Original jurisdiction in cases of Pennsylvania Crime Commission v. The Hon. Ethan Allan Doty, Administrative Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County; Pennsylvania Crime Commission v. The Hon. A. Benjamin Scirica, Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County; In Re: Petition for Enforcement of a Subpoena to John Joseph Bonk; In Re: Petition for Enforcement of a Subpoena to James J. Fallon; In Re: Petition for Enforcement of a Subpoena to Frank J. Beatty; and In Re: Petition for Enforcement of a Subpoena to Robert C. Sadowl.
Thomas J. Oravetz, Deputy Attorney General, for petitioner.
John F. X. Fenerty, for respondents.
President Judge Bowman. Opinion by President Judge Bowman.
These consolidated proceedings are all concerned with four subpoenas issued by the Pennsylvania Crime Commission directed to John Joseph Bonk, James J. Fallon, Frank J. Beatty and Robert C. Sadowl. Indirectly involved are seizure and forfeiture proceedings concerning 23 Electronically Operated Pinball and Console Amusement Machines v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on appeal by the Commonwealth to this Court (No. 481 C.D. 1973) from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County dismissing preliminary objections to a petition by these same individuals to have a pre-forfeiture hearing to determine the
illegality of the seized machines (No. 73-00-0327, Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County 1973).
The subpoenas in question were served*fn1 between January 22 and January 25, 1973, directing Bonk, Fallon, Beatty and Sadowl to appear at a specified time and place to testify and produce certain documents in connection with the Commission's investigation into the quality of law enforcement in Philadelphia.*fn2 None of the respondents appeared.
On February 1, 1973, three of the respondents initiated proceedings in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, and on February 2, 1973, one respondent initiated identical proceedings in the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County in the form of petitions for rule to show cause why the subpoenas should not be quashed. In each proceeding a judge of the respective courts issued a rule returnable three weeks later in Philadelphia and six weeks later in Montgomery County, and issued stay of proceedings in the meanwhile.
On February 9, 1973, the Commission filed in the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania petitions for supersedeas and for writ of prohibition against the respective judges who had entertained the aforesaid proceedings and issued rules thereon, the Commission alleging that they acted beyond a common pleas court's jurisdiction and power (Nos. 314, 315 Misc. Docket Pa. Supreme Court No. 19).
On March 13 and March 15, 1973, the Commission filed preliminary objections in the respective proceedings before the Philadelphia and Montgomery County
courts. On March 14, 1973, the trial judge in Philadelphia declined to proceed pending action by the Supreme Court in the proceedings before it. On the same day, March 14, 1973, the Supreme Court issued the following orders:
"And Now, this 14th day of March, 1973, the proceedings instantly before the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Criminal Trial Division, at Miscellaneous Docket No. 73-00-0326, in John Joseph Bonk, and James J. Fallon, and Frank J. Beatty v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, are herewith transferred to the Commonwealth Court for disposition.