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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. ROBERT A. MEYER (06/12/81)

filed: June 12, 1981.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA,
v.
ROBERT A. MEYER, APPELLANT



No. 341 April Term, 1979, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Civil Division, at No. SA-1130 of 1978

COUNSEL

John P. Tobin, Jr., Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Kemal Alexander Mericli, Assistant District Attorney, Pittsburgh, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Price, Brosky and Montgomery, JJ. Price, J., dissents.

Author: Brosky

[ 288 Pa. Super. Page 63]

Robert A. Meyer has appealed from the lower court's affirmance of his conviction by a magistrate,*fn1 of the summary offense of public drunkenness.*fn2 The central issue for our determination is whether, under the facts presented, appellant's conduct constituted public drunkenness within the statutory definition of the offense. The lower court found that appellant's conduct constituted public drunkenness and that his arrest for that offense was proper. We reverse.

Appellant's central contention is that the Commonwealth failed to prove that his conduct fit within the statutory definition of public drunkenness and that therefore his conviction should be reversed.

The facts are as follows. On August 7, 1978, at approximately 10:30 p. m., appellant, a sixty-year old man, entered V.F.W. Post 118 in Millvale, Pennsylvania. He had been a member of the V.F.W. for approximately thirty-five years. He sat down and ordered a Pepsi-Cola from the stewardess, Mrs. Mueller, placing a dollar bill on the bar for the drink, which was collected by Mrs. Mueller, who thereafter placed his change on the bar. While she was on the telephone, Mrs. Mueller heard Mr. Meyer complain loudly that he had been

[ 288 Pa. Super. Page 64]

    overcharged. She testified that she had overcharged him a nickel.

Although the testimony is conflicting it appears from the record that appellant and Mrs. Mueller exchanged angry words, and that Mrs. Mueller then asked her husband, the Commander of the club, to call the police.

The lower court found that, during the dispute, appellant became very loud and abusive. A few minutes later, two Millvale police officers arrived. Both officers testified that upon entering the club, they approached Mr. Meyer and told him he was going to have to leave. After speaking to him for a few minutes, they escorted him outside. Once outside, ...


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