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THOMAS P. YECKLEY v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (04/13/84)

COMMONWEALTH COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


decided: April 13, 1984.

THOMAS P. YECKLEY, SR., APPELLANT
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLEE

Appeal from the Orders of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Thomas P. Yeckley, Sr., Nos. SA 503 and 553 of 1982.

COUNSEL

James R. Fitzgerald, for appellant.

Harold H. Cramer, Assistant Counsel, with him, Spencer A. Manthorpe, Chief Counsel, and Jay C. Waldman, General Counsel, for appellee.

Judges Williams, Jr., Barry and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Palladino.

Author: Palladino

[ 81 Pa. Commw. Page 577]

Thomas P. Yeckley, Sr. (Appellant), appeals from Judge Papadakos' order dismissing his consolidated appeals which, in turn, were taken from the Department of Transportation's (Department) revocation of Yeckley's driving privileges. After carefully considering the Appellant's arguments we affirm the decision of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County.

The facts are not in dispute. The Appellant was convicted of violating Section 3731 of the Motor Vehicle Code (Code)*fn1 (driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substance), on four separate occasions. Under Section 1542 of the Code, the "habitual offender" provision,*fn2 Appellant's driving privileges were revoked for five years after his third conviction and for an additional two years following his fourth conviction. The action taken by the Department was fully consistent with ยง 1542. Indeed, the Department's action was not discretionary.*fn3

The Appellant challenges Section 1542 on constitutional grounds. His task is not an easy one as we recognize the considerable presumption in favor of

[ 81 Pa. Commw. Page 578]

    the constitutionality of legislation. Lehigh Foundations, Inc. v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, 39 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 416, 423, 395 A.2d 576, 580 (1978).

Appellant argues lack of due process and denial of equal protection. Notice and opportunity to be heard requirements of due process have been met by virtue of a de novo hearing in the court below.*fn4 Appellant's equal protection claim is equally untenable. Habitual offenders are not a suspect class nor is driving a fundamental right, thus under a rational relation standard the statute in question clearly passes constitutional muster.

Yeckley's challenge under the Eighth Amendment, that revocation is "cruel and unusual" punishment, is without foundation. We believe that such a revocation does not shock the general conscience, where the Appellant has been convicted of drunk driving on four separate occasions.*fn5

[ 81 Pa. Commw. Page 579]

Appellant cites no authority to support his contention that Section 1542(c)*fn6 is unconstitutional and his naked assertion of unconstitutionality does not justify discussion.

Order

And Now, April 13, 1984, the decision of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County dismissing the Appellant's appeal is affirmed.

Disposition

Affirmed.


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