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HELLER MOTOR VEHICLE OPERATOR LICENSE CASE. (11/16/61)

November 16, 1961

HELLER MOTOR VEHICLE OPERATOR LICENSE CASE.


Appeal, No. 269, Oct. T., 1961, from order of Court of Common Pleas No. 7 of Philadelphia County, March T., 1960, No. 4219, in the matter of Ralph Heller. Order reversed.

COUNSEL

Elmer T. Bolla, Deputy Attorney General, with him Anne X. Alpern, Attorney General, for Commonwealth, appellant.

Donald F. Manchell, with him Charles R. Weiner, for appellee.

Before Ervin, Wright, Woodside, Watkins, Montgomery, and Flood, JJ. (rhodes, P.j., absent).

Author: Woodside

[ 196 Pa. Super. Page 341]

OPINION BY WOODSIDE, J.

This is an appeal by the Commonwealth from an order of the Court of Common Pleas No. 7 of Philadelphia County reversing an order of the Secretary of Revenue which suspended the operator's license of Ralph Heller, a resident of Philadelphia.

The record of the hearing before the court below establishes that Heller was convicted in New Jersey on June 9, 1956, for speeding; on March 20, 1957, for improper passing; on November 11, 1957, for speeding; on April 21, 1958, for speeding; on May 7, 1958, for speeding; on June 14, 1958, for speeding; on August 6, 1958, for speeding; and on December 12, 1958, for failure to stop at traffic signal. It is strange that there is no record of a conviction against Heller in Pennsylvania where he resided and worked, but it is not strange that he was the operator of a vehicle involved in an accident in Pennsylvania which resulted in personal injuries. Heller admits the convictions and testified, "I was at fault." By his brazed and continual disregard of the law, Heller has demonstrated his gross abuse of a privilege entrusted to him by the Commonwealth.

[ 196 Pa. Super. Page 342]

Upon receiving notice on January 7, 1959, of Heller's last four convictions in New Jersey for speeding, the Secretary of Revenue, after hearing, suspended his operator's license for five months. See Section 618(e) of The Vehicle Code of April 29, 1959, P.L. 58, 75 P.S. ยง 618(e).*fn1

Heller was notified on May 7, 1960, that the suspension would commence May 11, 1960. He appealed to the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County and was granted a supersedeas. After conducting a hearing, that court filed its order on April 26, 1961, sustaining the appeal and restoring Heller's license. The sole reason given by the court below for its order was as follows: "Here, over sixteen months elapsed from the time the Secretary received notice from New Jersey until [Heller's] Pennsylvania license was suspended.

This is considerably more than a reasonable period of time within which the Secretary could have acted ...."

It is unfortunate that the wheels of justice ground so slowly in this case that Heller has been able to retain, for a far longer uninterrupted period than the law intended, a privilege that enabled him to speed over the highways in brazen disregard of the laws governing their use. It would be even more unfortunate if, having enjoyed a privilege during a period when the law did not intend him ...


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