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JAMES J. MCDONOUGH v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (03/13/85)

decided: March 13, 1985.

JAMES J. MCDONOUGH, COMLY MOTORS, APPELLANT
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County in the case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. James J. McDonough, Comly Motors, No. 7576 May Term, 1982.

COUNSEL

Samuel F. Pepper, Pepper, Winderman, Gordon & Breen, P.C., for appellant.

Michael R. Deckman, Deputy Chief Counsel, with him, Spencer A. Manthorpe, Chief Counsel, and Jay C. Waldman, General Counsel, for appellee.

Judges Craig and Colins, and Senior Judge Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig. Judge Williams, Jr., did not participate in the decision in this case.

Author: Craig

[ 88 Pa. Commw. Page 180]

Petitioners James J. McDonough and Comly Motors appeal from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County in a trial de novo affirming a ruling of the Department of Transportation, Bureau of Traffic Safety, which permanently suspended McDonough as an official inspection mechanic and Comly Motors as an official inspection station, based upon a departmental finding of 104 separate instances of fraudulent recordkeeping and 104 separate instances of furnishing a certificate of inspection without an inspection. 67 Pa. Code §§ 175.51(a)(ii) and (iii) (formerly § 175.221). Because there is no factual dispute and no error of law, we affirm.

[ 88 Pa. Commw. Page 181]

Petitioner McDonough is the owner and operator of petitioner Comly Motors in Philadelphia. On February 3, 1982, Trooper Gerald Roberts of the State Police, while auditing petitioners' inspection records, found that 104 stickers, attesting that inspections had been performed, had been recorded as being issued on future dates in that month of February.

Petitioner McDonough admitted at trial that he fraudulently recorded the inspections:

However, as it appears on the inspection sheet, if I would have wrote out 102 stickers in one day and signed my name to it, I would be in a lot of trouble. So, rather than do that, I tried to space them out over a period of time, not realizing that I was running into other days. In other words, I was out-dating the inspections. I had done the inspections and, you know, dated them wrong, your honor.

Based on this admission, the trial court affirmed the administrative ruling and declined to decide, as superfluous, the question of whether the Commonwealth proved that the inspections had not been performed.

The department decision was to impose a permanent suspension for each of the two categories of offenses even though the findings page, attached to the suspension letter, stated only (a) suspensions in terms of years for 104 instances of furnishing a certificate without inspection, while imposing (b) a one-year suspension for the first instance of fraudulent recordkeeping, three years suspension for the second such instance and a permanent suspension for each of the remaining 102 counts of fraudulent recordkeeping.

In this appeal, petitioner McDonough does not dispute the fact that the state police auditor discovered 104 instances of fraudulent recordkeeping. ...


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