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GERALD HUGH LIEBLER v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (06/18/84)

decided: June 18, 1984.

GERALD HUGH LIEBLER, APPELLANT
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Butler County in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Gerald Hugh Liebler, Ms. Docket No. 83-003, Book 43, Page 125.

COUNSEL

James P. Coulter, Dillon, McCandless & King, for appellant.

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

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

Author: Palladino

[ 83 Pa. Commw. Page 271]

Gerald Hugh Liebler (Appellant), appeals here from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Butler County which dismissed his license suspension appeal without a hearing. We reverse and remand for a de novo hearing.

On January 3, 1983, Appellant was notified by the Department of Transportation's Bureau of Traffic

[ 83 Pa. Commw. Page 272]

Safety (Department) that his driver's license would be suspended for five years under the habitual offenders provision of the Vehicle Code (Code), 75 Pa. C.S. § 1542. Appellant had accumulated two convictions and one Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) offense, all under Section 3731 of the Code.*fn1

On January 25, 1983 Appellant appealed the suspension to the court of common pleas, pursuant to 75 Pa. C.S. § 1550. Appellant, on January 24, 1983, had also filed a petition with that court to have his ARD records expunged, in light of his successful completion of the ARD program.*fn2

In a memorandum opinion dated January 26, 1983, the court below summarily dismissed both the appeal and the expunction petition, without a hearing in either case. This appeal followed.*fn3

This Court's scope of review of a common pleas court's decision in a license suspension case is limited to determining whether the findings of the court below are supported by competent evidence, whether there has been an erroneous conclusion of law or whether the common pleas court's decision demonstrates a manifest abuse of discretion. Waigand v. Commonwealth, 68 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 541, 543, 449 A.2d 862, 864 (1982).

The only issue presented for our consideration here is whether the court below erred as a matter of law in refusing to grant a hearing ...


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