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RICHARD ALLEN CURTIS v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (10/05/78)

decided: October 5, 1978.

RICHARD ALLEN CURTIS, APPELLANT
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Richard Allen Curtis, Misc. No. 266-1975.

COUNSEL

Terry W. Knox, with him MacElree, Harvey, Gallagher & Kean, Ltd., 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 Wilkinson, Jr., Rogers and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers.

Author: Rogers

[ 38 Pa. Commw. Page 114]

Richard Allen Curtis has appealed from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County dismissing his appeal from the action of the Secretary

[ 38 Pa. Commw. Page 115]

    of Transportation revoking his motor vehicle operating privileges for a year. The Secretary acted pursuant to Section 616(a)(4) of The Vehicle Code, Act of April 29, 1959, P.L. 58, as amended, 75 P.S. § 616(a)(4),*fn1 after receiving a certification from the clerk of courts that Curtis had pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana in violation of Section 13(a)(16) of the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act, Act of April 14, 1972, P.L. 233, as amended, 35 P.S. § 780-113(a)(16).

There is no dispute as to the facts. On November 20, 1974, Curtis was stopped by police on account of an apparent violation of operating laws. Curtis gave the police permission to search his vehicle, during which they found a small quantity of marijuana under the passenger seat. Curtis was charged with and pleaded guilty to the crime of possessing marijuana as above recorded.

Curtis received written notice of the revocation of his operating privileges on September 16, 1975. He appealed to the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County which conducted a hearing on February 5, 1976. Its decision upholding the revocation of Curtis's operating privileges was rendered on April 28, 1977. Curtis then appealed to this Court.

Curtis first asks us to reconsider our decision in Commonwealth v. Wharrey, 26 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 508, 365 A.2d 181 (1976). There we held that Section 616(a)(4) was not violative of the equal protection rights of one who had marijuana in his vehicle but who was in fit condition to drive, because we believed that the State has a legitimate interest in preventing the operation of motor vehicles by persons then in unlawful possession of a controlled substance. Curtis

[ 38 Pa. Commw. Page 116]

    says that the Wharrey holding should be disavowed because a new Vehicle Code*fn2 enacted after the decision in that case does not provide for the revocation of the operating privileges of one who is convicted of operating a motor vehicle while in unlawful possession of a controlled substance. Clearly a decision of the Legislature to treat a course of conduct in new legislation more leniently than it had in a former superseded Act, casts no cloud on the constitutionality of the old, replaced enactment. We reaffirm our holding in ...


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