Appeals, Nos. 186 and 187, Oct. T., 1958, from judgments of Court of Quarter Sessions of Delaware County, March T., 1958, Miscellaneous Docket A-25, in re petition of Raymond R. Start, District Attorney, for grand jury investigation. Judgments reversed.
Lester J. Schaffer, with him Charles F. Mayer, and Gray, Schaffer & Malloy, for appellants.
Clement J. McGovern, with him J. Harold Hughes, Assistant District Attorneys, and Raymond R. Start, District Attorney. for appellee.
Before Rhodes, P.j., Hirt, Gunther, Wright, Woodside, Ervin, and Watkins, JJ.
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These appeals have been taken by Max A. Rosenberg and Edward Heller from sentences summarily imposed by the Court of Quarter Sessions of Delaware County for contempt of court because of their refusal to testify before a special grand jury.
On January 17, 1958, the District Attorney of Delaware County filed a petition in court alleging that crimes had been committed in connection with negotiations between officials of the Township of Darby and Max A. Rosenberg and Minnie Rosenberg, his wife, the
[ 186 Pa. Super. Page 513]
owners of land in the township, for a proposed lease/purchase of the land to be used for a dumping and incinerator site. Appellants were specifically named in the petition as parties involved in the negotiations, and it was alleged therein that a criminal conspiracy existed for the purpose of defrauding the township.
The Court of Quarter Sessions of Delaware County, on January 17, 1958, granted the petition and ordered that the grand jury for the December Sessions, 1957, convene on January 29, 1958, and "make full inquiry into all matters concerning the negotiations, actions and conduct of the Board of Commissioners of Upper Darby Township, its members, employees, agents or representatives, and of all other persons, corporations or associations, in the matters of the selection, purchase, lease or acquisition by said Township of ground for an incinerator or for the disposal of refuse material, with particular reference to the site designated in the District Attorney's said Petition;..." The grand jury met on January 29, 1958, as ordered, and was charged by the court prior to its investigation. The court read the petition of the district attorney to the grand jury and instructed them to investigate the matter and to make a presentment or suggestion to the court thereafter whether certain individuals should be indicted by a future grand jury. Although the grand jury was instructed that it could inquire into any violations of the criminal code, the court stated: "... the specific charge which seems to be preliminarily in this matter is that of a criminal conspiracy." The persons subpoenaed by the district attorney, including the two appellants, were sworn as witnesses.
On February 5, 1958, appellants were called as witnesses before the grand jury, at which time they apparently refused to answer questions, claiming the privilege ...