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COMMONWEALTH v. DOLSEN (06/11/57)

June 11, 1957

COMMONWEALTH
v.
DOLSEN, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 37, April T., 1954, from judgment of Court of Quarter Sessions of Allegheny County, Oct. T., 1950, No. 762, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. James Dolsen. Judgment reversed.

COUNSEL

Hymen Schlesinger, for appellant.

William Claney Smith, Assistant District Attorney, with him Edward C. Boyle, District Attorney, for Commonwealth appellee.

Before Hirt, Gunther, Wright, Woodside, Ervin, and Carr, JJ. (rhodes, P.j., absent).

Author: Hirt

[ 183 Pa. Super. Page 340]

OPINION BY HIRT, J.

The defendant James Dolsen, an acknowledged member of the Communist party, was charged with sedition, in an indictment containing twelve counts, under the Act of June 24, 1939, P.L. 872, 18 PS 4206, as offenses against both this State and against the

[ 183 Pa. Super. Page 341]

United States. At the trial of Dolsen four counts of the indictment, charging seditious acts, as defined in subsection (c) of the Act, were withdrawn from the jury's consideration. He was found guilty on the remaining eight counts, and was sentenced to pay a fine of $10,000 and to undergo imprisonment in the Allegheny County Workhouse for a term of twenty years. This is his appeal from the judgment of sentence.

Steve Nelson, also an acknowledged Communist, was charged in a separate indictment with the same twelve offenses upon which Dolsen was tried. The cases originally were consolidated for trial. But after the trial had proceeded for four months, when Nelson was severely injured in an automobile accident, a severance was granted as to him. At a subsequent trial before another jury Nelson was found guilty on all twelve charges. His sentence was identical with that imposed as above noted, on defendant James Dolsen.

On Nelson's appeal to us from his conviction in the court below, we affirmed the judgment. Commonwealth v. Nelson, 172 Pa. Superior Ct. 125, 92 A.2d 431. On further appeal our Supreme Court reversed the conviction and quashed the indictment. Commonwealth v. Nelson, 377 Pa. 58, 104 A.2d 133. The Supreme Court of the United States granted certiorari on application of the Commonwealth, and on April 2, 1956 (with three Justices dissenting) affirmed the judgment of our Supreme Court. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Nelson, 350 U.S. 497, 76 S.Ct. 477. Pending final judgment in the above series of appeals, we postponed disposition of the present appeal. Arguments in the Dolsen case were heard specially by us on December 28, 1956.

In the Nelson case our Supreme Court, in an opinion by the present Chief Justice, concluded that the motion in arrest of ...


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