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JEROME MCFADDEN v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (05/05/88)

decided: May 5, 1988.

JEROME MCFADDEN, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, PENNSYLVANIA STATE POLICE, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania State Deputy Police Commissioner, in the case of Pennsylvania State Police v. Trooper Jerome McFadden, In Re Court Martial Proceedings, dated March 24, 1987.

COUNSEL

Gary M. Lightman, for petitioner.

Joseph S. Rengert, Chief Counsel, for respondent.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr., and Judges Doyle, Barry, Colins, Palladino, McGinley and Smith. Opinion by Judge Doyle.

Author: Doyle

[ 115 Pa. Commw. Page 636]

Before us for review is an order of the Deputy Commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police which dismissed Trooper Jerome McFadden from his position with the State Police.

Pursuant to an agreement between the parties, analogous to a plea bargaining agreement, McFadden admitted to using drugs while off duty, failure to conform to the laws of the Commonwealth, and conduct unbecoming an officer. In return, certain other charges were dismissed by the trial judge advocate with the understanding that both the Court Martial Board (Board) and

[ 115 Pa. Commw. Page 637]

    the Deputy Commissioner were free to recommend and impose whatever disciplinary sanctions they deemed to be appropriate. The Board, in reviewing the evidence, made a recommendation that McFadden be dismissed. This recommendation was adopted by the Deputy Commissioner, and this appeal ensued.

Prior to considering McFadden's argument, an explanation of certain background information is necessary. During the time an investigation of McFadden's case was occurring, the late Colonel John K. Schafer was promoted from Director of the Bureau of Professional Responsibility to Commissioner of the State Police. Further, Ronald M. Sharpe, who had originally been a member of McFadden's Board, was promoted to Deputy Commissioner. On February 3, 1987, upon receiving this appointment and prior to the time the court martial proceedings began, Sharpe withdrew from the Board and McFadden selected another individual as his representative on the Board. The Board was convened on February 24, 1987. On March 23, 1987, Schafer, in a written notice, delegated his authority to decide the case to Deputy Commissioner Sharpe because, in his former position as Director of the Bureau of Professional Responsibility, Schafer had received and reviewed investigative reports pertaining to the charges filed against McFadden. Sharpe, therefore, was the individual who decided the case.

On appeal here, McFadden raises several arguments for our consideration which we shall examine seriatim. Our scope of review of the Deputy Commissioner's order is limited to determining whether there has been a constitutional violation or an error of law and whether the necessary findings of fact are supported by substantial evidence. Section 704 of the Administrative Agency Law, 2 Pa. C. S. ยง 704.

McFadden first argues that the Commissioner had no authority to delegate his ...


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