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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. TIMOTHY JAMES MCVAY (02/14/86)

decided: February 14, 1986.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, BUREAU OF TRAFFIC SAFETY, APPELLANT
v.
TIMOTHY JAMES MCVAY, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of McKean County in the case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation, Bureau of Traffic Safety Operations v. Timothy James McVay, No. 643 Civil of 1982.

COUNSEL

Kenneth E. Kendell, Assistant Counsel, with him, Harold H. Cramer, Assistant Counsel, Spencer A. Manthorpe, Chief Counsel, and Jay C. Waldman, General Counsel, for appellant.

No appearance for appellee.

Judges MacPhail, Doyle and Barry, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Barry.

Author: Barry

[ 95 Pa. Commw. Page 155]

This appeal stems from an order of the McKean County Court of Common Pleas which reversed the Department of Transportation's (DOT) driver's license suspension of the appellee, Timothy James McVay. We must determine whether the trial court committed error in reversing the suspension.

The appellee was cited on July 7, 1980 by Bradford City police for fleeing or attempting to elude a

[ 95 Pa. Commw. Page 156]

    police officer. Thereafter, the appellee visited the District Justice's office and arranged to begin paying off the fine which accompanied the citation. Following satisfaction of the penalty, and some undetermined time thereafter, the District Justice on April 23, 1982 certified the conviction to DOT, which promptly mailed to the appellee a Notice of Suspension. The six month suspension was imposed pursuant to section 1532(b) of the Vehicle Code, which mandates such a suspension following conviction under the "fleeing or eluding" charge.

In the trial court, the appellee was successful in having the suspension overturned. The court, noting (1) that there was a deficiency of evidence to support the conviction; (2) that a two-year delay was involved; and (3) that the defendant was never afforded an opportunity to be heard, concluded that the suspension could not stand. DOT has appealed the latter ruling.

Our review in the present appeal is, of course, limited, since the only issues in a license suspension case are "whether the licensee was in fact convicted and whether the Bureau has acted in accordance with applicable law." Department of Transportation, Bureau of Traffic Safety v. Valentine, 71 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 8, 10, 453 A.2d 742, 743 (1982). We find that sufficient evidence supports appellee's conviction, and that DOT has acted according to its statutory mandate. We therefore reverse.

In so ruling we have rejected the trial court's conclusion that the evidence of the underlying conviction was deficient. This conclusion was premised on the fact that the reproduction of the citation which purported to bear notation of the appellee's conviction was so poor as to make the document illegible. The citation is admittedly blurred; one cannot discern with clarity ...


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