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COMMONWEALTH v. KATZ (03/20/64)

March 20, 1964

COMMONWEALTH
v.
KATZ, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 43, March T., 1964, from judgment of Court of Quarter Sessions of Allegheny County, May T., 1963, Misc. No. 159, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Henry Katz. Judgment vacated.

COUNSEL

Marjorie Hanson Matson, for appellant.

William Claney Smith, Assistant District Attorney, with him Robert W. Duggan, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Before Bell, C.j., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'brien and Roberts, JJ.

Author: Eagen

[ 414 Pa. Page 110]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE EAGEN

This is an appeal from a sentence imposed after an adjudication of contempt of court.

The history of the case may be summarized thusly:

In 1958, the appellant was tried in Allegheny County on several indictments charging bribery, corrupt solicitation and operation of a lottery. During the course of his testimony at trial, he indicated personal knowledge that a police officer, James, had collected protection money from one, Jack Rushlander, who was engaged in the operation of a lottery.

Rushlander was subsequently tried for bribery and corrupt solicitation. Appellant was subpoenaed and called as a Commonwealth witness. Aside from giving his name and address, he refused to answer all other submitted questions on the ground of self-incrimination. His counsel based the claim of self-incrimination on the fact that the appellant was then under indictment and awaiting trial in the federal courts for failure to pay the special tax, due under the federal wagering tax laws, and that the prosecution involved the same period of time encompassed within the questions directed to him. Also, that the appellant was then under arrest and awaiting state prosecution in Allegheny County for conspiracy and lottery during the year 1962. The court overruled his claim and directed him to answer. When he continued in his refusal,

[ 414 Pa. Page 111]

    the adjudication of contempt was entered and a sentence followed of one year imprisonment, plus a fine of $1000.

The first question presented by this appeal is: Were appellant's rights under Art. I, ยง 9 of the Pennsylvania Constitution violated by the ...


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