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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. ZOE ANN BREITEGAN (03/21/80)

filed: March 21, 1980.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
ZOE ANN BREITEGAN, APPELLANT



No. 626 October Term, 1979, Appeal from the Order entered February 22, 1979, by the Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Criminal Division, at No. 1707 of 1978.

COUNSEL

John F. Pyfer, Jr., Lancaster, for appellant.

John A. Kenneff, Assistant District Attorney, Lancaster, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Price, Van der Voort and Wieand,*fn* JJ.

Author: Wieand

[ 276 Pa. Super. Page 182]

This is an appeal from an order which denied a motion to quash an information charging appellant with misdemeanors arising out of a fatal accident where the complaints on which the information was predicated had been filed after appellant had entered pleas of guilty to three summary offenses arising out of the same accident. We reverse.

On July 4, 1978, Zoe Ann Breitegan was involved in a two-car collision in the City of Lancaster. The driver of the other vehicle was killed, and Ms. Breitegan was hospitalized in critical condition. On July 19, 1978, fifteen days after the accident, Ms. Breitegan was cited for three Motor Vehicle

[ 276 Pa. Super. Page 183]

Code violations*fn1 before District Justice John S. Alexander. Misdemeanor charges were also contemplated by investigating police, but they were delayed, after consultation with a representative of the District Attorney's office, because of Ms. Breitegan's critical condition and because of a continuing police investigation. In order to alert the magistrate to the additional charges, each citation was marked: "DO NOT DISPOSE OF-COMPANION CASE." In addition, a separate letter requested the magistrate not to dispose of the traffic citations because a misdemeanor charge was to be filed. John F. Pyfer, Jr., Esquire, was counsel for Ms. Breitegan, and his office advised the magistrate to set a date for a hearing on the summary traffic charges and posted the required cash bail. On August 10, 1978, however, Pyfer delivered to the magistrate signed guilty pleas and requested him to take the fines and costs from the cash bail previously deposited. There was a discussion between Pyfer and the magistrate about additional charges, and both were of the opinion that the guilty pleas would bar subsequent misdemeanor charges against the same defendant. The magistrate accepted the guilty pleas because he thought the police had had adequate time in which to file additional criminal complaints.

The guilty pleas were entered without knowledge thereof by the police or the District Attorney. When officials learned that the guilty pleas had been entered, complaints charging involuntary manslaughter, homicide by vehicle, and driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor were promptly prepared and filed on August 23, 1978. Preliminary hearings were held, and the criminal actions were returned to court. A motion to quash an information containing the three misdemeanor charges was heard and denied by the court. This appeal followed.*fn2

[ 276 Pa. Super. Page 184]

Appellant contends that the decision in Commonwealth v. Campana*fn3 and the provisions of 18 Pa.C.S. ยง 110 require that we reverse the trial court and quash the information charging her with misdemeanors. The decision in Campana, as the Supreme Court observed in its second opinion, is consistent with Section 110 of the Crimes Code, which became effective after the first Campana decision. Commonwealth v. ...


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