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COMMONWEALTH v. JOSEPH ET AL. (12/28/56)

December 28, 1956

COMMONWEALTH
v.
JOSEPH ET AL., APPELLANTS.



Appeals, Nos. 162 and 163, April T., 1956, from judgments of Court of Quarter Sessions of Beaver County, Sept. T., 1955, No. 40, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Paul Joseph et al. Judgments affirmed.

COUNSEL

John D. Ray, with him Reed, Ewing & Ray, for appellants.

Richard P. Steward, District Attorney, for appellee.

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

Author: Hirt

[ 182 Pa. Super. Page 618]

OPINION BY HIRT, J.

The defendants George and Paul Joseph were both convicted on charges of conducting a lottery, and were

[ 182 Pa. Super. Page 619]

    sentenced. Paul Joseph was also sentenced, concurrently, on his conviction of establishing a gambling place. In these appeals they contend that there is error in the refusal of new trials by the lower court.

Paul Joseph is the proprietor of a confectionery store on Franklin Avenue, the main street in the business section of Aliquippa, near the entrance to the works of the Jones and Laughlin Steel Corporation. His brother George Joseph works part time in the store. Between turns at the steel mill workmen congregate in the store to make purchases, to view television and for other purposes.

At the trial of these defendants, Sigmund H. Pruszenski was the principal Commonwealth witness.He testified that on June 17, 1955 he paid George Joseph $2.00 to play two numbers (672 and 652) for that day and at the time he also had "a play going for three days at a quarter a day". He said that he had played numbers with both brothers in the store on occasion ever since the spring of 1954.Number 672 "hit" on that day. Pruszenski said that accordingly he was entitled to receive $675 under the terms of the lottery, and that there were arguments for several days between him and both of the defendants because of their failure to pay. Thereafter George Joseph on the defendants' agreement to satisfy the claim in installments, paid him $50 and, several days later, $200. According to Pruszenski that is all he has received from the defendants or either of them. The fact that Pruszenski was a reluctant witness (in spite of the fact that he has not been paid in full) does not make his testimony less impressive. His sworn testimony alone is sufficient to support the convictions as to both of these defendants on which they were sentenced, beyond all reasonable doubt. There was some additional incriminating

[ 182 Pa. Super. Page 620]

    evidence however including the testimony of the county detective (who was the prosecutor in these cases) that he had observed Paul Joseph in the act of paying off ...


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