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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. RUSSELL W. JOKI (08/03/84)

filed: August 3, 1984.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
RUSSELL W. JOKI, APPELLANT



No. 00693 PITTSBURGH, 1982, Appeal from an Order in the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, of Washington County, No. 1229 of 1980.

COUNSEL

Robert N. Clarke, Washington, for appellant.

Mark S. Riethmuller, Washington, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Cavanaugh, Popovich and Hester, JJ.

Author: Hester

[ 330 Pa. Super. Page 407]

This is an appeal from an Order entered by the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County on June 15, 1982. Appellant, Russell W. Joki, was convicted of violating a zoning ordinance of Union Township, which required that a conditional use permit be obtained for purposes of coal extraction. A fine of $300.00 dollars was imposed. Following the denial of post-verdict motions, appellant perfected this appeal.*fn1

Appellant contends the complaints were improperly instituted in the lower court. The zoning officer filed five

[ 330 Pa. Super. Page 408]

    criminal complaints pursuant to Pa.R.Crim.P. 51 A(4), which provides:

     a complaint shall be filed with an issuing authority when the affiant is not a police officer as described in Section C of this Rule. (Emphasis added).

Appellant maintains a zoning officer is a police officer and could not, therefore, institute an action by the filing of a private criminal complaint. In support of his position, appellant relies on Pa.R.Crim.P. 51 A(3)b, which provides:

     a citation shall be filed with an issuing authority by a police officer when the offense charged is any violation of an ordinance or a summary offense (emphasis added).

Appellant further contends that a zoning officer lacks the authority to initiate a criminal process and therefore the charges brought against ...


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