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HERMAN H. RECHT v. ALLEGHENY COUNTY DEPARTMENT HEALTH (08/18/83)

decided: August 18, 1983.

HERMAN H. RECHT, APPELLANT
v.
ALLEGHENY COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in the case of Allegheny County Health Department v. Herman Recht, No. SA 675, 1981; Violation -- Art. VI Health Dept. Sec., 628A, 622, 632, 623, 625, 632, 630, 639, 624, 638, 634, and 631, Citation No. S-111-H-81.

COUNSEL

Herman Recht, appellant, for himself.

James H. McLean, County Solicitor, with him, Timothy W. Pawol, Special Assistant County Solicitor, for appellee.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr., and Judges Williams, Jr., and Doyle, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Williams, Jr.

Author: Williams

[ 76 Pa. Commw. Page 432]

Appellant, defendant below, appeals from an order of the Court of Allegheny County adjudging defendant to be guilty of a summary offense involving numerous violations of Allegheny County Health Department (Department) housing regulations and imposing a $200 fine plus costs. We affirm.

[ 76 Pa. Commw. Page 433]

Appellant is the owner and lessor of a two story apartment building situate in Clairton, Pennsylvania. After repeated Departmental inspections of the premises revealed Appellant's continuing noncompliance with certain Department housing regulations, the District Justice, upon the issuance of a private criminal complaint, found Appellant guilty and levied a $200 fine with costs in a summary proceeding. Upon appeal, the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, after conducting a hearing de novo, adjudged defendant to be guilty of violating provisions of Department regulations at Article VI, entitled "Houses and Rooming Houses," and imposed a $200 penalty plus costs. Defendant timely appealed to this Court.*fn1

In his pro se brief Appellant solely contends that the trial court erred in disallowing Appellant the defense of alleged tenant-induced damage to the rental property, such damage purportedly constituting some of the violations of Department housing regulations. Even assuming Appellant's allegations regarding tenant contributions to the housing violations are true, neither the enabling statute nor the local regulations promulgated thereunder require criminal intent to be a necessary element of the summary offense committed by Appellant.

The Department's housing regulations are promulgated pursuant to Section 12010(f) of the Local Health Administration Law (Law),*fn2 16 P.S. § 12010(f), which provides that county departments of health "shall make and enforce such rules and regulations . . . as may be necessary for the promotion and preservation

[ 76 Pa. Commw. Page 434]

    of the public health." The penalty provision, Section 12027(a) of the Law, 16 P.S. § 12027(a), provides in part:

(a) Summary Offenses. Any person who violates any of the provisions of this act or any rule or regulation of the county department of health . . . shall . . . upon conviction . . . in a summary proceeding . . . be sentenced to pay the costs of prosecution and a fine of not less than thirty dollars ($30) nor more than three hundred dollars ($300), and, in default ...


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