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SPECIAL GRAND JURY CASE. (10/06/59)

October 6, 1959

SPECIAL GRAND JURY CASE.


No. 335, Miscellaneous Docket No. 11, re petition of Joseph Grace et al. for a writ of prohibition directed to Honorable JOSEPH E. GOLD of the Court of Common Pleas No. 6 of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, and the members of the Special September Grand Jury of the Court of Quarter Sessions of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania. Petition granted and writ of prohibition issued.

COUNSEL

Samuel Dash, with him Dash & Levy, for petitioner.

Juanita Kidd Stout, Assistant District Attorney, with her Victor H. Blanc, District Attorney, for Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Before Jones, C.j., Bell, Jones, Cohen and Bok, JJ.

Author: Bok

[ 397 Pa. Page 255]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BOK

This is a petition for a writ of prohibition. It is directed primarily to the Honorable JOSEPH E. GOLD, a Judge of Court of Common Pleas No. 6 of Philadelphia County, and seeks to compel him to discharge and terminate the proceedings connected with a Special Grand Jury which he convened, while sitting in the Court of Oyer and Terminer and Quarter Sessions of the Peace, to investigate certain alleged criminal situations existing within the ranks of Local 107 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen, and Helpers of America.

[ 397 Pa. Page 256]

Judge GOLD has filed a responsive answer, submitting himself to such order as this Court shall make.

The jury was convened as the result of a petition filed by the District Attorney of Philadelphia County. This petition alleged that the officers, agents and members of the union have been engaged in widespread and repeated criminal activities; that they have been investigated by a Committee of the United States Senate and independently by the District Attorney; that specific crimes have been committed, namely, fraudulently uttering and publishing a written instrument, assault and battery upon a member of the union, conspiracy to blackmail, threats to damage the property of farmers who deliver their products to the City, the exaction of tribute for unnecessary unloading services from people delivering perishable goods, and conspiracy to damage property and to commit assault and battery and larceny; that these specific crimes are part of a system of related crimes, past, present, and continuing; that they affect the public welfare and safety; and that such criminal activities do not lend themselves to detection and proof by the ordinary agencies of law enforcement.

Despite its general averments of widespread crime and conspiracy beyond the reach of law, the petition falls far short of what is required by way of pleaded facts.

The law concerning special investigating grand juries has been clear since Case of Lloyd and Carpenter, 3 Clark 188 (1845), when Judge KING laid down principles that have been quoted in almost every later case. Speaking of extraordinary modes of criminal procedure, he said: "The first of these is, where criminal courts of their own motion call the attention of grand juries ...


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