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COMMONWEALTH v. STOTLAND (03/20/69)

decided: March 20, 1969.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
STOTLAND, APPELLANT



Appeals from judgments of Court of Quarter Sessions of Philadelphia County, May T., 1968, No. 1134, and April T., 1968, Nos. 896 and 1090, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Janet Stotland et al.

COUNSEL

Bernard L. Segal, with him Robert J. Sugarman, Charles H. Baron, Paul Bender, Benjamin Lerner, Thomas J. McBride and David Rudovsky, for appellants.

Paul R. Michel, Assistant District Attorney, with him James D. Crawford, Assistant District Attorney, Richard A. Sprague, First Assistant District Attorney, and Arlen Specter, District Attorney, for Commonwealth.

Matthew W. Bullock, Jr., Second Deputy City Solicitor, with him Frank J. Pfizenmayer, Assistant City Solicitor, and Edward G. Bauer, Jr., City Solicitor, for Commonwealth.

Wright, P. J., Watkins, Montgomery, Jacobs, Hoffman, Spaulding, and Hannum, JJ. Concurring Opinion by Spaulding, J. Hoffman, J., joins in this opinion.

Author: Per Curiam

[ 214 Pa. Super. Page 36]

Judgments of sentence affirmed.

Disposition

Judgments affirmed.

Concurring Opinion by Spaulding, J.:

Appellants in these cases were convicted in summary proceedings of violating the terms of an emergency proclamation issued April 5, 1968, by the Mayor of Philadelphia under Philadelphia Ordinance 10-819. Appellants appealed to the Court of Quarter Sessions of Philadelphia County which affirmed the convictions after a trial de novo. Appellants now appeal from the affirmance of their convictions.

Ordinance 10-819 authorizes the Mayor of Philadelphia to declare a State of Emergency within the City and to impose certain extraordinary measures to maintain public order for the duration of the emergency period.*fn1 On April 5, 1968, Mayor James H. J. Tate issued

[ 214 Pa. Super. Page 37]

    a Proclamation declaring a State of Emergency and invoking some of the emergency powers authorized by the ordinance.*fn2 The convictions in all of these appeals result from violation of the Proclamation's prohibition of public gatherings in groups of 12 or more individuals.

The Proclamation was issued the day following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. In the wake of Dr. King's death, rioting, arson and looting erupted in several major cities throughout the nation. While no widespread rioting gripped Philadelphia in the 24 hours following the murder, there was a substantial

[ 214 Pa. Super. Page 38]

    increase in the number of incidents symptomatic of impending riots. The Proclamation was issued as a preventive measure.

Appellant Countryman was arrested in Roosevelt Park in South Philadelphia on April 6, 1968. Countryman and 49 other individuals gathered in the park to hold a tree-planting ceremony under the auspices of the Philadelphia Committee for Non-Violent Action to protest the recommissioning of the Battleship New Jersey. The protest was peaceful at all times and there was no clash between demonstrators and others using the park. The demonstration was conducted under a permit issued by the Fairmount Park Commission and no participant violated any law other than the Proclamation. No participant was arrested until the Proclamation was read and an order by police to disperse was disobeyed.

Appellant Achtenberg was arrested on April 7 in front of the residence of Congressman William A. Barrett in Philadelphia. Appellant and 11 other members of the People for Human Rights organization gathered at Congressman Barrett's home to petition for passage of civil rights legislation proposed by Dr. King. Members of the protesting group began assembling in front of Barrett's home about 2:00 p.m. For one hour thereafter the group consisted of less than 12 individuals and hence was not in violation of the Proclamation. During this period, the group was twice approached by a hostile spectator who urged the protestors to leave. However, there were no incidents. The demonstration was entirely peaceful and the demonstrators violated no law other than the Proclamation. Shortly after the twelfth member of the group arrived the Proclamation was read and appellant was arrested for refusing to obey an order to disperse.

Appellant Stotland was arrested on April 8, 1968, on the campus of the University ...


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