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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. JULIUS J. PAUL (01/14/55)

January 14, 1955

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
JULIUS J. PAUL, APPELLANT



Appeal, No. 191, Oct. T., 1954, from judgment of Court of Quarter Sessions of Philadelphia County, Feb. T., 1954, No. 880, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Julius J. Paul. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

Garfield W. Levy, for appellant.

Samuel Dash, Assistant District Attorney, with him Christopher F. Edley, Assistant District Attorney, Michael von Moschzisker, First Assistant District Attorney, and Richardson Dilworth, District Attorney, Philadelphia, for appellee.

Before Rhodes, P.j., Hirt, Ross, Gunther, Wright, Woodside and Ervin, JJ.

Author: Ross

[ 177 Pa. Super. Page 291]

OPINION BY ROSS, J.,

Julius J. Paul, was indicted under Section 601 of the Act of June 24, 1939, P.L. 872, 18 PS sec. 4601, on a charge of being concerned in the "managing, conducting and carrying on" of a lottery... Paul was brought to trial before a judge sitting without a jury, was convicted and sentenced and thereafter took this appeal from the refusal of a new trial.

In support of his motion for a new trial the defendant advanced the usual reasons that the verdict was against the law and the weight of the evidence. His present position is that "having been convicted under a statute which fails to meet the requirements of Due Process," he is entitled to have his "conviction reversed." It is settled law that matters not raised in, or considered by, the court below cannot be invoked on appeal: Commonwealth v. Neuman, 151 Pa. Superior Ct. 642, 30 A.2d 698; Commonwealth v. Schuster, 158 Pa. Superior Ct. 164, 44 A.2d 303; Commonwealth v. DiCarlo, 174 Pa. Superior Ct. 611, 101 A.2d 410. This rule applies even when, as here, the question belatedly raised is a constitutional one. Montgomery

[ 177 Pa. Super. Page 29270]

A.2d 700. Duddy v. Conshohocken Ptg. Co., 163 Pa. Superior Ct. 150, 60 A.2d 394.

Furthermore, the defendant must confine his complaint to the statute as it applies to him. He cannot become the self-appointed champion of the supposed rights of others. "In all criminal prosecutions accused, to entitle him to raise the question of the constitutionality of a statute or ordinance, must show that his rights are adversely affected by it; and, more particularly, that his rights are thus affected by the particular feature of the statute alleged to be in conflict with the constitution. It is not sufficient that the statute may impair the rights of others." 16 C.J.S. sec. 84, pages 176-177. In the case at bar, the "particular feature of the statute alleged to be in conflict with the constitution" is, according to defendant, a "lack of definiteness". If the defendant is to be harmed by the statute, and thus have standing to attack it on constitutional grounds, it must appear that, but for the failure of the statute to clearly define a standard of conduct, his acts would not have come within its purview. It avails the defendant nothing to suggest that a distorted construction of the statutory language might impair the rights of others. We will decide the cases of the druggist and the numbers writer's wife in the unlikely event that they arise.

"In 12 Am. Jur., Constitutional Law, ยง 585, the universally accepted rule is thus stated: 'It is a general principle of statutory law that a statute must be definite to be valid. A statute which either forbids or requires the doing of an act in terms so vague that men of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as to its application violates the first essential of due process of law. On the ...


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