Appeal, No. 203, Oct. T., 1961, from order of Court of Common Pleas No. 5 of Philadelphia County, June T., 1960, No. 3351, in re suspension of operator's license of Francis E. Sheehy. Order reversed.
Elmer T. Bolla, Deputy Attorney General, with him Anne X. Alpern, Attorney General, for Commonwealth, appellant.
Chester T. Cyzio, with him William Vincent Mullin, for appellee.
Before Ervin, Wright, Woodside, Watkins, Montgomery, and Flood, JJ. (rhodes, P.j., absent).
[ 196 Pa. Super. Page 124]
This case involves the suspension of a motor vehicle operator's license following a conviction in New Jersey for speeding detected by radar. The appeal is by the Commonwealth from an order of the court below which reversed an order of Secretary of Revenue suspending the license of Francis E. Sheehy.
The Secretary of Revenue received notice from the New Jersey officials that Sheehy had been convicted in that state of speeding at 63 miles per hour in a 50 miles per hour speed zone. After a hearing, the secretary suspended Sheehy's operator's license under the authority given him by § 618(e) of The Vehicle Code of April 29, 1959, P.L. 58, 75 P.S. § 618(e).
This subsection provides as follows: "The secretary is hereby authorized after a hearing before the secretary or his representative, or upon failure of the said person to appear at such hearing, to suspend the operator's license or learner's permit of any person licensed in this Commonwealth, upon receiving notice of the conviction of such person in another state of an offense therein which, if committed in this Commonwealth, would be grounds for the suspension or revocation of the license of an operator."
[ 196 Pa. Super. Page 125]
The court below thought that the offense of which Sheehy was convicted in New Jersey was not an offense "which, if committed in this Commonwealth, would be grounds for the suspension ... of the license of an operator," because the speeding for which he was convicted was detected by radar.
Radar was not recognized as a legal means of detecting speed law violators in Pennsylvania when Sheehy was convicted in New Jersey, nor when his license was ordered suspended here. The Act of April 28, 1961, P.L. 108, which provides that an operator may be prosecuted for a speeding violation in Pennsylvania detected by radar under certain circumstances, did not become effective until September 1, 1961. In addition to providing for radar detection of speeding in Pennsylvania, Act of April 28, 1961, supra, prohibits suspension in Pennsylvania under § 618(e), supra, after the expiration of a suspension imposed by the state from which notice of conviction was received. However, this act, by specific provision in section 3, applies "only to violation occurring on or after the effective date of the act," which was September 1, 1961. (Emphasis supplied).
Section 1002(d)(1) of the Vehicle Code, supra, 75 P.S. § 1002(d)(1), specifies the evidence of speeding which can be used to secure a conviction in Pennsylvania. The court below concluded that the Secretary of Revenue had no power to suspend an operator's license upon notice of a conviction of speeding in another state, unless the evidence of speeding used in that state to obtain the conviction could have been used in this state had the same act taken place and the same charge been made in Pennsylvania. As evidence of speed obtained by radar was not recognized in Pennsylvania when the ...