Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Joseph J. Siedlecki, No. 3296 September Term, 1970.
Jerrold D. Harris, Assistant Attorney General, with him Anthony J. Maiorana, Assistant Attorney General, Robert W. Cunliffe, Deputy Attorney General, and J. Shane Creamer, Attorney General, for appellant.
No appearance for appellee.
Judges Crumlish, Jr., Wilkinson, Jr., and Mencer, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer.
Joseph J. Siedlecki, Jr. (Siedlecki), was allegedly convicted of violating Section 1016(b) of The Vehicle Code, Act of April 29, 1959, P.L. 58, as amended, 75 P.S. § 1016(b), for failing to heed a stop sign in the City of Philadelphia on February 7, 1970. He allegedly paid the fine and costs for this violation on March 10, 1970.
The Secretary of Transportation (Secretary) subsequently assigned 5 points to Siedlecki's record in accordance with Section 619.1(b) of The Vehicle Code, 75 P.S. § 619.1(b). This brought his total point accumulation to 14 points, because Siedlecki had already accumulated 9 points for two previous convictions. As mandated by subsections (i) and (k) of Section 619.1, 75 P.S. § 619.1(i) and (k), the Secretary imposed a sixty-day suspension. After receiving notice of this suspension, Siedlecki appealed to the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County pursuant to Section 620 of the Code, 75 P.S. § 620. He asserted that he neither was at the indicated intersection nor went through the stop sign on the day in question.
After a very brief hearing before the lower court, the hearing judge sustained Siedlecki's appeal. The Commonwealth has appealed that decision.
Our duty is to examine the testimony to determine whether the findings of the court are supported by competent evidence, and to correct conclusions of law erroneously made. Commonwealth v. Buffin, 2 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 404, 278 A.2d 366 (1971); Commonwealth v. Halteman, 192 Pa. Superior Ct. 379, 162 A.2d 251 (1960).
The lower court justified its decision in the following words from its opinion:
"[T]he appellant asserts that he never received a traffic ticket for any such violation and that if the fine and costs were paid, they were not paid by him.
"The evidence supports the appellant's position. The Commonwealth offered no evidence other than a record showing the payment of the fine and costs by someone. There was no direct evidence that the appellant paid the fine and costs or that the appellant in fact was the ...