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RAY K. BECKER AND DOROTHY W. BECKER v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (08/07/79)

decided: August 7, 1979.

RAY K. BECKER AND DOROTHY W. BECKER, T/D/B/A CARLISLE STREET TAVERN, APPELLANTS
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, PENNSYLVANIA LIQUOR CONTROL BOARD, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of York County in case of Ray K. Becker and Dorothy W. Becker, t/d/b/a Carlisle Street Tavern v. Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, No. 95 Miscellaneous Action, 1977.

COUNSEL

Victor Dell'Alba, for appellant.

Mark Stephen Syrnick, Assistant Attorney General, and Kenneth W. Makowski, Acting Chief Counsel, for appellee.

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

Author: Crumlish, Jr.

[ 44 Pa. Commw. Page 617]

The retail liquor license of Ray K. and Dorothy W. Becker, t/d/b/a Carlisle Street Tavern, was suspended seven days by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board which found that they "their servants, agents or employees sold, furnished and/or gave liquor and/or malt or brewed beverages between the hours of two o'clock A.M. and seven o'clock A.M. on or about February 11, 1977, and/or various other occasions within the past year" in violation of Section 406(a) of the Liquor Code.*fn1 At a de novo hearing in the Court of Common Pleas of York County, the Beckers testified and the Commonwealth offered a certified copy of the transcript of the Board's hearing and cross-examined the Beckers.

We are asked to determine whether the suspension of the Becker's liquor license violated their right to due process of law.

Beckers' contention and basis of their appeal is that instead of being notified of the alleged violation

[ 44 Pa. Commw. Page 618]

    immediately, forty days elapsed, making it impossible to prepare an adequate defense.

Our well established scope of review of a trial court considering the merits of a Liquor Board Order is limited to determining whether sufficient evidence supports the Board's order, and whether the court on appeal committed an error of law or abused its discretion. In the Matter of: Quaker City Development Co., 25 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 190, 359 A.2d 835 (1976).

The Board's action followed procedure set forth in Section 471 of The Liquor Code found at 47 P.S. ยง 4-471:

Upon learning of any violation of this act . . . the board may, within one year from the date of such violation . . . cite such licensee to appear before it or its examiner . . . to show cause why such licensee would not be suspended. . . . No penalty provided by this section shall be imposed by the board or any court for any violations provided for in this act unless the enforcement officer or the board notifies the licensee of its nature and the date of the ...


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