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ELLIOTT RICHTER v. CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION CITY PHILADELPHIA AND PHILADELPHIA POLICE DEPARTMENT (05/18/78)

decided: May 18, 1978.

ELLIOTT RICHTER, APPELLANT
v.
CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA AND PHILADELPHIA POLICE DEPARTMENT



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County in case of Elliott Richter v. Civil Service Commission of the City of Philadelphia and Philadelphia Police Department, No. 3521 September Term, 1975.

COUNSEL

L. Bruce Hoffman, with him Howard M. Goldsmith, and Rosengarten and Goldsmith, for appellant.

Agostino Cammisa, Assistant City Solicitor, with him James M. Penny, Jr., Deputy City Solicitor, and Sheldon L. Albert, City Solicitor, for appellee.

Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Blatt and DiSalle, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge DiSalle.

Author: Disalle

[ 35 Pa. Commw. Page 311]

Elliott Richter (Appellant) was employed as a police officer with the City of Philadelphia from April,

[ 35 Pa. Commw. Page 3121966]

, until his dismissal on August 30, 1974. Approximately two weeks previous to this date, the Police Commissioner of Philadelphia County sent Appellant a Notice of Intention to Dismiss, enumerating therein the charges against him. On August 25, 1974, Appellant, by writing, answered these charges and requested a departmental hearing. The Notice of Dismissal, reiterating the charges in the Notice of Intention to Dismiss, subsequently issued. Appellant then filed, on September 13, 1974, an appeal to the Civil Service Commission of Philadelphia (Commission). Hearings were held before the Commission on January 23, 1975, and on April 1, 1975. An adjudication, sustaining the Police Commissioner's action and denying Appellant's appeal, was thereupon filed by the Commission on September 15, 1975. Appellant then appealed to the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County. That Court, on September 13, 1976, denied the appeal. This appeal followed.

Appellant was dismissed for conduct unbecoming an officer. This was based upon the following: he was observed by members of the Internal Affairs Bureau in a private drinking club accepting drinks without paying for them; he permitted service and consumption of alcoholic beverages in the club after the legal closing time by failing to take action to stop such activity; he was observed associating with Darlene Cecil, a known prostitute, with whom, during the period in question, he engaged in frequent sexual relations; he engaged in sexual relations in his living room with a woman named "Diane" while Darlene Cecil looked on; and finally, that he permitted this woman (Diane) to use his home for the use of narcotics. The Commission determined that these occurrences constituted just cause for Appellant's dismissal.

[ 35 Pa. Commw. Page 313]

Section 8(b) of the Local Agency Law, Act of December 2, 1968, P.L. 1133, as amended, 53 P.S. ยง 11308, limits our scope of review in appeals from the Civil Service Commission. We must affirm the adjudication unless Appellant's constitutional rights have been violated, an error of law committed, the provisions of the Local Agency Law were violated in the proceeding before the agency, or the findings of fact are not supported by substantial evidence. Harrington v. Philadelphia Civil Service Commission, 4 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 580, 287 A.2d 912 (1972).

The Philadelphia Home Rule Charter provides:

Any dismissal or demotion after the completion of the required probationary period of service, or suspension of any employee in the civil ...


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