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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. JOHN RYAN ET AL. (10/16/74)

decided: October 16, 1974.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
JOHN RYAN ET AL., APPELLANTS. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA V. VERNETTA TOLLIVER ET AL., APPELLANTS. WILLIAM ROSS, PRESIDENT, ET AL. V. FRANK SULLIVAN, PRESIDENT, ET AL., APPELLANTS



COUNSEL

Leonard M. Sagot, Thomas W. Jennings, Ettinger, Poserina, Silverman, Dubin, Anapol & Sagot, A. Benjamin Johnson, Jr. (representing Edward Johnson only), Philadelphia, for appellants.

Arlen Specter, Dist. Atty., Richard A. Sprague, First Asst. Dist. Atty., David Richman, Asst. Dist. Atty., Chief Appeals Div., L. A. Perez, Jr., Philadelphia, for appellee Com. of Pa.

Vincent J. Salandria, Asst. Gen. Counsel, Philadelphia, for appellees Frank Sullivan et al.

Jones, C. J., and Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Jones, C. J., filed a dissenting opinion in which Roberts and O'Brien, JJ., joined.

Author: Pomeroy

[ 459 Pa. Page 151]

OPINION OF THE COURT

These appeals arise out of a strike which crippled the Philadelphia school system from January 8 to March 1,

[ 459 Pa. Page 1521973]

. The questions before us are the validity of an injunction prohibiting the strike and the validity of contempt proceedings instituted against various persons who violated the injunction.

On January 11, 1973, after two days of hearings in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, the Board of Education of the School District of Philadelphia ("the School Board") obtained an injunction prohibiting the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers Local 3, AFT, AFL-CIO ("The Federation") from continuing the strike. The members of the Federation refused to return to work, and shortly thereafter, the School Board instituted contempt proceedings against the Federation, its officers, and the members of its executive board. The Federation, its president, Frank Sullivan, and its treasurer and chief negotiator, John Ryan, were tried together before a jury and found guilty of indirect criminal contempt on January 25, 1973. On February 9th, following the denial of post-trial motions, defendants Ryan and Sullivan were each sentenced to serve not less than six months nor more than four years in the Philadelphia County Prison. In addition, Sullivan was sentenced to pay a fine of $5,000. Bail was denied pending the Federation's compliance with the injunction of January 11th. A petition for reconsideration of sentence was granted, and on March 14th, 1973, Ryan's and Sullivan's terms of imprisonment were reduced to not less than four months nor more than twenty-three months. In a separate proceeding, the twenty-one members of the Federation's executive board were tried together before a jury, and on February 9, 1973, likewise were found guilty of indirect criminal contempt. Following the denial of post-trial motions, each defendant was sentenced to pay a $250 fine, and to devote forty hours in a teaching, tutorial, counseling or similar capacity in a public or private institution or agency approved by the court.

[ 459 Pa. Page 153]

Direct appeals from the judgments of sentence following the contempt trials were taken to this Court under ยงยง 202 and 205 of the Appellate Court Jurisdiction Act of 1970.*fn1 Meanwhile, the Federation appealed to the

[ 459 Pa. Page 154]

Commonwealth Court from the decree of January 11th enjoining the strike. That court affirmed the injunctive decree on March 13, 1973,*fn2 and we subsequently granted allocatur.*fn3 The appeals were consolidated for ...


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