a 5 to 10 year sentence. The plea agreement in this case did not reflect the heinous acts committed by this defendant and, as a result, the expectations of the family members may have been raised beyond what our justice system could deliver in this instance. Apparently, there was an expectation that Rafael Robb would be required to serve 85% of his sentence, as stated in Judge Tressler’s letter which was received by the Board on January 22, 2013. There is no such requirement under Pennsylvania law. The sentence imposed in this case made Rafael Robb eligible for release on parole at the expiration of his minimum sentence, which was 5 years. In this case, Rafael Robb was reviewed for parole and denied release at his minimum sentence in October of 2011. Any expectations beyond that were improperly given to the family at the beginning of the criminal proceedings.


As Chairman, I began an initiative, approximately six months ago, with Carol Lavery, Victim Advocate, in order to develop a process for victims to provide in person testimony to decision makers. We anticipate the implementation of this process in the near future."


Michael C. Potteiger


PA Board of Probation and Parole