Appeals from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Warren County in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Quaker State Oil Refining Corporation, No. 196 of 1980.
Zelda Curtis, for Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Environmental Resources.
William A. Bevevino, for Quaker State Oil Refining Company.
President Judge Crumlish, Jr. and Judges Williams, Jr. and Doyle, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Doyle.
[ 70 Pa. Commw. Page 108]
This is an appeal by the Department of Environmental Resources (Department) from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Warren County, granting a motion to quash a criminal citation and dismiss prosecution against Quaker State Oil Refining Company (Quaker State) for violation of erosion and sedimentation control regulations promulgated pursuant to The Clean Streams Law, Act of June 22, 1937, P.L. 1987, as amended, 35 P.S. 691.1*fn1 We affirm.
[ 70 Pa. Commw. Page 109]
On July 8, 1980, a criminal citation was filed with a district justice against Quaker State by a field inspector of the Department. Following a hearing on the merits before the district justice, Quaker State was found guilty of the violation charged in the citation. Quaker State appealed the guilty verdict to the Court of Common Pleas, and filed an application to quash and dismiss the prosecution. After testimony and argument, the trial court granted Quaker State's motion. The Court reasoned that the Department field inspector was not a "police officer" within the meaning of the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure and was therefore without authority to initiate summary criminal proceedings by citation under Pa. R. Crim. P. 51 (Rule 51).
Rule 51 provides in pertinent part:
Criminal proceedings in summary cases shall be instituted in the following manner:
(a) Except as provided in subparagraphs A(3)(b) and (c), a citation shall be issued to the defendant by a police officer who shall be in uniform or display a badge or other sign of authority, when the offense charged is any other violation of an ordinance or summary offense; or
(b) A citation (rather than a complaint) shall be filed with an issuing authority by a police officer when the offense charged is any other violation of an ordinance or summary offense, when the police officer is not in uniform and does not display a badge or other sign of authority, or when it is not feasible for the police officer to issue a ...