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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. JOHN FLADGER. APPEAL PHYLLIS B. SERGAY (10/06/77)

decided: October 6, 1977.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
JOHN FLADGER. APPEAL OF PHYLLIS B. SERGAY



No. 1345 October Term, 1976, Appeal from Judgment of Sentence imposed March 25, 1976 in the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Section, County of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at Nos. 183/187 May Term, 1975.

COUNSEL

Charles B. Burr, II, Philadelphia, for appellant.

No appearance entered nor brief submitted for Commonwealth, appellee.

Watkins, President Judge, and Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort and Spaeth, JJ.

Author: Cercone

[ 250 Pa. Super. Page 38]

This is an appeal from an order of the Court of Common Pleas, Criminal Trial Division, of Philadelphia County, holding Phyllis B. Sergay in contempt of court and imposing a $500.00 fine plus costs.

The matter arose out of a case wherein John Fladger was charged with rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, and criminal conspiracy.

Prior to trial defense counsel advised the court that he was unable to reach the defendant, that he had received unconfirmed information that he was a patient in the Drug Treatment Center at Saint Luke's Hospital, and that the hospital refused to confirm or deny the information.

At the court's request, the assistant district attorney obtained a subpoena duces tecum, directed to the custodian of records of the drug intake unit of St. Luke's, and ordering the production of "All Records of John Fladger who was admitted to your Hosp. on 3/9/76." The court was primarily concerned with learning Fladger's expected release date in order to set a trial date.

The subpoena was served on Robert Teti, a supervisor of the Center. Appellant, the Center's director, arrived at

[ 250 Pa. Super. Page 39]

    work the same morning the subpoena was served, and was informed of the subpoena by Mr. Teti. She was also advised by Teti that he had called the clerk whose name was listed on the subpoena and told him that even if a record on Fladger could be located it would not be possible for a representative of the Center to be there within fifteen minutes as required by the subpoena. The clerk's response, Mr. Teti told Mrs. Sergay, was that he would check into it and call back later. No return call was received.

Mrs. Sergay left the next day for a Chicago meeting. Upon her return several days later, she was advised that a bench warrant had been issued for the Center's director when no one appeared in response to the subpoena. In response to the bench warrant, Mrs. Sergay appeared before the court and advised the court that Federal and state laws pertaining to drug abuse treatment programs prohibited the disclosure of the requested information absent a court order issued after full consideration of the rights of all persons affected.*fn1 The prohibition, appellant contended, extended even to revealing whether or not a particular person was in the program. The court vociferously disagreed with the latter contention and told appellant that the proper way to challenge a subpoena ...


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