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COMMONWEALTH v. SMITH (01/08/63)

January 8, 1963

COMMONWEALTH
v.
SMITH, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 339, Jan. T., 1962, from judgment of Court of Quarter Sessions of Bucks County, Jan. T., 1957, No. 20, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Colon Shaw Smith. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

Manus McHugh, with him Peter J. Verderame, and Strong and Sullivan, for appellant.

Leonard Barkan, with him Alan D. Williams, Jr., for appellee.

Before Bell, C.j., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen and O'brien, JJ.

Author: Cohen

[ 409 Pa. Page 522]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE COHEN

Appellant, Colon Shaw Smith, was charged with violating section 903 of The Vehicle Code by operating without special permit a tractor-trailer which was 43,850 pounds in excess of the maximum weight allowed by that act.*fn1 The vehicle in question was owned by the Ashdale Corporation. Smith was taken before a

[ 409 Pa. Page 523]

    justice of the peace where a hearing was held at which appellant pleaded guilty. A fine of $4,350 plus costs was imposed in accordance with the rising scale of penalties set forth in section 903.

Appellant posted bond and perfected an appeal to the Court of Quarter Sessions of Bucks County where a trial de novo was held as provided by the Act of April 17, 1876, as amended.*fn2 At this trial, a document was filed entitled "Petition of Ashdale Corporation to intervene in the above proceeding and for a declaratory judgment." Although apparently no formal action was taken by the court below on the propriety of this petition, Ashdale's contentions raising the constitutionality of section 903 of The Vehicle Code were discussed and dismissed. Ashdale has not taken any further action in this matter. The court below found appellant guilty and entered an order imposing a fine of $4,350 plus costs upon him. This appeal followed.

At the outset, we are confronted with a motion to quash raising the question whether this appeal was properly taken to this Court rather than to the Superior Court. The Act of April 17, 1876, as amended, provides that summary convictions before a magistrate or court not of record may be appealed to the court of quarter sessions. It is silent as to further appeals. The Vehicle Code is likewise silent as to appeals from the court of quarter sessions. In such a situation, appeal lies to this Court by broad certiorari and not to the Superior Court. Bell Appeal, 396 Pa. 592, 152 A.2d 731 (1959); see also Commonwealth v. Hanzlik, 191 Pa. Superior Ct. 460, 157 A.2d 97 (1960). The motion to quash is therefore denied.

Appellant raises two contentions: (1) that section 903 violates due process by empowering a magistrate upon non-payment ...


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