Appeal from Common Pleas Court, Allegheny County, Honorable S. Louis Farino
William O. Schmalzried, Pittsburgh, for appellant.
Michael J. Creighton, Pittsburgh, Harold H. Cramer, Asst. Chief Counsel, and Christopher J. Clements, Asst. Counsel, John L. Heaton, Chief Counsel, Harrisburg, for appellee.
Doyle and McGinley, JJ., and Barbieri, Senior Judge.
[ 126 Pa. Commw. Page 89]
Before this Court is an appeal by Roy E. Westfall (Licensee) from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County sustaining the Department of Transportation's
[ 126 Pa. Commw. Page 90]
(DOT) suspension of Licensee's motor vehicle operating privileges.
The facts of this case are undisputed. Licensee was arrested on February 16, 1987, and charged with violating Section 3345(a) of the Vehicle Code, 75 Pa.C.S. § 3345(a) (failure to stop when approaching a school bus with flashing red lights). On February 22, 1987, Licensee, proceeding pro se, pled guilty to the violation by paying a fine to the traffic court of the City of Pittsburgh. On that same date, DOT notified Licensee that five points were being assigned to his driving record and that his operating privileges were going to be suspended for a period of sixty days.
However, on September 3, 1987, a petition under the Post Conviction Hearing Act (PCHA), 42 Pa.C.S. § 9541-9551,*fn1 regarding Licensee's guilty plea was heard by a different trial court judge. That judge ordered that Licensee's conviction be vacated, his guilty plea be withdrawn, and the case be remanded back to the traffic court for summary trial.
Prior to that order, however, Licensee had filed an appeal from DOT's suspension of his operating privilege and a hearing was held on October 7, 1987. At that hearing, DOT's counsel agreed to a continuance until the summary criminal appeal was heard before the traffic court. The case was relisted and a second hearing on the suspension was held on December 16, 1987. Again, however, Licensee's summary criminal appeal had not been heard. The trial court then instructed Licensee to have the case heard before the traffic court, or the suspension would stand. A third suspension hearing was held, and Licensee's criminal appeal still had not been heard by the traffic court. The trial court then granted Licensee one week to return with an order from the traffic court. Licensee, however, did not do so, and on March 30, 1988, the trial court dismissed Licensee's appeal and sustained DOT's suspension of his
[ 126 Pa. Commw. Page 91]
operating privileges. The trial court also granted Licensee's petition for ...