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COMMONWEALTH v. HAINES (07/17/52)

July 17, 1952

COMMONWEALTH
v.
HAINES



COUNSEL

Milton S. Leidner, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Thomas M. Reed, Asst. Dist. Atty., Michael von Moschzisker, First Asst. Dist. Atty., Richardson Dilworth, Dist. Atty., Philadelphia, for appellee.

Before Rhodes, P. J., and Hirt, Reno, Dithrich, Ross, Arnold and Gunther, JJ.

Author: Rhodes

[ 171 Pa. Super. Page 364]

RHODES, President Judge.

These two appeals, Nos. 31 and 89, October Term, 1952, are from adjudications and sentences for contempt.

[ 171 Pa. Super. Page 365]

The appeals were consolidated for argument, and disposition will be made of both in this opinion.

Appellant appeared before a special investigating grand jury (March, 1951) which had been charged by Judge Edwin O. Lewis of the Court of Quarter Sessions of Philadelphia County under prescribed limitations. A petition of the District Attorney of Philadelphia County had been presented to the Judges of the Court of Quarter Sessions of the County of Philadelphia setting forth matters which, it was averred, gravely affected the public welfare, so that a thorough and complete investigation by a grand jury was required. The purpose of the grand jury investigation, as the court charged, was to investigate conditions within the county relating to an alliance said to exist between police and other public officials and criminals engaged in the operation of lotteries and other forms of gambling, such relationship being maintained through bribery and corrupt solicitation. Judge Lewis charged this grand jury on March 22, 1951, it being the same as that before which another witness refused to testify. We shall not repeat the questions decided in that appeal. Com. v. Butler, Pa. Super., 90 A.2d 838.

On several occasions appellant, when before the grand jury, had refused to answer questions asked by the assistant district attorney in charge of the grand jury investigation; he refused upon the advice of his counsel and claimed privilege against self-incrimination under Article I, § 9, of the Constitution of Pennsylvania. P.S. The question which appellant refused to answer on September 5, 1951 (appeal No. 31), while first appearing before the grand jury was the following: 'Did you ever pay to anybody, to be given to any person employed by the City or County of Philadelphia, any money to influence him in the performance of his

[ 171 Pa. Super. Page 366]

    duty?' Appellant was then brought before Judge Lewis, in open court, who directed him to answer the question that had been propounded to him, and any that might be propounded to him touching any alleged offenses of bribery or corrupt solicitation. He was informed that he could not refuse to testify on the ground that the answers might incriminate him or subject him to public infamy, and that such testimony as he was thus required to give before the grand jury could not thereafter be used against him in any judicial proceeding, reference having been made by the court to Article III, § 32, of the Constitution of Pennsylvania. Appellant, on the advice of counsel, persisted in his refusal to answer or testify, and was thereupon adjudged in contempt, and sentenced, on September 12, 1951, to three months in the county prison, 'unless he shall sooner purge himself of the contempt.'

Article III, § 32, of the Constitution of Pennsylvania provides as follows: 'Any person may be compelled to testify in any lawful investigation or judicial proceeding against any person who may be charged with having committed the offence of bribery or corrupt solicitation, or practices of solicitation, and shall not be permitted to withhold his testimony upon the ground that it may criminate himself or subject him to public infamy; but such testimony shall not afterwards be used against him in any judicial proceeding, except for perjury in giving such testimony, and any person convicted of either of the ...


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