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COMMONWEALTH v. STUDEBAKER. COMMONWEALTH (04/22/76)

decided: April 22, 1976.

COMMONWEALTH, APPELLANT,
v.
STUDEBAKER. COMMONWEALTH, APPELLANT, V. GRAZIER



Appeals from order of Court of Common Pleas of Bedford County, Nos. 11 and 12 of 1974, in cases of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Eldon G. Studebaker and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Frank E. Grazier.

COUNSEL

J. Andrew Smyser, Deputy Attorney General, and Gordon E. Stroup, District Attorney, with them Robert T. Kane, Attorney General, for Commonwealth, appellant.

H. David Rothman, for appellee, Eldon G. Studebaker.

Samuel J. Reich, with him Mark L. Glosser, and Cooper, Schwartz, Diamond & Reich, for appellee, Frank E. Grazier.

Watkins, P. J., Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort, and Spaeth, JJ. Opinion by Jacobs, J.

Author: Jacobs

[ 240 Pa. Super. Page 39]

On March 1, 1969, a fire of incendiary origin destroyed the New Hoffman Hotel in Bedford, Pennsylvania. On October 17, 1973, an indictment was returned to the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania charging the appellees, Eldon G. Studebaker and Frank E. Grazier, and two co-defendants with twenty-two counts of mail fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud in violation of a federal mail fraud statute.*fn1 After the federal indictment was returned, state criminal complaints were filed on December 27, 1973 charging the appellees and one of the co-defendants in the federal case with the Pennsylvania crime of arson.*fn2 A preliminary hearing on the state charges was held in Bedford County on January 8, 1974.

[ 240 Pa. Super. Page 40]

Trial by jury on the federal charges commenced on January 14, 1974. The state indictments on the charge of arson were returned in Bedford County, Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Division on February 8, 1974. On March 7, 1974, by the jury's verdict, the appellees were acquitted of the federal charges. The same jury returned verdicts of guilty against the two co-defendants.

On March 12, 1974, the appellees filed an application to quash the arson indictments. The appellees contended that the state prosecution would constitute double jeopardy and that the federal adjudication constituted a collateral estoppel to a state prosecution for arson. This application to quash was argued orally on August 28, 1974, and a hearing to establish the joint nature of the federal and state investigation of the fire and subsequent insurance claims was held on September 30, 1974. On May 1, 1975, the lower court granted the appellees' application and quashed the arson indictment. The instant appeal by the Commonwealth followed;*fn3 we reverse and order the indictments reinstated.*fn4

The instant appeal, involving double jeopardy*fn5 and

[ 240 Pa. Super. Page 41]

    collateral estoppel*fn6 in the context of separate sovereigns indicting the same individuals for different offenses,*fn7 presents three independent, yet somewhat related, issues.

In Commonwealth v. Mills, 447 Pa. 163, 286 A.2d 638 (1971) our Supreme Court held that while the proscription against double jeopardy does not preclude successive prosecutions by different sovereigns, purely as a matter of Pennsylvania law an "interest analysis" test*fn8 is applied when a state prosecution follows a conviction by a different sovereign for the same offense. The first issue presented, in light of the facts of this appeal, is whether Commonwealth v. Mills, supra, requires that the same "interest analysis" test be applied when different sovereigns are prosecuting the same individuals for different offenses, and the state prosecution follows acquittals of the federal offense.*fn9 The second issue

[ 240 Pa. Super. Page 42]

    presented by this appeal is whether the holding of the United States Supreme Court in Ashe v. Swenson, 397 U.S. 436 (1970), applying the rule of collateral estoppel*fn10 in the context of successive criminal prosecutions by the same sovereign, requires the application of collateral estoppel to successive criminal prosecutions by different sovereigns.*fn11 The third issue presented by this appeal is whether section 111 of the Crimes Code,*fn12 which codified the "interest analysis" test of Commonwealth v. Mills,

[ 240 Pa. Super. Page 43]

    supra,*fn13 and the collateral estoppel test of Ashe v. Swenson, supra,*fn14 and made these tests applicable "[w]hen conduct constitutes an offense within the concurrent jurisdiction of this Commonwealth and of the United States . . ." 18 Pa.C.S. ยง 111 (1973), is applicable to the instant appeal. We consider these issues seriatim, and since the lower court found section 111 of the Crimes Code applicable and applied section 111(2) to quash the indictments for arson, we begin our analysis with that issue.

[ 240 Pa. Super. Page ...


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