STANLEY C. LOWICKI, Appellant/Defendant,
STATE OF DELAWARE, Appellee/Plaintiff.
Stanley C. Lowicki, Esq., Pro se Appellant.
A. Braunsberg, Esq. Deputy Attorney General Department of
Justice, Attorney for the State of Delaware.
SHELDON K. RENNIE, JUDGE.
an appeal from the Justice of the Peace Court ("JP
Court") related to a red light civil violation. On May
18, 2017, a motor vehicle owned by Appellant, Stanley Lowicki
("Mr. Lowicki"), was photographed by a traffic
camera driving through a red light on Route 72 at Kenmore
Drive. Mr. Lowicki was charged with a civil violation under
21 Del. C. § 4101(d), in accordance with the
Electronic Red Light Safety Program. Pursuant to §
4101(d)(7), Mr. Lowicki requested a hearing. On August 11,
2017, a hearing was held in the JP Court. According to the JP
Court's Final Disposition, Mr. Lowicki was found
responsible and required to pay the following:
Fine Amount: $75.00
Court Costs: $25.00
Court Security Fee: $10.00
Transportation Trust Fund: $37.50
State Police Fund: $7.50
Local Law Enforcement Fund: $7.50
Ambulance Fund: $10.00
total amount due was $172.50, which Mr. Lowicki agreed to pay
in monthly installments.
August 25, 2017, Mr. Lowicki filed his Notice of and
Request for an Appeal and Statement Re Grounds And
Request for Appeal (collectively "Notice of
Appeal") in this Court. In his Notice of Appeal, Mr.
Lowicki argues that he has a right to de novo review
by this Court. Mr. Lowicki asserts that the $75.00 fine,
$25.00 court costs, and $10.00 administrative court security
fee satisfies the jurisdictional requirement under §
4101(d)(12) that the "civil penalty" exceed
$100.00. In addition, Mr. Lowicki argues that the State did
not meet its burden of proof in the JP Court because it did
not prove that he was the driver of the vehicle at the time
it was photographed disregarding the traffic signal.
of the odd procedural posture of this appeal, the Court
requested that the Department of Justice file an Answering
Brief. Specifically, the Court requested the
State to address whether the Court of Common Pleas has
jurisdiction over this action as well as the merits of Mr.
Lowicki's appeal. On October 17, 2017, the State filed its
response. Procedurally, the State argues that this Court does
not have jurisdiction to hear this appeal because Mr.
Lowicki's appellate right can only be triggered by a
"Fine Amount" that exceeds $100.00. It notes that
§ 4101(d)(3) distinguishes between "civil
assessments, " which make up the "Fine Amount,
" and "court costs and administrative fees, "
which are excluded. The State relies on the legislative
history of § 4101 to support its interpretation,
well as Santillo v. State, which excluded court
costs and surcharges from the fine amount
calculation. Regarding the merits of Mr. Lowicki's
appeal, the State argues that the JP Court, as the trier of
fact below, found Mr. Lowicki's sworn testimony-that he
was not the driver of his ticketed vehicle-not credible. The
State asserts that such a finding is a fact-finder's
November 2, 2017, with the Court's allowance, Mr. Lowicki
filed his Reply Brief. Mr. Lowicki's brief mainly focuses
on the merits of his appeal. Regarding jurisdiction, Mr.
Lowicki analyzes the word choices of § 4101.
Representing a profound decent into linguistics, he points
out that paragraph (d)(3) uses the phrase "civil or
administrative assessment" rather than the word
"penalty, " which is defined as the payment for
"pain" according to its medieval Latin counterpart.
Accordingly, he argues that since § 4101(d)(12) allows
"[a]dditional penalty assessments for late
payments/response pursuant to paragraph (d)(3)" to be
included in the calculation of the "civil penalty,
" and paragraph (d)(3) allows "Court costs or
similar administrative fees" to also be ...