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MARY J. PFEIFFER v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (03/14/88)

decided: March 14, 1988.

MARY J. PFEIFFER, APPELLANT
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, BUREAU OF DRIVER LICENSING, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County, in the case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation, Bureau of Driver Licensing v. Mary J. Pfeiffer, No. 86-372.

COUNSEL

Ronald I. Kaplan, for appellant.

Donald H. Poorman, Assistant Counsel, with him, Harold H. Cramer, Assistant Counsel, and John L. Heaton, Chief Counsel, for appellee.

Judges Craig and Doyle, and Senior Judge Narick, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Doyle.

Author: Doyle

[ 114 Pa. Commw. Page 391]

This is an appeal of Mary J. Pfeiffer (Licensee) from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County dismissing her appeal from a six month revocation of her operating privileges pursuant to Section 1543(b) of the Vehicle Code, 75 Pa. C.S. ยง 1543(b).*fn1

Licensee's operating privileges were revoked by the Department of Transportation (DOT) for a period of six months for driving while her license was suspended. She appealed her suspension on January 9, 1986 to the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County where a de novo hearing was held on June 2, 1986. That court correctly dismissed the appeal and an appeal to this Court followed.

In her brief, Licensee contends that DOT failed to meet its burden of proof by failing to introduce into the record evidence as to the outcome of her appeal from

[ 114 Pa. Commw. Page 392]

    the underlying summary conviction at the District Justice level. And, in an appeal to the court of common pleas from a suspension of a driver's operating privileges, the initial burden of proof is on DOT to produce a record of the convictions which support the suspension. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Traffic Safety v. Stiver, 100 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 573, 515 A.2d 99 (1986). The record here shows that DOT introduced the record of Licensee's conviction for a violation on March 21, 1985 of Section 1543(a) (driving while under suspension) before a district justice on August 23, 1985. We therefore find that substantial evidence existed to support the trial court's finding that DOT did, in fact, meet its burden.

Once DOT produced these records, the burden of production then shifted to Licensee to rebut any inferences drawn from these records. Stiver. Licensee, however, presented absolutely no evidence whatsoever to rebut DOT's case, but merely argued to the trial judge that an appeal from the underlying summary conviction had been filed. Counsel for Licensee produced no documentation that such an appeal was ever taken or filed, despite the fact that such documentation was in the criminal records in the very same courthouse. Instead, the following colloquy transpired:

THE COURT: All right. Mr. Kaplan, you want to get yourself on the record?

MR. KAPLAN: Yes, Your Honor. Ronald I. Kaplan, K-a-p-l-a-n, for the Defendant. I would state for the record that that conviction of August, ...


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