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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. FRANK R. ZOKAITES (04/06/87)

submitted: April 6, 1987.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA,
v.
FRANK R. ZOKAITES, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, of Allegheny County at No. S.A. 812 of 1984.

COUNSEL

Elaine V. Preston, Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Dara A. DeCourcy, Assistant District Attorney, Pittsburgh, for Com., appellee.

Kelly, Popovich and Watkins, JJ.

Author: Popovich

[ 365 Pa. Super. Page 22]

This is an appeal from the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County finding the appellant, Frank R. Zokaites, guilty of the summary offense of passing a school bus stopped with its red lights flashing. We reverse.

On January 19, 1984, the appellant was issued citations for disorderly conduct (18 Pa.C.S. § 5503(a)(2) & (3)) and overtaking a school bus when its red signals were flashing (75 Pa.C.S. § 3345(a)).

After a preliminary hearing in which the district magistrate found that the prosecution had established the appellant's guilt as to both charges, an appeal to the Court of Common Pleas was perfected by the appellant pursuant to Pa.R.Crim.P. 63(b)(3). At the trial de novo, the officer issuing the citations on the complaint of a Ms. Priscilla Schneider testified as to the events surrounding the charges. Ms. Schneider also testified.

The appellant took the stand and refuted the facts concerning his circumvention of a school bus while its lights were flashing to indicate that children were boarding.

No verdict was entered in open court by the trial judge at the completion of the May 29, 1986 trial. Rather, a "form" order of court was issued on May 30, 1986 adjudging the appellant guilty of violating 75 Pa.C.S. § 3345(a). The fine and costs imposed were deferred to those issued by the district magistrate. Thus, no amount was fixed on the face of the order. Also, the order proceeded to advise the appellant of his Pa.R.Crim.P. 1123 rights, his right to the assistance of counsel, that the sentence imposed was being "suspended" pending the filing of post-trial motions and

[ 365 Pa. Super. Page 23]

    that the accused had 30 days from the date of the order to file an appeal if no motions were submitted on his behalf.*fn1

Hand-written post-trial motions seeking an arrest of judgment were filed on June 9, 1986. Oral argument followed and resulted in the denial of said ...


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