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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. MICHAEL MOCHAN (01/14/55)

January 14, 1955

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
MICHAEL MOCHAN, APPELLANT



Appeals, Nos. 151 and 152, April T., 1954, from judgments of Court of Quarter Sessions of Allegheny County, June T., 1953, Nos. 230 and 231, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Michael Mochan. Judgments affirmed.

COUNSEL

Edward A. Schultz, with him H. Turner Frost and Seif, Schultz & Frost, Pittsburgh, for appellant.

Albert A. Fiok, Assistant District Attorney, with him James F. Malone, Jr., District Attorney, Pittsburgh, for appellee.

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

Author: Hirt

[ 177 Pa. Super. Page 455]

OPINION BY HIRT, J.,

One indictment (Bill 230), before us in the present appeals, charged that the defendant on May 4, 1953 "devising, contriving and intending the morals and

[ 177 Pa. Super. Page 456]

    manners of the good citizens of this Commonwealth then and there being, to debauch and corrupt, and further devising and intending to harass, embarrass and vilify divers citizens of this Commonwealth, and particularly one Louise Zivkovich and the members of the family of her the said Louise Zivkovich... unlawfully, wickedly and maliciously did then and there on the said days and dates aforesaid, make numerous telephone calls to the dwelling house of the said Louise Zivkovich at all times of the day and night, in which said telephone calls and conversations resulting therefrom the said Michael Mochan did wickedly and maliciously refer to the said Louise Zivkovich as a lewd, immoral and lascivious woman of an indecent and lewd character, and other scurrilous opprobrious, filthy, disgusting and indecent language and talk and did then and there use in said telephone calls and conversations resulting therefrom, not only with the said Louise Zivkovich as aforesaid but with other members of the family of the said Louise Zivkovich then and there residing and then and there answering said telephone calls aforesaid intending as aforesaid to blacken the character and reputation of the said Louise Zivkovich and to infer that the said Louise Zivkovich was a woman of ill repute and ill fame, and intending as aforesaid to harass, embarrass and vilify the said Louise Zivkovich and other members of her household as aforesaid, to the great damage, injury and oppression of the said Louise Zivkovich and other good citizens of this Commonwealth to the evil example of all other in like case offending, and against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania." A second indictment (Bill 231), in the same language, charged a like offense committed by defendant on another date. Defendant was tried before a judge without a jury and was convicted on both charges and was

[ 177 Pa. Super. Page 457]

    sentenced. He has appealed from the refusal by the court en banc of his motions in arrest of judgment, on the ground advanced by him that the conduct charged in the indictments, concededly not a criminal offense in this State by any statute, does not constitute a misdemeanor at common law. In a number of States and especially in the common law State of Pennsylvania the common law of England, as to crimes, is in force except in so far as it has been abrogated by statute. 11 Am. Jur., Common Law, § 4; 22 C.J.S., Criminal Law, § 19. The indictments in these cases by their language, clearly purported to charge a common law crime not included in our Penal Code or elsewhere in our statutory law.

It is established by the testimony that the defendant over a period of more than one month early in 1953, on numerous occasions and on the specific dates laid in the indictments, telephoned one Louise Zivkovich, a stranger to him and a married woman of the highest character and repute. He called as often as three times each week and at any hour of the day or night. His language on these calls was obscene, lewd and filthy. He not only suggested intercourse with her but talked of sodomy as well, in the loathsome language of that criminal act, on a number of occasions. The calls were coming in from a four-party line. Through cooperation with the telephone company, the defendant was finally located and was arrested by the police at the telephone after the completion of his last call. After his arrest bearing upon the question of his identification as the one who made the calls, Mrs. Zivkovich recognized his voice, in a telephone conversation with him which was set up by the police.

It is of little importance that there is no precedent in our reports which decides the precise question here involved. The test ...


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