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COMMONWEALTH v. FABRIZIO. (12/15/61)

December 15, 1961

COMMONWEALTH, APPELLANT,
v.
FABRIZIO.



Appeals, Nos. 152, 153, and 154, Oct. T., 1961, from order of Court of Quarter Sessions of Northampton County, Sept. T., 1959, No. 547, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Louis Fabrizio et al. Order affirmed.

COUNSEL

Solomon Lubin, Assistant District Attorney, with him Vincent M. Quinn, First Assistant District Attorney, Stephen A. Teller, District Attorney, Luzerne County, and Andrew Herster, District Attorney, Northampton County, for appellant.

Thomas F. Burke, with him Arthur A. Maguire, and B. Todd Maguire, for appellees.

Before Ervin, Woodside, Watkins, Montgomery, and Flood, JJ. 'rhodes, P.j., and Wright, J., absent).

Author: Watkins

[ 197 Pa. Super. Page 46]

OPINION BY WATKINS, J.

These appeals are by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania from the order of the Court of Quarter Sessions of Northampton County granting the defendants appellees motions in arrest of judgment after their conviction by a jury of the charge of conspiracy in violation of ยง 302 of the Act of June 24, 1939, P.L. 872, 18 PS 4302.

On January 22, 1959, twelve men, ten of whom were employees of the Knox Coal Company, and two, employees of the Pennsylvania Coal Company, lost their lives when the Susquehanna River broke through the roof and inundated the "River Slope" mine of the Knox

[ 197 Pa. Super. Page 47]

Coal Company, located in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, and leased by the Knox Coal Company from the Pennsylvania Coal Company.

As a result of the investigation of this tragedy one manslaughter indictment was brought for the death of each victim and each indictment named the following seven men as defendants: Grove and Receski, employees of Knox Coal Company; Renner and Fries, officers of the Pennsylvania Coal Company; Dougherty and Fabrizio, officers of Knox Coal Company; and Lippi, an official of the United Mine Workers of America.

Fabrizio, Dougherty and Lippi were also indicted for conspiracy and Renner and Fries for violation of the Anthracite Mining Law.

The Court of Quarter Sessions of Luzerne County dismissed motions of the defendants to quash the conspiracy indictment on the ground that the crime was not charged within the period of the statute of limitations and on the same day denied motions of the defendants for a change of venue.

Subsequently, by order of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, dated February 11, 1960, venue for the trial and disposition of the conspiracy indictment was removed from Luzerne County and assigned to the Court of Auarter Sessions of Northampton County. Appellees' motions to quash on the statute of limitations ground were renewed in that court and again overruled.

Grove and Receski were tried on the manslaughter indictments in Luzerne County and found not guilty. The manslaughter indictment as to the others, the conspiracy indictment and the Anthracite Mine Law violations were consolidated for trial in Northampton County. At the conclusion of the Commonwealth's case demurrers for Renner and Fries were sustained. This was also true in the Mine Law violations and

[ 197 Pa. Super. Page 48]

    these defendants were discharged. The verdicts as to manslaughter were, Louis Fabrizio, guilty; Robert L. Dougherty, not guilty, costs on the county; August J. Lippi, guilty. On the conspiracy charge: Louis Fabrizio, guilty; Robert L. Dougherty, guilty; August J. Lippi, guilty.

Motions in arrest of judgment were granted by the court below on both convictions and the Commonwealth is appealing only from the order of the court en banc granting the motions in arrest of judgment as to the conspiracy indictment.

We also have before us motions to quash the Commonwealth's appeal on the ground that the district attorney of Luzerne County was not authorized to file ...


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