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MAYBERRY APPEAL (04/23/69)

decided: April 23, 1969.

MAYBERRY APPEAL


Appeals from judgments of Court of Oyer and Terminer of Allegheny County, Sept. T., 1965, No. 4672, in case of Commonwealth v. Herbert F. Langnes, Richard Mayberry et al.

COUNSEL

Peter Kanjorski, for appellant.

Charles B. Watkins, Assistant District Attorney, with him Robert W. Duggan, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Bell, C. J., Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Jones. Mr. Justice Cohen and Mr. Justice Eagen concur in the result. Concurring Opinion by Mr. Justice Roberts. Concurring and Dissenting Opinion by Mr. Justice O'Brien.

Author: Jones

[ 434 Pa. Page 479]

Herbert Langnes, Dominic Codispoti and Richard Mayberry were indicted by the Grand Jury of Allegheny County on two charges: (1) holding hostages in a penal institution and (2) prison breach. All three defendants were tried together and all three defendants were found guilty on both counts.

[ 434 Pa. Page 480]

Richard Mayberry entered a plea of not guilty, waived his right to representation by counsel and chose to act as his own counsel at trial.*fn1

On December 12, 1966, the court sentenced Mayberry to a term of imprisonment of not less than fifteen or more than thirty years on the first count and not less than five or more than ten years on the second count. These sentences were to be served consecutively at the expiration of any sentence Mayberry was already serving.

On the same day the court also sentenced Mayberry on eleven separate acts of criminal contempt which allegedly took place during the trial of the case and imposed a sentence of not less than one or more than two years for each separate act of criminal contempt, said sentences to be served consecutively at the expiration of the sentences imposed for the two crimes of which he had been convicted. From these judgments on the contempt charges Mayberry has filed the instant appeals.*fn2

Mayberry in his brief presents three contentions: (1) that he was denied the right to trial by jury on the contempt charges in violation of the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution; (2) that he was denied due process of law by being convicted and sentenced for criminal contempt without procedural safeguards; (3) that he has been subjected to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the

[ 434 Pa. Page 481]

United States Constitution in being sentenced to a minimum of eleven and a maximum of twenty-two years on the contempt charges. Mayberry's appointed counsel in his brief raises the following issues: (1) that the court erred in failing to provide Mayberry with substantive constitutional safeguards by not apprising him of the nature and elements of the crime of criminal contempt, by not giving timely notice of the commission of criminal contempt, by not informing him of his right to counsel and in failing to provide him with counsel at the time of sentence; (2) that the statute providing for criminal contempt is unconstitutional as applied to the instant factual situation.

The contempt charges grew out of Mayberry's conduct during the course of the trial where he acted as his own counsel. An examination of the record reveals a course of conduct on Mayberry's part almost beyond belief and of an obviously and patently planned and determined attempt on Mayberry's part to interfere with the administration of justice and to make a farce and mockery of his trial. Mayberry accused the trial judge of denying him a fair trial, called him a "hatchet man for the State" and a "dirty S. O. B.," stated he would not "be railroaded into any life sentence by any dirty tyrannical old dog like [the judge]," told the trial court "to keep [his] mouth shut," referred to the court as a "bum" and a "stumbling dog," accused the court of working for the prison authorities and of conducting a Spanish Inquisition. He further told the judge that he was in need of psychiatric treatment and was "some kind of nut." These few examples are indicative of Mayberry's outrageous conduct during the course of the trial. Moreover, in open court, Mayberry stated his intention of disrupting the court's charge to the jury and carried out his intention to such an extent that the court was finally forced to have him gagged, placed in a strait jacket and removed to an

[ 434 Pa. Page 482]

    adjoining courtroom to which the charge to the jury was broadcast through a public address system. The record further demonstrates beyond any question that Mayberry's behavior was calculated and planned with the aim of disrupting the ...


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