Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County at No. 606 May Term, 1970, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation v. Phil Iorio.
Anthony J. Maiorana, Assistant Attorney General, with him Robert W. Cunliffe, Deputy Attorney General, and J. Shane Creamer, Attorney General, for appellant.
No appearance for appellee.
Judges Crumlish, Jr., Manderino and Mencer, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer. Dissenting Opinion by Judge Crumlish, Jr.
The Commonwealth has appealed from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County which reversed the Secretary of Revenue's action in suspending for sixty (60) days the operator's license of one Phil Iorio. This appeal raises a single question, that is, whether the lower court committed error when it refused
to admit into evidence an exhibit offered by the Commonwealth and marked for identification as "Commonwealth's Exhibit No. 2-C". The Commonwealth agrees that, if the lower court's ruling relative to the admissibility of this exhibit was correct, the court's order reversing the Secretary of Revenue's suspension was also correct and this appeal should be dismissed.
On November 21, 1969, Phil Iorio was arrested by Officer Theodosiritz, of the City of Philadelphia Police Department, and charged with violating Section 1028 (a) of The Vehicle Code, 75 P.S. § 1028(a), by failing to stop at a red traffic light. At the time of the hearing before the court below, the Commonwealth attempted to prove, by the introduction into evidence of exhibit No. 2-C, that Phil Iorio had been convicted of this offense.
This exhibit consisted of two pages. The first page could be fairly characterized as a traffic ticket which was headed at the top with a seven digit number and the caption, "Traffic Violation", and which was signed and dated at the bottom by the arresting officer just below this printed statement: "The undersigned further states that he has just and reasonable grounds to believe and does believe, that the person named above committed the offense set forth, contrary to law and that a copy of this summons and complaint has been served upon said person as required by law."
The second page was headed, "Court Action and Other Orders." A series of lines and blanks fill up the entire page with designated lines for the signature of Judge or Clerk to indicate or certify as to the disposition of the matter. All of these lines and spaces, with the possibility of one exception, are blank. Perhaps this page can best be described by setting forth from the record the lower court's comments as he examined the exhibit at the time it was offered for admission into evidence:
"By the Court: Let me see that again. (Commonwealth's Exhibit No. 2-C examined by the Court.) By the Court: Where does it say here that he was convicted or that he paid a fine? Mr. Keller: It looks to me much like a traffic ticket that the State Police use. By the Court: There's nothing on the face of the first page that indicates any disposition of this case, this charge, whatsoever, that I can find. On the second page, which has no number or docket number or page number, or any identifying writing or printing which would make it the reverse side of the first duplicated page, there are a number of sections. There are no entries at all until the last two entries, and one entry says, 'Payment in the amount of received as required.' Then there's a signature line, 'Signature of Judge or Court Clerk.' Upside down on that space there is a stamp which is really not decipherable, but appears to say, 'Report Number . . .' it could be '54, Feb. 16, 1970, Record in . . .' and it looks to me like PEQD Status. Then there's a little squiggle after that. Then if we turn it right side up again, we find the last section which states, 'As provided by the Vehicle Code as amended, I hereby certify that the Information on this copy of the Traffic Violation -- Information and Notice To Appear is a true and correct abstract of the record of this court in this case', and there is a signature line with the printing, 'Signature of Judge or Court Clerk', and then there appears to be a very vague and again not decipherable reproduced signature that looks like John Blair or Blark or Blank, but ...