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LAFENUS DESHIELDS v. CHESTER UPLAND SCHOOL DISTRICT (03/05/86)

decided: March 5, 1986.

LAFENUS DESHIELDS, APPELLANT
v.
CHESTER UPLAND SCHOOL DISTRICT, DELAWARE COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County in case of Lafenus DeShields v. Chester Upland School District, No. 84-3562.

COUNSEL

Sam Sims, for appellant.

Leo A. Hackett, Fronefield & deFuria, for appellee.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr., Judges Rogers, Craig, MacPhail, Doyle, Colins and Palladino. Opinion by Judge Doyle.

Author: Doyle

[ 95 Pa. Commw. Page 415]

Lafenus DeShields (Appellant) appeals from the order of the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas which affirmed the action of the Chester Upland School District (School District) terminating the employment of Appellant.

Appellant was employed as a custodian at the Chester Upland schools from 1979 to 1984. On August 2, 1983, Appellant was arrested while off-duty on criminal charges relating to possession and attempt to deliver illegal substances. On the basis of this arrest, the Superintendent of the School District suspended Appellant without pay on August 18, 1983. On September 22, 1983, a hearing was held before a committee of the School Directors, during which a Chester City police officer testified that Appellant was arrested after Appellant was found to be in possession of 115 grams of marijuana. After the hearing, the School Directors determined to continue the suspension which was already in effect.

On December 12, 1983, the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas entered an order in the criminal action to suppress the evidence obtained from Appellant during his arrest. As a result, criminal charges against Appellant were dismissed, and on February 1, 1984, the court ordered the expungement of Appellant's arrest and prosecution.

On January 30, 1984, an additional hearing was held before the School Directors to consider the termination or reinstatement of Appellant. The testimony at the prior hearing was incorporated into the record, as well as the court orders disposing of the criminal charges. The School Directors terminated Appellant's employment, finding that the evidence supported the charge that Appellant was in possession of illegal substances, and that this was a sufficient basis for termination of employment under Section

[ 95 Pa. Commw. Page 416514]

of the Public School Code of 1949 (School Code).*fn1 On appeal to the court of common pleas, the court affirmed the action of the School District, and appeal to this Court followed.

Appellant raises two issues before this Court. First, Appellant contends that his termination was in violation of his constitutional and civil rights because it was based on illegally seized evidence which had been suppressed in a criminal trial. Second, Appellant contends that the evidence presented to the School Directors was insufficient to support the actions of suspension without pay and termination under the School Code.*fn2

The legal issue presented by Appellant in this case is whether the exclusionary rule enunciated in Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643 (1961), should be applied to a civil administrative hearing relating to the ...


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