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COMMONWEALTH v. MAUST (04/15/65)

decided: April 15, 1965.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
MAUST, APPELLANT



Appeals from judgments of Court of Quarter Sessions of Somerset County, May T., 1963, Nos. 42 and 43, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. C. A. Maust.

COUNSEL

Leland W. Walker, with him Walker and Kimmel, for appellant.

Alexander Ogle, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Ervin, P. J., Wright, Watkins, Montgomery, Jacobs, and Hoffman, JJ. (Flood, J., absent). Opinion by Ervin, P. J. Wright and Watkins, JJ., would arrest the judgments.

Author: Ervin

[ 205 Pa. Super. Page 283]

Defendant, a justice of the peace, was found guilty before a judge and jury on two indictments charging fraudulent conversion. His motions for directed verdict and in arrest of judgment were overruled and sentences imposed.

On appeal defendant does not ask for a new trial but contends only that the motion in arrest of judgment should have been granted since the evidence does not support the verdicts of the jury.

Viewed in a light most favorable to the Commonwealth (Com. v. Mitchell, 181 Pa. Superior Ct. 225, 227, 124 A.2d 407), the evidence at trial shows the following. Defendant was and for many years had been a justice of the peace in the Borough of Salisbury, Somerset County, Pennsylvania. The prosecutions grew out of defendant's failure to turn over moneys collected by him on behalf of two persons, Walter Weaver and Mrs. Compton.

Walter Weaver filed suit before defendant to recover $42.55 for labor at the Compton Brick Works. Eva Compton made payment of the Weaver claim to defendant on April 16, 1962 and defendant held this fund over thirteen months. Defendant made no effort to notify Weaver of the receipt of the money during this period. The prosecution for fraudulent conversion was filed May 31, 1963 and not until five days later, on June 4, 1963, did Weaver receive his money. Weaver made several unsuccessful attempts to see defendant. The district attorney's office demanded payment of both the Weaver and Compton claims, beginning November 17, 1962.

Eva Compton, an officer of Compton Brick Works, a family corporation, filed the other prosecution

[ 205 Pa. Super. Page 284]

    against defendant. In March or February of 1962 Mrs. Compton turned over to Squire Maust a claim which she had against W. H. Fratz Co., of Accident, Maryland, for tile sold, totaling $289.60. On August 25, 1962 defendant visited Fratz Co. in Maryland and received a check for $239.60, together with a receipted bill for a lawn mower at $50.00 for defendant's personal use. Defendant held the balance of this money, $239.60, for more than nine months; the prosecution was filed May 31, 1963. Later, on July 23, 1963, the Somerset Trust Co. issued an attachment execution against Compton Brick Works, naming Maust as garnishee, and subsequently Maust paid the Compton money into the Court of Common Pleas to await distribution.

Mrs. Compton tried several times to contact the defendant upon learning that he had received the money. On September 25, 1962 Mrs. Compton made demand on defendant for payment of the $289.60, by certified mail, special delivery, which was returned to her by the postman unopened. Defendant admitted a properly addressed letter would be expected to reach him in this community. Prior to prosecution the district attorney also made several demands for payment of the Compton funds. In response the defendant visited the district ...


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