Original Jurisdiction in case of Anthony Szymanski v. Allegheny County Court Criminal Division and Court Administrator.
Anthony Szymanski, petitioner, for himself.
Paul J. Gelman, with him Charles W. Johns, for respondents.
Judges Blatt, Williams, Jr. and Doyle, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Doyle.
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Petitioner, Anthony Szymanski, filed a complaint for civil damages under our original jurisdiction, alleging that his constitutional rights were violated during a criminal proceeding in which he was convicted and sentenced for robbery and murder. The preliminary objections of Respondents, Allegheny County Court and Court Administrator, are now before us. We find that we cannot reach the merits of these preliminary objections because this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction.
A careful examination of Petitioner's complaint reveals that the action is essentially one in trespass, based upon allegations that Respondents' negligence resulted in violations of Petitioner's constitutional rights. Section 761 of the Judicial Code, 42 Pa. C.S. § 761, states, in pertinent part:
(a) General Rule. -- The Commonwealth Court shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions or proceedings:
(1) Against the Commonwealth Government, including any officer thereof, acting in his official capacity, except:
(v) actions or proceedings in the nature of trespass as to which the Commonwealth government
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formerly enjoyed sovereign or other immunity and actions or proceedings in the nature of assumpsit relating to such actions or proceedings in the nature of trespass.
Under this section it is clear that the Commonwealth Court's original jurisdiction does not extend to the present action in trespass against the Allegheny ...