NO. 378 HARRISBURG 1983, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas of York County, at No. 234 SCA 1981.
Roy L. Jannenga, appellant, in propria persona.
Clyde W. Vedder, Assistant District Attorney, York, for Commonwealth, appellee.
Del Sole, Popovich and Roberts, JJ.
[ 335 Pa. Super. Page 78]
On August 29, 1981 the Appellant was issued a citation for violation of section 3362(a)(2) of the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code, 75 Pa.C.S. § 3362(a)(2), a summary offense. Appellant pleaded not guilty and was convicted on October 1, 1981 by a district justice. Appellant then filed a timely de novo appeal of the summary conviction with the court of common pleas, but was again convicted on April 7, 1982. The trial court set a fine of $41.00 plus costs, but deferred sentencing pending post-trial motions. On April 14, 1982 Appellant filed a motion to have pre-trial motions heard which in effect constituted post-trial motions.
Nothing further happened in the case until September 1, 1983 when Appellant filed a motion to dismiss the charges against him because the proceedings in the case had not been completed within two years. On September 16, 1983 the trial court filed an opinion and order dismissing Appellant's motions of April 14, 1982 and September 1, 1983, and sentenced Appellant to a fine of $41.00 plus costs. However, the trial court did not address in its opinion the specific issue raised by Appellant in his September 1, 1983 motion to dismiss.
[ 335 Pa. Super. Page 79]
A hearing was held on September 26, 1983 at which time Appellant asked the court why his case had not been resolved within two years from the date of the offense. The trial court responded that the delay was caused by the court, not by the Commonwealth, and thus entered another order dismissing Appellant's September 1, 1983 motion to dismiss, which it had apparently already dismissed by its September 16, 1983 order. Appellant then filed this timely appeal from the judgment of sentence imposed by the trial court on September 16, 1983.
Appellant raises several issues before this Court, however, our disposition of the instant appeal rests solely on our resolution of the following issue simply stated by Appellant: Was the court in error in holding proceedings subsequent to two years after the commission of the offense? We find the answer to be yes, and accordingly vacate the judgment of sentence and discharge Appellant.
The statute relevant to the instant appeal is found at 42 Pa.C.S. § 5553, the section of the Pennsylvania Judicial Code which provides the limitation periods for summary offenses under Title 75 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, or the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code. Subsections (a) and (b) under section 5553 set forth the time periods within which summary proceedings must be commenced. Subsection (c) provides a limited exception to those time periods in case of reasonable mistake in the identity of the offender. Subsection (d) merely provides that overtime parking violations are governed by local ordinances. Finally, subsection (e) provides that no proceedings shall be held or action taken pursuant to a summary offense under Title 75 subsequent to two years after the commission of the offense. It is the latter provision that Appellant claims was violated in the instant case.
A review of the reported case law in this Commonwealth reveals only one case in which the specific argument raised by Appellant is discussed. In Lewis v. Commonwealth, 73 Pa. Commw. 607, 458 A.2d 1053 (1983), the defendant's ...