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BLOOM DISCIPLINE CASE (11/15/66)

decided: November 15, 1966.

BLOOM DISCIPLINE CASE


Appeal from order of Court of Quarter Sessions of Washington County, Jan. T., 1966, No. 151, in re discipline of Sigmund L. Bloom.

COUNSEL

Harold R. Schmidt, with him Rose, Schmidt and Dixon, for appellant.

No argument was made nor brief submitted for appellee.

Bell, C. J., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ. Concurring Opinion by Mr. Justice Cohen.

Author: Per Curiam

[ 423 Pa. Page 193]

This is an appeal from an order of the Court of Quarter Sessions of Washington County, sentencing the appellant, an attorney, to pay a $100 fine for contempt of court.*fn* At the time of the incident which led to the contempt citation, appellant was representing a recently convicted defendant and was attempting to obtain a supersedeas from the court pending an appeal.

The contempt citation is based upon the following dialogue, which took place at the time of the defendant's sentencing and which the court below found to be disrespectful:

"By the Court: Mr. Bloom [appellant] just submitted to me a petition for a supersedeas. I am interested

[ 423 Pa. Page 194]

    to observe that in the typed portion of it, which must have been prepared prior to the sentencing ceremony, Item 5(c) reads: 'It sentenced the defendant to an unduly long imprisonment for the crimes for which he was convicted'. Does the District Attorney have any comment on this petition for supersedeas? Mr. Hirsch: We feel that the crime is of such severity that the sentence should be begun and the supersedeas should be denied, or in the alternative, that a substantial increase in the bail be required. By the Court: This is something that has always bothered me, that a man convicted by the verdict of the jury, confirmed by the court en banc, can walk out of the courtroom laughing at the law and its inability to do anything about him until a long course of proceedings has been concluded. I realize that the usual precedent is to grant these, but this has been an aggravating case, with misbehavior in the halls, trouble with the juvenile court employees, ancillary proceedings in other counties. I think I will go along with the District Attorney's proposal and refuse the writ, and do it here at 2:10 P.M., when you have all afternoon. I have written on here: 'Refused. Statement of reasons will issue', and signed by me. Mr. Coleman, take him away. (Mr. Bloom leaves side bar.)

"Mr. Bloom: Can Mr. Bottone [the defendant] remain in the courthouse for two hours, to give us an opportunity to -- By the Court: Mr. Bloom, that is just exactly the sort of thing that brings the practice of law into disrepute. The absolute and total absence of a vindication of the public right here. I don't know why you feel it is so necessary that this defendant of yours not even walk up to the door of the jail. Mr. Bloom: Well, if the Court please, we still have remedies to exhaust here before a final determination is made, and I do not feel it is fair for the Court to try and deprive him of those rights. By the Court: Take

[ 423 Pa. Page 195]

Mr. Bloom's statement down. We will look into your conduct subsequently, sir. I cannot say that I was particularly fond of your going to Judge Montgomery behind my back on this either. Mr. Bloom: We did not ...


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