No. 141 April Term, 1979, No. 238 April Term, 1979, No. 239 April Term, 1979, Appeals from the Orders of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Criminal Division, at CC7502030, CC7604922A, and CC7505493.
James L. Weisman, Pittsburgh, for Allegheny Mut., appellant.
Edwin J. Strassburger, Assistant County Solicitor, Pittsburgh, for Witherspoon and Westbrooks, appellants.
Dennis R. Biondo, Assistant County Solicitor, Pittsburgh, for Commonwealth, appellee.
Spaeth, Wickersham and Lipez, JJ. Spaeth, J., files a concurring statement. Lipez, J., concurs in the result.
[ 288 Pa. Super. Page 486]
Allegheny Mutual Casualty Company [hereinafter Allegheny Mutual] was a surety on a bond for each of the defendants -- Nolan, Witherspoon, and Westbrooks, in the above-captioned cases. In each case, the bond was forfeited and paid to Allegheny County upon the defendant's failure to appeal in court. All the defendants were subsequently apprehended and returned to the jurisdiction of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, and on October 12, 1978, Allegheny Mutual presented petitions for refunds of the bond forfeitures in the three cases. Following a hearing on November 8, 1978, the lower court granted Allegheny Mutual's petitions for refund of the bond forfeitures in the Witherspoon and Westbrooks cases, but denied the refund of the bond forfeiture in the Nolan case. Allegheny County appealed from the orders granting the refunds in Witherspoon and Westbrooks, and Allegheny Mutual appealed from the order denying the refund in Nolan.
Prior to the Judiciary Act Repealer Act, 42 Pa.C.S. §§ 20001-20004 [hereinafter JARA], the statutes governing the remission of bond forfeitures by order of court were as follows:
§ 171. May be sued for in court of common pleas
All recognizances forfeited in any court of quarter sessions of the peace within this commonwealth, or in the sessions held for the city of Philadelphia, shall and may be sued for and be recoverable in the court of common pleas of that county in which the said recognizances shall be forfeited respectively, which courts may, and they are hereby empowered to order the said recognizances to be levied, moderated or remitted, on hearing the circumstances
[ 288 Pa. Super. Page 487]
of the case, according to equity and their legal discretion.
Act of December 9, 1783, 2 Sm.L. 84, § 2, 8 P.S. § 171.
§ 177. Repayment on defendant's surrender
In all cases where the county commissioners of any county shall collect, or have collected, any money upon any forfeited recognizance, duly estreated to such county commissioners by the clerk of the proper court and the same has been paid into the county treasury, and where the defendant in such case subsequently surrenders himself or herself to the jurisdiction of the proper court, or is subsequently apprehended and returned to the jurisdiction of the court, the county commissioners may, (a) with the consent of the district attorney, and (b) shall upon order of court in any case, repay to the party from whom such money was collected the amount so collected on such forfeited recognizance, exclusive of all costs paid or incurred by the county in such proceeding.
Act of July 11, 1917, P.L. 802, § 1; Act of May 13, 1931, P.L. 131, § 1, 8 P.S. § 177, See Commonwealth v. Reeher, 245 Pa. Super. 282, 369 A.2d 404 (1976).
Section 171 was repealed by JARA, effective June 27, 1978, and it was replaced by 42 Pa.C.S. § 931(a) and § 5702 of the Judicial Code which provide:
§ 931. Original jurisdiction and venue
(a) General rule. -- Except where exclusive original jurisdiction of an action or proceeding is by statute or by general rule adopted pursuant to section 503 (relating to reassignment of matters) vested in another court of this Commonwealth, the courts of common pleas shall have unlimited original jurisdiction of all actions and proceedings, including all actions and proceedings heretofore cognizable by law or usage in the courts of common pleas and actions pursuant to section 5110 (relating to limited waiver of sovereign immunity).
§ 5702. Bail to be governed by general rules
Except as otherwise provided by this title and the laws relating to the regulation of ...