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Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
October 28, 1997, Decided
No. 69 Eastern District Appeal Docket 1996
[**566] [*502] OPINION OF THE COURT
MR. JUSTICE CAPPY
In 1995, Appellant, a borough constable, was removed from office following his conviction on one count of Indecent Assault. 1 Appellant appealed both his conviction and his removal from office to the Superior Court. The Superior Court sua sponte transferred the portion of the appeal that concerned Appellant's removal from office to this court, because the Superior Court believed that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over that aspect of the appeal. 2 Because the transfer was erroneous, we reverse and remand.
[***2] ] Unless otherwise excepted, exclusive original jurisdiction over appeals from orders of the courts of common pleas lies with the Superior Court. 42 Pa. C.S. § 742. The Superior Court determined that this case fell [**567] within the scope of the exception set forth at 42 Pa. C.S. § 722(2), 3 which establishes that this court has exclusive appellate jurisdiction over appeals from common pleas courts in cases concerning the right to public office.
Our original appellate jurisdiction under § 722(2) was addressed in Appeal of Bowers, 440 Pa. 310, 269 A.2d 712 (1970). In that case, a district superintendent of a school district appealed his dismissal to two courts of common pleas, both of which dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. The orders of dismissal [***3] were consolidated and appealed to this court under § 722(2). This court transferred the case to the Superior [*503] Court, holding that the appeal did not fall within the scope of § 722(2) because a school superintendent was not a public officer, and the proceeding was not one concerning the "right to public office". The latter aspect of that holding determines the outcome here. 4
In Appeal of Bowers, [***4] the court held that while the term "right to public office" includes questions of qualification, eligibility, regularity of the electoral or appointive process and other preconditions to the holding of office, it does not normally include an appraisal of the sufficiency of evidence or other irregular aspects of a tribunal which discharges an officeholder from his position. 440 Pa. at 317-18, 269 A.2d at 716. This appeal, like that in Appeal of Bowers, is based on an allegation that Appellant was denied due process in the tribunal which ordered he be discharged from office. Although both parties agree that the present proceeding is properly before this court, a factor which alone cannot vest us with jurisdiction where none otherwise exists, Commonwealth v. Saunders, 483 Pa. 29, 32, 394 A.2d 522, 524 (1978), they do not point to any factors which distinguish this case from Appeal of Bowers.
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549 Pa. 501 *; 701 A.2d 566 **; 1997 Pa. LEXIS 2281 ***
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, Appellee v. ANTHONY SPANO, Appellant
Prior History: [***1] Appeal from the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County, Criminal Division, entered July 19, 1995, docketed at No. 94-3975 originally appealed to the Superior Court at docket No. 3061 Philadelphia 1995. JUDGES BELOW: C.C.P. - Hon. Anthony Semeraro / Superior - KELLY, JOHNSON AND OLSZEWSKI, JJ.
Disposition: Reversed and Remanded.
public office, common pleas, officeholder, appeals, removal from office, transferred, election, borough, contest, removal, cases, appellate jurisdiction, order of the court, public interest, right to appeal, prequalification, challenges, discharged, regularity, tribunal, parties, courts, merits
Civil Procedure, Subject Matter Jurisdiction, Jurisdiction Over Actions, General Overview, Jurisdiction