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HANKIN LIQUOR LICENSE CASE. (11/13/63)

November 13, 1963

HANKIN LIQUOR LICENSE CASE.


Appeal, No. 129, Oct. T., 1963, from order of Court of Quarter Sessions of the Peace of Bucks County, Nov. T., 1962, No. 4 (Miscellaneous), in re Moe Henry Hankin et al. Decision affirmed.

COUNSEL

Moe Henry Hankin, with him Mayor Shanken, and Hankin, Hankin & Shanken, for appellants.

Thomas J. Sharnnon, Chief Counsel, with him George G. Lindsay, Special Counsel, and Walter E. Alessandroni, Attorney General, for Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, appellee.

Before Rhodes, P.j., Ervin, Wright, Woodside, Watkins, Montgomery, and Flood, JJ.

Author: Woodside

[ 202 Pa. Super. Page 102]

OPINION BY WOODSIDE, J.

This is an appeal by six owners of a motel from a decision of the Court of Quarter Sessions of Bucks County affirming the action of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board in suspending their hotel liquor license for 25 days.

The board cited the licensees for encouraging and permitting "other persons to do on your licensed premises that which, under the provisions of the law, you are prohibited from doing, ot wit: Give, furnish, serve or deliver liquor to persons during hours when you are prohibited by the Liquor Code from selling liquor," on certain designated Sundays.

The scheme devised by the licensees to permit customers to have liquor with their meals on Sunday was as follows: A customer would pay for a bottle of liquor at the bar of the licensees during a time when it could be legally sold. The customer's name was then attached to the bottle by the employe of the licensees, and it was placed, sometimes opened and sometimes unopened, in the restaurant on a rack or shelf where there was a separate lock for each bottle. The lock was snapped shut and the only key was given to the customer. When the customer came to the restaurant for a Sunday meal, he would go to the shelf, unlock the bottle with his key, take it to his table and serve himself and his guests. Neither licensees nor their employes would touch the bottle at any time after it was first locked on the shelf, but they would provide the customer with glasses, ice and ginger ale to be used in drinking the liquor. When the customer was through using the bottle of liquor, he would return it to the shelf and lock it in place for use during a subsequent visit to the restaurant.

The board concluded that this practice constituted a violation of the Liquor Code of April 12, 1951, P.L. 90, 47 P.S. ยง 1-101 et seq. Upon appeal, the court heard

[ 202 Pa. Super. Page 103]

    the evidence of several liquor board agents who had each obtained bottles of V.O. liquor for $14 each and served drinks to themselves and guests on several Sundays in the manner set forth. The licensees do not deny that the above procedure is followed, but content it is not illegal. The court below concluded that the procedure constituted an illegal sale of liquor by the licensees and sustained the suspension. The appellants contend that they were not cited for an illegal sale, that the procedure does not constitute an illegal sale, and that the procedure does not constitute ground for a suspension.

The fact that the citation does not specifically allege "an illegal Sunday sale" does not prevent the court from examining the facts and from concluding that the acts of the licensees constituted an illegal sale. The citation set forth above is sufficient to put the licensees on notice that their ...


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