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POISSON v. STATE HARNESS RACING COMMISSION (02/29/72)

decided: February 29, 1972.

POISSON
v.
STATE HARNESS RACING COMMISSION



Appeal from the Order of the State Harness Racing Commission in case of In Re: Clement B. Poisson, P.L. 7441.

COUNSEL

Bruce E. Cooper, with him Cooper, Friedman & Friedman, for appellant.

Lawrence J. Beaser, Assistant Deputy Attorney General, with him John P. McCord, Assistant Attorney General, and J. Shane Creamer, Attorney General, for appellee.

Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer and Mencer, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Crumlish, Jr.

Author: Crumlish

[ 5 Pa. Commw. Page 21]

Clement B. Poisson, appellant, appeals an adjudication and order of the State Harness Racing Commission dated August 27, 1971, which suspended his license as an owner, trainer and driver for one year. This adjudication and order was entered after hearing held on August 24, 1971. Appellant was present and was represented by counsel.

[ 5 Pa. Commw. Page 22]

The Commission found that appellant had violated Rule 18, § 5(b) and Rule 20, § 9(b) of the Rules and Regulations of the Pennsylvania State Harness Racing Commission by driving his rig intending not to win an Exacta race on May 28, 1971. The Commission found further that appellant had violated Rule 20, § 9(b) in that he had either placed a bet on the Exacta or had caused a bet to be placed on another horse competing with him.

The Commission's findings were based on the testimony of two officials of the State Harness Racing Commission who investigated the particular race in question and on the testimony of other people who were present during conversations in which appellant participated. They testified that Poisson admitted that he had not raced to win in that particular race. The record also shows Poisson had alluded to the payoff price on the Exacta race.

Appellant contends that this is insufficient evidence upon which to support a finding that he violated the rules. Appellant further contends that the Commission cannot impose a penalty greater than that imposed by the local Judges,*fn1 since even if a violation is shown, it is an abuse of discretion to impose a penalty of this severity.

We are of the opinion that it was not an arbitrary and unreasonable determination by the Commission in finding violations of the rules. We do believe, however, that the penalty should be modified.

The disposition of this appeal is governed by the Administrative Agency Law, Act of June 4, 1945, P.L. 1388, § 44, 71 P.S. § 1710.44. The scope of review of this Court in actions under that act is limited to a ...


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