NO. 2432 PHILADELPHIA, 1980, NO. 2728 PHILADELPHIA, 1980, Appeal from the Orders of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Criminal at Misc. Nos. 80-912320 and 80-915243.
Alan Sacks, Assistant District Attorney, Philadelphia, for Commonwealth, appellant.
Mead S. Spurio, Philadelphia, for McMillan, appellee.
Joseph M. Smith, Philadelphia, for Manchester, appellee.
Spaeth, Johnson and Beck, JJ. Spaeth, J., files dissenting opinion.
[ 319 Pa. Super. Page 60]
The Commonwealth appeals from two orders of the court of common pleas, Philadelphia County, which granted private detective licenses to Rosborough J. McMillan, Jr. and Michael J. Manchester. The Commonwealth claims that it was error to grant the private detective licenses because McMillan and Manchester have been convicted of felonies in federal court in this state, and therefore are ineligible for licenses under the Private Detective Act, 22 P.S. §§ 11-30.*fn1 We agree, and therefore reverse the orders of the lower court.
[ 319 Pa. Super. Page 61]
The Private Detective Act regulates those engaged in various investigative activities of a broad range, including criminal activity, the credibility of witnesses, evidence to be used at judicial proceedings, and other endeavors which require a high level of moral responsibility and absolute reliability. The Act itself confers authority on the court of quarter sessions or the district attorney to assure that applicants are of "good character, competency, and integrity" (22 P.S. § 16[a]).
The purpose of the statute is explained in In re Sentry Security, Inc., 259 Pa. Super. 385, 393 A.2d 880 (1978), aff'd, 490 Pa. 578, 417 A.2d 190 (1980). Quoting Application for Harding, 246 Pa. Super. 180, 369 A.2d 871 (1977) the Sentry Security Court observed tht "[T]he qualifications required by [the Act] were designed to make sure that only people of good character, integrity, and competency could obtain a license" (259 Pa. Super. at 392, 393 A.2d at 884).
Section 16(b) of the Private Detective Act clearly states that "no . . . license shall be issued to any person who has been convicted in this State or any other state or territory of a felony . . . ." McMillan and Manchester have been convicted of felonies in federal court in Pennsylvania.
McMillan was convicted in the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania for a violation of 18 U.S.C.A. § 241. McMillan, then a Philadelphia police detective, and his co-conspirators were guilty of the illegal detention of eight people. Manchester was convicted in the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania for violations of 18 U.S.C.A. §§ 1961, 1962(c), 1963; 26 U.S.C.A. 7206(1), racketeering, conspiracy, mail fraud and filing false tax returns.
Manchester had received a private detective license in 1957 which expired in 1980. McMillan, dismissed from the Philadelphia Police Department because of his conviction, applied for a private detective license at about the same time that Manchester petitioned for a renewal of ...