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DIGANGI MOTOR VEHICLE OPERATOR LICENSE CASE (04/12/67)

decided: April 12, 1967.

DIGANGI MOTOR VEHICLE OPERATOR LICENSE CASE


Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County, Sept. T., 1966, No. 260, in re appeal of Thomas V. Digangi from suspension of motor vehicle license.

COUNSEL

Elmer T. Bolla, Deputy Attorney General, with him William C. Sennett, Attorney General, for Commonwealth, appellant.

No argument was made nor brief submitted for appellee.

Ervin, P. J., Wright, Montgomery, Jacobs, Hoffman, and Spaulding, JJ. (Watkins, J., absent). Opinion by Wright, J.

Author: Wright

[ 209 Pa. Super. Page 445]

On October 12, 1965, Thomas V. Digangi was apprehended for operating his motor vehicle at an excessive speed on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. An information was filed, and Digangi paid fine and costs on October 18, 1965. The Secretary of Revenue thereafter

[ 209 Pa. Super. Page 446]

    suspended Digangi's operating privilege for a period of one month, effective June 23, 1966. An appeal was filed by Digangi in the court below on June 29, 1966. Following a de novo hearing on August 10, 1966, an order was entered on August 26, 1966, overruling the Secretary's action. The Commonwealth has appealed.

The order of the court below in the instant case was based upon its interpretation of the effect of Act No. 527 of 1965, amending The Vehicle Code*fn1 by establishing the point system. This amendment was approved January 24, 1966, to take effect July 24, 1966, and adds three new sections after Section 619 of The Code (75 P.S. 619). The court below reasoned that, had Digangi's offense been committed after the effective date of the amendment, the penalty would be the assignment of points to his record, rather than the suspension of his operating privilege, and that its power to sustain the Secretary's action had been "eliminated" because its decision was not reached prior to the effective date of the amendment. Sole reliance was placed upon the case of Commonwealth v. Beattie, 93 Pa. Superior Ct. 404. We are clearly of the opinion that the court below erred, and its order will therefore be reversed.

The instant appeal is controlled by our decision in Vivio Motor Vehicle Operator License Case, 209 Pa. Superior Ct. 90, 224 A.2d 777.*fn2 Vivio was apprehended for speeding on December 3, 1965, and paid a fine and costs on January 3, 1966. His operator's license was suspended effective April 25, 1966. His appeal to the Court of Common Pleas was decided on August 25, 1966, by which date Act No. 527 had become effective. On appeal to this court the case was, on December

[ 209 Pa. Super. Page 44716]

, 1966, remanded to the court below with direction to return it to the Secretary of Revenue to afford Vivio a hearing under Section 618(b)(2). We pointed out that the proceeding before us was governed by the provisions of Section 618 as in effect at the time of the suspension by the Secretary of Revenue, expressly stating by way of a footnote: "We are not here concerned with the amendment in Act No. 527 of 1965, effective July 24, 1966, establishing the point system".

To the same effect is our affirmance of the order of the lower court in Commonwealth v. Duvall, 209 Pa. Superior Ct. 710, 224 A.2d 363. In the Duvall case the offense occurred on December 12, 1964, and the fine was paid on December 23, 1964. A suspension was imposed by the Secretary of Revenue on February 4, 1966, and the Secretary's action was sustained by the lower court on April 11, 1966. It was appellant's contention that, since the legislature had placed in effect a new point system, the suspension should be reversed and the case ...


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