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PATRICK SOUTHERLAND v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (05/04/89)

decided: May 4, 1989.

PATRICK SOUTHERLAND, APPELLANT,
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, BUREAU OF MOTOR VEHICLES, APPELLEE



Appeal from Common Pleas Court, Philadelphia County; Honorable Samuel Lehrer, Judge.

COUNSEL

Neil Leibman, Bala Cynwyd, for appellant.

Donald H. Poorman, Asst. Counsel, Philadelphia, Harold H. Cramer, Asst. Counsel, John L. Heaton, Chief Counsel, Harrisburg, for appellee.

Crumlish, Jr., President Judge, Colins, J., and Narick, Senior Judge.

Author: Narick

[ 127 Pa. Commw. Page 350]

Patrick Southerland (Appellant) appeals from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County (trial court) which dismissed Appellant's appeal from revocation of his operating privileges imposed by the Department of Transportation, Bureau of Driver Licensing (Department),

[ 127 Pa. Commw. Page 351]

    pursuant to Section 1532(a)(1) of the Vehicle Code.*fn1 We affirm.

The Department notified Appellant by official notice dated July 5, 1988, that his operating privileges were revoked for a one-year period due to his conviction under Section 3925 of the Crimes Code, 18 Pa.C.S. ยง 3925 (theft by receiving stolen property), during which a vehicle was essentially involved. Appellant appealed the revocation and a de novo hearing was scheduled for March 15, 1988.

At the hearing, the Department offered as evidence Appellant's certified driving record, which included the notice of conviction of a crime in which a judge determined that a motor vehicle was "essentially involved," sent by the Montgomery County Clerk of Courts. The notice certified that the Appellant was convicted of a felony of the third degree on the charge of theft by receiving stolen property.

In his defense, Appellant argued that the criminal court judge never made an affirmative finding that a vehicle was essentially involved in the crime. In support of this contention, Appellant offered the transcript of the notes of testimony of the criminal trial at 21 and 22, in which he plead guilty to the felony. Appellant contends that the transcript concerns itself with the theft of engine parts, a crime he argues, does not essentially involve a motor vehicle because Section 1532(a)(1) allegedly requires the use of a complete total automobile in a crime; such as a getaway, but not where parts are involved.

The trial court rejected Appellant's interpretation of Section 1532(a)(1) and interpreted that the transcript establishes that the Appellant attempted to sell an engine from a stolen car to an undercover police detective. The court accepted this certification as prima facie evidence that the judge, at the criminal trial, had determined a vehicle was essentially involved in Appellant's crime.

The court also pointed out in its opinion that there was something "incongruous between pleading guilty to a felony-three (F-3) with ...


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