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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. ONE (1) 1971 FORD LTD (11/22/76)

decided: November 22, 1976.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
ONE (1) 1971 FORD LTD, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, Of Lehigh County, at No. 8-M of 1975. No. 1122 October Term, 1975.

COUNSEL

Jerry A. Snyder, Allentown, for appellant.

Joseph V. Huber, Assistant District Attorney, and George J. Joseph, District Attorney, Allentown, for appellee.

Watkins, P. J., Cercone, Price and Van der Voort, JJ. Jacobs, Hoffman and Spaeth, JJ., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case.

Author: Watkins

[ 245 Pa. Super. Page 304]

This is an appeal from the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh County, ordering the forfeiture of a 1971 Ford LTD under the provision of the Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act, 35 P.S. § 780-128(a)(4). That portion of the act provides, inter alia:

"(a) The following shall be subject to forfeiture to the Commonwealth and no property right shall exist in them: . . .

(4) All conveyances, including aircraft, vehicles or vessels, which are used or are intended for use, to transport, or in any manner to facilitate the transportation, sale, receipt, possession, or concealment of property described in clause (1) or (2) except that: . . .

(ii) no conveyance shall be forfeited under the provisions of this section by reason of any act or omission established by the owner thereof to have been committed or omitted without his knowledge or consent; . . .

(iv) no conveyance shall be forfeited under this section for violation of clauses (16) and (31) of subsection (a) of section 13."

The owner of the forfeited vehicle, Dennis Shelanick, and his brother, James, went into a bar known as the Hofbrau Haus in Catasauqua, Lehigh County. The record states that while there, James met two men and discussed the sale of hashish. One of the men was an undercover state policeman, the other an undercover local policeman. The evidence is that the meeting was arranged

[ 245 Pa. Super. Page 305]

    in advance. After some discussion about the quality of the product, James went over to Dennis and they proceeded to the car. Dennis drove while the other three and an unidentified fourth person concluded the drug deal, which ended with the delivery of 6 grams of hashish and marijuana. James and Dennis were in the front seat while the other three were in the back of the car. There is conflicting testimony as to whether Dennis had knowledge of the proposed sale. The state trooper, Officer Karavan testified that he asked Dennis if the "stuff" was good and that Dennis had replied "It will really get you high. It's good stuff." The other officer testified that he heard no such conversation. Dennis testified he thought he was going to ...


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