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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. ROBERT E. THOMPSON (04/19/74)

COMMONWEALTH COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


decided: April 19, 1974.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, BUREAU OF TRAFFIC SAFETY, APPELLANT,
v.
ROBERT E. THOMPSON, APPELLEE

Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County in case of Robert E. Thompson v. Jacob G. Kassab, No. 2033 of 1973.

COUNSEL

John L. Heaton, Assistant Attorney General, with him Anthony J. Maiorana, Assistant Attorney General, Robert W. Cunliffe, Deputy Attorney General, and Israel Packel, Attorney General, for appellant.

Donald T. Detnosa, for appellee.

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

Author: Crumlish

[ 13 Pa. Commw. Page 162]

On April 29, 1972, Appellee Robert E. Thompson was apprehended on Interstate 81 for driving at a speed

[ 13 Pa. Commw. Page 163]

    of 76 m.p.h. in a posted 65 m.p.h. zone, in violation of Section 1002(b)(8) of The Vehicle Code, Act of April 29, 1959, P.L. 58, as amended, 75 P.S. § 1002(b)(8). Following his conviction for this offense, the Secretary of Transportation suspended Thompson's operator's license for one (1) month pursuant to Section 618(b)(2) of The Vehicle Code, 75 P.S. § 618(b)(2). On appeal to the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County, and after a de novo hearing, the court below sustained the appeal on the ground that the suspension was excessive because, had the violation been punishable under Section 619.1 of The Vehicle Code, 75 P.S. § 619.1, Thompson would have only been assessed six points for exceeding the speed limit by 11 m.p.h.

There is no question that the lower court committed an error of law by sustaining Thompson's appeal solely on this ground. See our recent decisions in Commonwealth v. Jula, 12 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 140, 316 A.2d 681 (1974); and Commonwealth v. Huff, 10 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 261, 310 A.2d 435 (1973); Commonwealth v. Vairo, 9 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 454, 308 A.2d 159 (1973); Commonwealth v. McCartney, 2 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 540, 279 A.2d 77 (1971); Commonwealth v. Vekovius, 2 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 226, 278 A.2d 371 (1971). Rather, Appellee argues that the case be remanded to enable the court below to determine the factual question of whether there were sufficient extenuating circumstances surrounding the incident to justify his violation. We need not remand the case, however, as the record clearly establishes that the Commonwealth has made out a prima facie case, and the mitigating circumstances presented, even if given full credence, would not afford the lower court a basis to reverse the suspension.*fn1

[ 13 Pa. Commw. Page 164]

Accordingly, we reverse the order of the court below, and direct the Secretary of Transportation to reinstate the one month period of suspension.

Disposition

Reversed. Suspension order reinstated.


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