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COMMONWEALTH v. MUTH (07/24/59)

July 24, 1959

COMMONWEALTH
v.
MUTH, APPELLANT. COMMONWEALTH V. WEIK, APPELLANT.



Appeals, Nos. 203 and 204, Jan. T., 1959, from judgments of Superior Court, Oct. T., 1959, Nos. 42 and 43, affirming judgments of Court of Quarter Sessions of the Peace of Lancaster County, Sept. T., 1957, Nos. 45 and 29, in cases of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Arlin R. Weik, and Same v. Guy S. Muth. Judgments reversed. Same cases in Superior Ct.: 188 Pa. Super.Ct. 391, and 188 Pa. Super. Ct. 401. Appeals by defendants from summary convictions before justice of the peace. Before JOHNSTONE, JR., J. Verdicts of guilty and judgments of sentence entered thereon. Defendants appealed to Superior Court, which affirmed judgments, opinions by ERVIN, J., dissenting opinions by WATKINS, J., in which GUNTHER, J., concurred. Appeals to Supreme Court allowed.

COUNSEL

John W. Beyer, with him Arnold, Bricker, Beyer & Barnes, for appellant.

Richard M. Martin, Assistant District Attorney, with him William C. Storb, District Attorney, for appellee.

Before Jones, C.j., Bell, Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Bok and Mcbride, JJ.

Author: Mcbride

[ 397 Pa. Page 108]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE MCBRIDE

While a Pennsylvania State Trooper was patrolling U.S. Route No. 222 about one mile north of Quarryville in the Township of Providence, Lancaster County, a truck operated by defendant Weik passed him in the opposite direction and spilled part of a load of stone on the patrol car. The trooper, noticing that the truckload was unusually high, turned his car around and pursued it. A little more than a mile thereafter he halted the truck in Strasburg Township and examined Weik's weight slip. This showed that the gross weight was unlawful.

During a conversation with Weik another truck approached which was also owned by the owner of the Weik truck and when it reached them the trooper stopped defendant Muth, the operator, and examined his weight slip. This truck was also unlawfully overweight.

The trooper requested both operators to go with him from Strasburg Township to the office of a justice of the peace in Providence Township, where he signed informations against them charging them with violation of Section (a) of the Act of May 1, 1929, P.L. 905, Art. IX, § 903, as amended, 75 P.S. § 453, which makes it unlawful to operate a commercial vehicle on any

[ 397 Pa. Page 109]

    highway with a gross weight in excess of that provided for the various classes of vehicles therein described.*fn1 Each information alleges that the offense occurred in Providence Township.

The transcript filed by the justice of the peace does not disclose the entry of either a not guilty or guilty plea*fn2 but states that in the case of Weik, a fine and costs of $853.50 were paid by his employer and that no hearing was requested. In the case of Muth, the same situation appears except that the fine and costs amounted to $403.50. We therefore treat both cases as if a hearing had been waived. Thereafter both Weik and Muth petitioned the court of quarter sessions for allowance of an appeal which was granted and a hearing was held. At the hearing it was stipulated that the testimony in both cases would be the same except as to weight. The court, after a hearing de novo, found the defendants guilty and sentenced each respectively to pay the aforesaid fines and costs. From these judgments of sentence Weik and Muth appealed to the Superior Court which affirmed. This Court, on petition, allowed an appeal from the decision of the Superior Court. On appeal here, the issues and records of both cases were consolidated for argument and will be disposed of in one opinion.

Although three questions have been presented to us, we are of the opinion that only one merits serious discussion.*fn3 ...


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