Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. LOUIS DEFUSCO (05/16/88)

submitted: May 16, 1988.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
LOUIS DEFUSCO, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order entered December 12, 1987 in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Criminal Division, at No. MISC NO. 86-920250.

COUNSEL

Mary DeFusco, Conshohocken, for appellant.

Donna G. Zucker, Assistant District Attorney, Philadelphia, for Com., appellee.

Cavanaugh, Montgomery and Hoffman, JJ.

Author: Hoffman

[ 378 Pa. Super. Page 444]

This appeal is from a judgment of sentence for violating § 3362 of the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code, 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 101 et seq. Appellant contends that 1) the Delaware River Port Authority has promulgated and implemented a regulation permitting the use of electronic speed devices by its officers in contravention of a state law that limits the use of electronic speed devices to the Pennsylvania State Police, 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 3368(c); 2) the lower court erred in admitting evidence of his speed based upon the reading from the electronic device employed by the Delaware River Port Authority police officer; and 3) the Delaware River Port Authority exceeded the scope of its jurisdiction by monitoring traffic on a state highway. For the reasons set forth below, we reverse the judgment of sentence.*fn1

On October 6, 1986, a Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA) officer, positioned in Pennsylvania approximately one mile west of the Walt Whitman Bridge, observed appellant's vehicle exiting the bridge. The DRPA officer, using an electronic speed-timing device, determined that appellant was traveling at a speed of fifty-nine miles per hour in a posted forty-five mile per hour zone. Appellant was issued a citation for speeding in violation of 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 3362(a)(3). After a hearing in Philadelphia Traffic Court, appellant was convicted of the violation and sentenced to pay a fine. Appellant appealed the summary conviction to the Court of Common Pleas. Following a de novo trial,

[ 378 Pa. Super. Page 445]

    appellant was adjudged guilty of violating § 3362(a)(3). Post-trial motions were filed, argued, and denied. Appellant was then sentenced to pay a fine. This appeal followed.

Appellant initially contends that the lower court improperly admitted into evidence a reading that was obtained through the use of an electronic speed device employed by a DRPA officer. Appellant argues that the DRPA has implemented a regulation that permits its officers to use electronic speed devices even though the state legislature has enacted a statute specifically restricting the use of such equipment to the Pennsylvania State Police. According to appellant, this action is directly contrary to express legislative intent. Appellant argues that the DRPA has circumvented the legislature's intent by promulgating a rule that extends the use of electronic speed devices to its officers, even though it is clearly evident that § 3368(b) prohibits the use of electronic speed devices to other than Pennsylvania State Police. Because the arresting officer was not a member of the State Police, appellant contends the use of the radar unit was unauthorized and requires that his conviction be reversed. We agree.

In determining the effect of an administrative regulation promulgated by the DRPA, we must ultimately review the administrative regulation in question to ensure it is in accordance with the enabling statute. It is well-settled that an administrative regulation must be consistent with the statute under which it was promulgated. Wiley House v. Scanlon, 502 Pa. 228, 237, 465 A.2d 995, 999 (1983) (Department of Education regulation not inconsistent with Public School Act); Commonwealth, Dep't of Pub. Welfare v. Forbes Health Sys., 492 Pa. 77, 81, 422 A.2d 480, 482 (1980) (Department of Public Welfare's medical assistance regulations consistent with enabling statute). Moreover, when there exists an apparent inconsistency or conflict between a statute and a regulation promulgated thereunder, the statute must prevail. Tiani v. Commonwealth, Dep't of Pub. Welfare, 86 Pa. Commw. 640, 642, 486 A.2d 1016, 1017 (1985)

[ 378 Pa. Super. Page 446]

(regulation purporting to implement statutory provisions not conflicting with enabling statute).

In interpreting a statute, we are guided by the Statutory Construction Act, 1 Pa.C.S.A. § 101 et seq. Section 1921 of the Statutory Construction provides that "[w]hen words of a statute are clear and free from all ambiguity, the letter of it is not to be disregarded under the pretext of pursuing its spirit." 1 Pa.C.S.A. § 1921(b). Thus, if the language of a statute is clear and unambiguous, a court must read its provisions in accordance with their plain meaning and common usage. Commonwealth v. Becker, 366 Pa. Super. 54, 58, 530 A.2d 888, 890 (1987) (en banc).

Aside from statutory interpretive guidelines, we may also look to general principles of statutory construction. One such principle is encompassed in the legal maxim, expressio unius est exclusio alterius: that which is not included in the law shall be understood as excluded in the law. Grant v. Riverside Corp., 364 Pa. Super. 593, 599, 528 A.2d 962, 965 (1987); Commonwealth ex rel. Maurer v. Witkin, 344 Pa. 191, 196, 25 A.2d 317, 319 (1942). Under this principle of interpretation, there is an inference that all omissions from a statute should be regarded as designated exclusions. Commonwealth v. Tilghman, 366 Pa. Super. 328, 336, 531 A.2d 441, 445 (1987) (en banc).

Here, we are called upon to interpret two apparently conflicting sections of the Motor Vehicle Code, 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 101 et seq. The Motor Vehicle Code is a comprehensive statutory enactment governing traffic, roadways, and the manner and circumstances under which vehicles may be operated on the roadways in the Commonwealth. The primary purpose of the Motor Vehicle Code and its amendments is to protect and promote public safety and property within the Commonwealth. Commonwealth v. Arnold, 215 Pa. Super. 444, 449, 258 A.2d 885, 887 (1969); Commonwealth v. Irwin, 345 Pa. 504, ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.