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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. JOHN FREEMAN (05/18/76)

decided: May 18, 1976.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, BUREAU OF TRAFFIC SAFETY
v.
JOHN FREEMAN, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Cumberland County in case of Commonwealth v. John Freeman, No. 1069 Civil 1975.

COUNSEL

Daniel E. Teeter, for appellant.

John L. Heaton, Assistant Attorney General, with him Robert W. Cunliffe, Deputy Attorney General, and Robert P. Kane, Attorney General, for appellee.

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

Author: Blatt

[ 24 Pa. Commw. Page 520]

This is an appeal by John Freeman (appellant) from a decision of the Court of Common Pleas of Cumberland County which affirmed a revocation of the appellant's motor vehicle operator's privileges by the Bureau of Traffic Safety, Department of Transportation (Bureau).

Freeman was convicted in the Court of Common Pleas of Adams County on February 6, 1974 of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquors, a violation of Section 1037 of The Vehicle Code*fn1 (Code). The Bureau notified him that his motor vehicle operating privileges were being revoked effective March 10, 1975 for one year, pursuant to Section 616 of the Code, 75 P.S. § 616(a). This section provides, inter alia, that

"[u]pon receiving a certified record, from the clerk of the court, of proceedings in which a person pleaded guilty, entered a plea of nolo contendere, or was found guilty by a judge or jury, of any of the crimes enumerated in this section, the Secretary shall forthwith revoke, for a period of one (1) year from the date of revocation, the operating privilege of any such person. . . . Cases requiring such certification follow: "(1) Operating a motor vehicle or tractor while under the influence of intoxicating liquor. . . ." (Emphasis added.)

Freeman appealed to the Court of Common Pleas of Adams County and a change of venue was later granted to the Court of Common Pleas of Cumberland County. There a hearing was held in which the court limited the introduction of evidence to establishing that: (1) the appellant was convicted of violating Section 1037 of the Code; (2) a certified record of the conviction was sent to the Bureau of Traffic Safety; and (3) the appellant's

[ 24 Pa. Commw. Page 521]

    operating privileges were revoked pursuant to Section 616 of the Code. Freeman failed to show that he was not convicted, that the certified record had not been sent or that the Secretary's records were otherwise incorrect.

Our scope of review of a lower court's affirmation of a license revocation is limited to: (1) a determination of whether or not there was substantial evidence presented to the court below which established a violation of the Code; and (2) a correction of errors of law. Martz v. Bureau of Traffic Safety, 24 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 26, 354 A.2d 266 (1976); Civitello v. Bureau of Traffic Safety, 11 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 551, 315 A.2d 666 (1974).

Freeman argues that a full de novo hearing should have been held by the lower court and cites Commonwealth v. Denham, 12 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 593, 317 A.2d 328 (1974), in support of his position. Denham, supra, dealt with a license revocation pursuant to Section 616(a)(2) of the Code,*fn2 75 P.S. § 616(a)(2), and not, as here, a revocation pursuant to Section 616(a)(1) of the Code. While the court below stated in its opinion that a de ...


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