Appeal from order of Superior Court, Oct. T., 1972, No. 410, affirming order of Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, of Philadelphia, Oct. T., 1969, Nos. 2834 and 2848, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. L. E. Wilson, Co., Inc.
James A. Shellenberger, Steven H. Goldblatt, David Richman and Arthur R. Makadon, Assistant District Attorneys, Richard A. Sprague, First Assistant District Attorney, and Arlen Specter, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellant.
Stanford Schmukler and Richard P. Abraham, for appellee.
Jones, C. J., Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy and Manderino, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Pomeroy. Mr. Justice Nix took no part in the decision of this case. Mr. Justice Manderino dissents.
In the Spring of 1969, an investigating grand jury was convened in Philadelphia County for the purpose of investigating certain alleged abuses in the areas of housing, urban renewal and public construction. Involved were various agencies of the City of Philadelphia and their employees, and persons and corporations dealing with those agencies. One of those called to testify before the grand jury was one L. E. Wilson,
a builder and developer, who was president and sole shareholder of L. E. Wilson, Co., Inc., the present appellee. After Mr. Wilson had testified, both he and the corporation were indicted on charges of conspiring with the employees of the Philadelphia Housing Authority and obtaining money by false pretenses in connection with an alleged fraudulent scheme concerning the inspection of faulty walls on properties accepted for rehabilitation by the Authority.
Both Wilson and the corporation were subsequently tried and found guilty of conspiracy and twelve of fourteen charges of false pretenses. The defendants filed post-trial motions, and their motion in arrest of judgment was granted on the basis of this Court's decision in Commonwealth v. McCloskey, 443 Pa. 117, 277 A.2d 764 (1971). The Commonwealth appealed the order arresting judgment to the Superior Court, which affirmed. Allocatur was sought by the Commonwealth and granted by us solely to examine the propriety of the granting of the motion in arrest of judgment as to the corporate defendant. We now reverse.
In Commonwealth v. McCloskey, supra, we held, inter alia, that the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States requires that, before he testifies, a witness summoned to appear before a grand jury be given certain warnings by the court supervising the grand jury. A witness must be informed of his right to consult with counsel before and after his appearance before the grand jury and of his right, during the course of his testimony, to come before the court with his lawyer to obtain a ruling as to whether he must answer a particular question which he believes may be self-incriminating. 443 Pa. at 143. We further held that an indictment obtained against a witness who was not so warned must be quashed if it appears that the indictment was based upon self-incriminating testimony of the witness. 443 Pa. at 147.
In the case before us there is no showing that L. E. Wilson was informed of his constitutional rights in accordance with the McCloskey standards before appearing before the grand jury. It is undisputed, moreover, that Wilson gave incriminating testimony which was later used to form the basis of the evidence against both him and his company at trial. Thus, under our decision in McCloskey, the motion in arrest of judgment was properly granted as to Wilson personally.*fn1 As to the corporation, however, the motion in arrest of judgment was granted in error. It is well settled that organizations such as corporations are not protected by the privilege against self-incrimination.*fn2 United States v. Kordel, 397 U.S. 1, 25 L.Ed.2d 1 (1970); George Campbell Painting Corp. v. Reid, 392 U.S. 286, 20 L.Ed.2d 1094 (1968); Oklahoma Press Publishing Co. v. Walling, 327 U.S. 186, 90 L.Ed. 614 ...