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COMMONWEALTH v. QUINN (09/11/69)

decided: September 11, 1969.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
QUINN, APPELLANT



Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, No. 68-15219, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Stephen Quinn.

COUNSEL

Francis J. Morrissey, Jr., with him Francis X. Quinn, and Dolan & Morrissey, for appellant.

Paul W. Tressler, Assistant District Attorney, with him Richard A. Devlin, Assistant District Attorney, Parker H. Wilson, First Assistant District Attorney, and Milton O. Moss, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Wright, P. J., Watkins, Montgomery, Jacobs, Hoffman, Spaulding, and Cercone, JJ. Opinion by Montgomery, J.

Author: Montgomery

[ 215 Pa. Super. Page 79]

Appellant was arrested on October 20, 1968 in Lower Merion Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, by a police officer of that township who signed a complaint against him before Robert P. Johnson, a Justice of the Peace of that township, charging that, as a minor, 20 years of age, appellant had unlawfully consumed alcohol, etc., namely beer, in violation of Section 675.1 of The Penal Code of 1939, as amended, 18 P.S. § 4675.1. On the same day appellant was arraigned, he waived a Sunday hearing, pleaded guilty, and paid a fine of $25 and $11 costs.

On October 24, 1968 appellant, through his father, Francis X. Quinn, Esquire, a lawyer, requested a full hearing, which was granted and held on October 28, 1968. The arresting officer gave testimony, which included a statement that he had not seen appellant drinking. Appellant's motion for dismissal of the charges, based, inter alia, on his contention that the Justice of the Peace lacked jurisdiction, was refused. Thereupon, appellant changed his plea to not guilty but offered no testimony. He was found guilty of violating Section 675.1, aforesaid, and fined $25 and $11 costs. The money previously paid by him was, without objection, applied to the fine and costs which were imposed following the finding of guilt after the hearing. Appellant was at liberty at all times after he had paid the fine and costs imposed on his original plea of guilty.

No appeal was taken from the decision of the magistrate but on November 6, 1968 a petition for writ of certiorari was filed in the Court of Common Pleas of

[ 215 Pa. Super. Page 80]

Montgomery County. No bail was given pursuant to the Act of April 17, 1876, P. L. 29, § 1, as amended, 19 P.S. § 1189. The writ issued and the magistrate returned a transcript of his record, to which no exceptions were filed as required by Montgomery County Common Pleas Rule 919(d). Nevertheless, the matter was argued and briefs were filed. The lower court quashed the writ of certiorari for the reason that appellant, by electing to pay his fine and costs rather than post bond, had precluded himself from challenging technical errors that may have been disclosed on the transcript of the magistrate's record.

That the appellant paid the fine and costs voluntarily is not open to dispute. Initially he entered a plea of guilty, paid the fine and costs imposed on him, and was released. Thereafter, although he requested a hearing, he did not request a return of the money he had paid and voluntarily permitted it to remain in the hands of the magistrate. Whether the magistrate had the right to return it or to allow a full hearing after the fine and costs had been paid need not be decided since, in our view of the situation, appellant must be held to have voluntarily made the payment either upon his original plea of guilty or by not objecting to its application to the fine and costs after the hearing.

Prior to the Act of 1876, hereinbefore mentioned, voluntary payment of the fine and costs imposed in a summary proceeding ended the case and the defendant could not appeal or have the proceeding reviewed on certiorari. Commonwealth v. F. M. Gipner, 118 Pa. 379, 12 A. 306 (1888); Commonwealth v. Kramer, 162 Pa. Superior Ct. 448, 58 A.2d 193 (1948); Township of Haverford v. Armstrong, 76 Pa. Superior Ct. 152 (1921); ...


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