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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, March 26, 2015

DA Endorses Changes To Parking Enforcement in Easton

Northampton County DA John Morganelli met recently with Easton City representatives concerning their parking enforcement process, which currently is illegal. He has endorsed changes that will bring Easton into complaince with both the law and Constitution. He has explained thius in a statement I am attaching in its entirety below.

During the last few weeks, the Office of District Attorney has had an opportunity to review the City of Easton’s Parking Enforcement. As part of that review, the Office of District Attorney researched Pennsylvania law, the ordinances of the City of Easton, and the procedures adopted by the City of Easton. Based upon that review, the following conclusions were made;

1. Pennsylvania’s Motor Vehicle Code regulates vehicle movements upon the highways including parking and prohibits the parking of a motor vehicle under certain prescribed conditions. 75 Pa. C.S.A. §3351 to §3354.

2. Notwithstanding the aforesaid, local authorities, including but not limited to municipalities, are permitted to exercise certain powers described in the Pennsylvania Motor vehicle code. 75 Pa. C.S.A. §6102(b); 75 Pa. C.S.A. §6109. A municipality’s authority to regulate parking on public highways is a power that the state delegates to the municipalities.
3. In order to carry out that delegation of authority from the state, local authorities may exercise the powers under the Motor Vehicle Code only by duly enacted ordinances of their governing bodies. 75 Pa. C.S.A. §6102(b) .

4. Under Pennsylvania law, parking violations usually constitute a summary offense. 75 Pa.C.S.A. §3353(e).

5. The City of Easton bypasses the customary procedure of filing a summary offense. The City states that it is no longer treating parking violations as “criminal matters” but rather as “civil” matters.

6. Under Pennsylvania law, a municipality may treat parking enforcement as a “civil matter” and utilize the “Local Agency Law” 2 Pa.C.S.A. §105 as a substitute for summary proceedings. However, the City of Easton’s procedure with respect to parking enforcement was contrary to law for the following reasons:

(a) Despite the City allegedly changing from a criminal based parking enforcement system to a civil based system, the City did not have an enabling ordinance on its books implementing the system and, therefore, was engaging in parking enforcement contrary to Pennsylvania law which requires an enabling ordinance with respect to parking enforcement.

(b) Parking tickets were being given to citizens informing them that failure to pay would result in a citation and a criminal proceeding when in fact the City had already abandoned the criminal process and replaced it with a civil process. Therefore the notice to the citizen was misleading and incorrect. The specific language was as follows:
“Failure to pay the amount shown on the reverse side within the time limits specified will result in a citation being issued against you in accordance with the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure. ….”

(c) The “First Notice of Outstanding Parking Tickets” and the “Final Notice” had numerous deficiencies as follows:

(1) It failed to inform citizens of their right to appeal and how to effectuate their appeal rights therefore in violation of due process requirements.

(2) It erroneously informed citizens that their vehicle “may be towed/ immobilized for unpaid tickets.” The truth of the matter is that under the City of Easton’s ordinances, vehicles are not towed and/or immobilized unless there are five or more unpaid tickets. There is no towing or immobilization for one unpaid parking ticket.

(d) The appeal process was not in accordance with the Local Agency Law in that: * It did not afford reasonable examination and cross-examination as required at 2 Pa.C.S.A. §554 of the Local Agency Law nor did it require that all adjudications be in writing, contain findings and reasons for the adjudication as required by 2 Pa.C.S.A. §5555.

On March 24, 2015, District Attorney John Morganelli met with Easton City Solicitor William Murphy, Esq. and Chief Carl Scalzo and Lieutenant Matthew Lohenitz. The City of Easton acknowledged the deficiencies outlined above, and has taken steps to bring Easton’s parking process into compliance by the following:

1. A proper enabling ordinance setting forth the Easton parking procedures and policy has been submitted to City Council for final approval.

2. Notices and citations have been redrafted clearly informing citizens of their appeal rights.

3. The appeal process has been redesigned with the final administrative appeal to be heard by members of the Easton Parking Authority and the ability for a citizen to thereafter appeal to the Court of Common Pleas.

4. All administrative hearings will comply with the Local Agency Law allowing for reasonable cross-examination and written findings and adjudications as required by law.

5. Citizens will no longer be misled that their vehicle could be towed and/or immobilized for the failure to pay one ticket.

In light of the changes now in motion, the District Attorney’s Office of Northampton County is satisfied that the system may proceed accordingly.


Anonymous said...

Now it's time for everyone who paid a parking ticket under the "civil matter" to demand a refund.

Anonymous said...

Yep they need to refund EVERYONE under that illegal law who's cars were ticketed, booted or towed and impounded.

Anonymous said...

Morganelli Let gross skate on the LTCF matter his credibility is zilch, an old washed up greaseball in need of retirement just like the pasta dish in a robe.

Anonymous said...

Morganfelony has a small tic tac.

Anonymous said...

Oh boo hoo. TM got her face rubbed in it and is having a hissy fit. Poor me, poor me... everyone, look at poor me.

Go back to your briefs, and enjoy all the costs of completing your appeal, including 6% interest on what you owe.

Anonymous said...

moganelli - peter principle

Bernie O'Hare said...

Go away Mezzacappa

Anonymous said...

Sal is still an asshole!

Anonymous said...

What exactly are You to appeal to summary appeals court.How can the District Magistrate be eliminated this process ?

Anonymous said...

Baked zito will kneel before me When I arrive!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Trish, with charges bound over for common pleas court do you really think it productive to bad mouth the DA? You can't be that dumb that you think no one will see your comments can you??

Anonymous said...

"You can't be that dumb that you think no one will see your comments can you??"

Of course she can. Look at the resume she has created for herself, and the letters she writes to prospective employers when they don't hire her. Can you say "DUMB ASS"?

Anonymous said...

"What exactly are You to appeal to summary appeals court.How can the District Magistrate be eliminated this process ?"

She has a brief due in Superior Court on April Fool's Day, which is perfect.

Nobody said anything about the Magistrate.