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COMMONWEALTH v. BYKOWSKI (04/16/68)

decided: April 16, 1968.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
BYKOWSKI, APPELLANT



Appeal from order of Superior Court, April T., 1965, No. 295, affirming judgments of Court of Quarter Sessions of Allegheny County, March T., 1963, No. 343, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Henry Katz, Gilbert Katz, Martin Katz et al.

COUNSEL

Martin M. Sheinman, with him Hubert I. Teitelbaum, and Morris, Safier & Teitelbaum, for appellants.

Edwin J. Martin, Assistant District Attorney, with him Robert W. Duggan, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

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

Author: Roberts

[ 429 Pa. Page 408]

Appellants, Raymond Bykowski and Walter Rachuba, were convicted by a jury in Allegheny County of operating a lottery and conspiracy to operate a lottery. Post-trial motions in arrest of judgment and for a new trial were dismissed and sentence imposed. An appeal followed to the Superior Court which, with two judges dissenting, affirmed the convictions. See Commonwealth v. Bykowski, 209 Pa. Superior Ct. 142, 225 A.2d 252 (1966). Allocatur was granted by this Court; after argument, the courts below were affirmed, this Court being equally divided. Appellants then filed a petition for reargument, urging us to re-examine our decision in light of two subsequently rendered decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States -- Marchetti v. United States, 390 U.S. 39, 88 S. Ct. 697 (1968) and Grosso v. United States, 390 U.S. 62, 88 S. Ct. 709 (1968). This request was granted.

We conclude that these two decisions of the Supreme Court have changed the parameters of our previous decision and that, given this new learning, appellants must prevail. The evidence employed to procure the convictions under review was obtained by Allehgeny County authorities from federal authorities. The federal authorities in turn seized the evidence pursuant to a search warrant issued, according to the face of the warrant, to uncover goods used in "violation of Sections 7203, 4411, and 4412 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954." Section 4411, see 26 U.S.C.A. § 4411, imposes a special occupational tax of $50 on persons engaged in certain gambling activities; section 4412, see 26 U.S.C.A. § 4412, requires that each person liable for such tax shall register with the Internal Revenue Service; and section 7203, see 26 U.S.C.A. § 7203, makes, inter alia, failure to comply with either § 4411 or § 4412 a criminal offense carrying a fine of not more than

[ 429 Pa. Page 409]

$10,000 and/or a maximum sentence of imprisonment for one year.

Marchetti involved a federal prosecution for violation of §§ 4411 and 4412. Defendant contended that a conviction for failure to comply with either of these two sections would work a violation of his privilege against self-incrimination and the Supreme Court agreed, holding that the assertion of this privilege constituted a complete defense. It is the Supreme Court's rationale for this decision that is most important. Emphasizing the comprehensive state and federal system of gambling regulation and the fact that, once an individual has registered under the federal statute, this information is made available to state prosecutors,*fn1 the Court obviously bottomed its decision upon a belief that a potential defendant is placed between the Scylla and the Charybdis.*fn2 Simply, if the individual registers, then this information is available to state prosecutors; if he does not register and pay the tax, then he can be prosecuted for failure to do so in federal court.*fn3

[ 429 Pa. Page 410]

The impact of this legislative package, according to the Court, was a Fifth Amendment violation.

What, then, is the impact of Marchetti when evidence seized by federal officers searching for alleged violations of §§ 4411 and 4412 is employed to secure state convictions? Malloy v. Hogan, 378 U.S. 1, 84 S. Ct. 1489 (1964) teaches us that the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination is contained within the Fourteenth Amendment concept of due process and is thus applicable to the states. We therefore believe that if a federal prosecution based upon violations of §§ 4411 and 4412 (and evidence seized to prove these violations) would infringe the accused's privilege against self-incrimination and if this privilege applies to the states, then a state prosecution based upon the same evidence seized by federal officers would equally violate that privilege. Were the rule otherwise, the Marchetti decision and its conclusion that prosecutions for violations of the federal statutes here involved run afoul of the Fifth Amendment could be easily eroded if state prosecutions based upon evidence seized by federal officers searching for violations of the now unconstitutional statutes were permitted. Whether this evidence is used in state or federal court, the evil is identical -- an accused's failure to register and pay the tax, as well as evidence seized to prove this failure, ...


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