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COMMONWEALTH v. SGARLAT (04/11/56)

April 11, 1956

COMMONWEALTH
v.
SGARLAT, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 19, Feb. T., 1956, from order of Court of Quarter Sessions of Luzerne County, Sept. T., 1955, No. 511, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Frank A. Sgarlat. Order affirmed.

COUNSEL

William A. Valentine, for appellant.

Albert H. Aston, District Attorney, with him Arthur Silverblatt, First Assistant District Attorney, for Commonwealth.

Arthur H. James, for prosecutrix.

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

Author: Rhodes

[ 180 Pa. Super. Page 639]

OPINION BY RHODES, P.J.

This is an appeal from an order of the Court of Quarter Sessions of Luzerne County entered against appellant for the support of his wife in the sum of $175 per month. The contentions of appellant are that his wife withdrew from the marital domicile without adequate legal reason and therefore is not entitled to support; and that, in any event, the order as entered is excessive and unreasonable.

The parties were married on October 31, 1954, and lived together for about ten months until the final separation near the end of August, 1955. Prior to the final separation, the wife had withdrawn from their home on two occasions, returning each time after a short period upon the solicitation of appellant. At the

[ 180 Pa. Super. Page 640]

    time of final separation, the prosecutrix was pregnant.

The only witnesses before the court below were appellant and his wife. From the testimony it appears that from its inception the married life of the parties was filled with discord. Difficulties between them arose primarily over religion. Appellant is of the Protestant faith and the prosecutrix is of the Catholic faith. They were married in a Catholic church. Prosecutrix testified that their troubles became acute in December, 1954, less than two months after their marriage. She also testified that their arguments culminated in physical abuse by the appellant, and that in May, 1955, she left him. She returned after being assured by him there would be no further mention of religion and no more physical violence. The controversy over religion was renewed; and he became abusive in the presence of others. Prosecutrix further testified that appellant greeted the news of her pregnancy with the statement that she should not use that as an excuse to take naps, and that, when she started to leave the room, appellant attempted to forcibly detain her and used vile language. She again left appellant for approximately three weeks. Thereafter arguments continued until the end of August, again resulting in physical abuse by appellant, at which time the third and final separation took place. She stated that she could not accept appellant's offer of reconciliation because of his prior conduct.

Although appellant testified that he never showed any disrespect for his wife's religion and occasionally took her to her church, he also testified that there was tension between the parties every Sunday. Appellant stated that their marital difficulties in December, 1954, arose over an insurance policy. He claimed he did not use physical force against the prosecutrix in May, 1955, but ...


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