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In re Return of Personal Property

Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania

March 22, 2018

In Re: Return of Personal Property Appeal of: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, by and through Township of Upper Darby

          Submitted: January 5, 2018

          BEFORE: HONORABLE RENÉE COHN JUBELIRER, Judge, HONORABLE PATRICIA A. McCULLOUGH, Judge, HONORABLE JAMES GARDNER COLINS, Senior Judge

          OPINION

          RENÉE COHN JUBELIRER, Judge

         The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, by and through the Township of Upper Darby (the Township), appeals from an Order of the Court of Common Pleas (common pleas) of Delaware County, dated March 16, 2017, which granted the Petition of Appellee (Mr. Ryan) to return personal property that the Township Police Department seized from him. Upon review, we conclude that common pleas erred in granting the Petition and instead should have dismissed it as it is barred by the six-year time limitation contained in Section 5527(b) of the Judicial Code, 42 Pa. C.S. § 5527(b).[1] Thus, we reverse the Order and dismiss the Petition.

         On December 2, 2016, Mr. Ryan and Mrs. Ryan (collectively, the Ryans), [2]who are married, filed with common pleas a Petition for Return of Personal Property (Petition). The Ryans alleged that on August 22, 2003, when they were living at the home of Mr. Ryan's mother, the Township Police Department responded to the residence in response to a report that there was an attempted suicide in progress. The Township Police entered the bedroom Mr. Ryan was occupying and found him passed out with a loaded .45 caliber pistol in his hand. The Township Police disarmed Mr. Ryan and transported him to the hospital without incident. At the hospital, a physician found that Mr. Ryan was "severely mentally disabled and in need of treatment[, and that h]e should be admitted to a facility designated by the County Administrator for a period of treatment not to exceed 120 hours."[3](Application for Involuntary Emergency Examination, Reproduced Record (R.R.) at 30a.) Mr. Ryan was discharged from the hospital five hours after his arrival.

         About the same time, police seized from Mr. Ryan's bedroom "for safety" the following items:

1. A Fury combat knife with a black handle.
2. A combat knife with a broken handle.
3. A black and silver samurai sword.
4. A High Country compound bow.
5. Three black nylon holster[s] and one brown leather holster.
6. A green ammunition box with live ammunition and shells.
7. A red bag with various gun cleaning kits and shooting gear.
8. A black UMAREX .177 pellet gun with serial # J138259591.
9. A Glock 23 .40 caliber firearm with serial number EVG284.
10. A Colt .357 Python Revolver serial # V12277.
11. A long barrel .44 caliber pistol with serial number ...

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