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COMMONWEALTH v. BRADY ET AL. (06/21/74)

decided: June 21, 1974.

COMMONWEALTH, APPELLANT,
v.
BRADY ET AL.



Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County, Nos. 2540 and 2540-1 of 1972, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Warren Brady and Henry George.

COUNSEL

Stephen B. Harris, First Assistant District Attorney, with him Herman Rosenberger, Assistant Attorney General, and Kenneth G. Biehn, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellant.

No brief submitted nor appearance entered for appellee.

Wright, P. J., Watkins, Jacobs, Hoffman, Spaulding, Cercone, and Spaeth, JJ. Wright, P. J., and Spaulding, J., did not participate in the decision of this case. Dissenting Opinion by Cercone, J. Spaeth, J., joins in this dissenting opinion.

Author: Per Curiam

[ 228 Pa. Super. Page 233]

The above-captioned case is an appeal from the order of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division, Bucks County, denying the petition of the Attorney General of Pennsylvania and the District Attorney of

[ 228 Pa. Super. Page 234]

Bucks County for witness immunity. The defendants, Warren Brady and Henry George, are supervisors of a Bucks County Township and they are charged with extortion and prohibitive acts by a public official. The prosecution sought immunity for two witnesses to testify to being extorted and receiving money from the supervisors. The court below found that the Immunity Act in the circumstances did not empower the granting of immunity to these witnesses and in a very able opinion held that the immunity to these witnesses did not fall within the provisions of the Immunity Act of 1968, 19 P.S. ยงยง 640.1 and 640.2.

This Court on September 10, 1973, quashed the appeal and on January 9, 1974, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania returned the case to the Superior Court for consideration on the merits.

Offering immunity at any time is a dangerous practice, human nature being what it is, and is a clear invitation to defendants to commit perjury. It is the kind of practice too, that is certain to be abused by law enforcement officials to the detriment of innocent people. It was initiated as a weapon against organized crime and racketeering and should be strictly limited to that purpose. This case does not fall in that category.

We would affirm on the very able opinion of Judge Ludwig of the court below.

Disposition

Order affirmed.

Dissenting Opinion by Cercone, J.:

This appeal arises from the lower court's refusal to grant the Commonwealth's petition that "transactional" immunity be granted to Joseph DiEgidio and John Camerlengo so that they might be compelled to ...


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