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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. JOSEPH STAFFORD (01/12/77)

decided: January 12, 1977.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, BUREAU OF TRAFFIC SAFETY
v.
JOSEPH STAFFORD, APPELLANT. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, BUREAU OF TRAFFIC SAFETY V. WILLIAM J. PALO, APPELLANT



Appeals from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County in cases of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Joseph Stafford, No. 909 August Term, 1975; and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. William J. Palo, No. 910 August Term, 1975.

COUNSEL

Stanley A. Uhr, with him James D. Rosen, Walter Lazaroff, and Pechner, Dorfman, Wolffe & Rounick, for appellants.

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

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

Author: Blatt

[ 28 Pa. Commw. Page 158]

Joseph Stafford and William J. Palo bring separate appeals to this Court from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County which upheld one-year suspensions of Stafford's Certificate of Appointment to operate a motor vehicle inspection

[ 28 Pa. Commw. Page 159]

    station and of Palo's Certification as an Official Inspection Mechanic. These appeals relate to the same incident and have been consolidated before this Court.

After a hearing de novo on the Bureau of Traffic Safety's suspension orders, the lower court issued a memorandum opinion concluding that Stafford and Palo had violated Section 819(f) of The Vehicle Code*fn1 (Code) which then provided, in part:

(f) It shall be unlawful for any person to furnish, give or sell to any owner or operator of a motor vehicle, trailer or semi-trailer, or to any other person, or to place in or on any such vehicle a certificate of inspection and approval, unless an official inspection of its mechanism and equipment shall have been made, and the vehicle conforms with the provisions of this act. It shall be unlawful for any such designated official inspection station to furnish, loan, give or sell a certificate or certificates of inspection and approval to any other such designated official inspection station or any other persons, except those entitled to receive them under the provisions of this act.

[ 28 Pa. Commw. Page 160]

In cases in which the court of common pleas is the fact-finder, our scope of review is limited to a determination of whether or not the court based its findings of fact on substantial evidence or committed an error of law. Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Bureau of Traffic Safety v. Kobaly, 22 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 46, 347 A.2d 759 (1975). Although the court below failed to make specific findings and conclusions of law, as we have directed should be done in vehicle inspection cases, Pennsylvania Department Page 160} of Transportation, Bureau of Traffic Safety v. Verna, 23 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 260, 351 A.2d 694 (1976), its opinion includes statements which constitute findings and we do not believe, therefore, that it is necessary here to remand. See Commonwealth v. Marini, 25 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 207, 360 A.2d 263 (1976).

The charges of unlawfully furnishing motor vehicle inspection stickers arose from a State Police investigation which revealed that Herbert Watson, General Manager of Stafford's Auto Body, Inc., had affixed inspection certificates to three automobiles although he was not certified to do so. Watson admitted that without authorization from the owner, Joseph Stafford, or from the only certified mechanic, William Palo, he had taken the stickers and had instructed the secretary-bookkeeper to record their use on the official TS431 report form using ...


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