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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. ISADORE H. BELLIS (03/16/79)

decided: March 16, 1979.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
ISADORE H. BELLIS, APPELLANT



No. 322 January Term, 1978, Appeal from Judgment of Superior Court of Pennsylvania, as of October Term, 1977, No. 254, Affirming Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Trial Division, Criminal Section, as of August Term, 1974, Nos. 0052-0062

COUNSEL

Wolf, Block, Schorr & Solis-Cohen, Raymond J. Bradley, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Robert B. Lawler, Chief, Appeals Div., Asst. Dist. Atty., Stephen S. Seeling, Asst. Dist. Atty., for appellee.

Eagen, C. J., and Roberts, Manderino and Larsen, JJ. O'Brien and Nix, JJ., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case. Manderino, J., concurred in the result. Roberts, J., filed a dissenting opinion.

Author: Larsen

[ 484 Pa. Page 488]

OPINION

Appellant was convicted in Municipal Court of Philadelphia of eight counts of bribery, eight counts of malfeasance, misfeasance and nonfeasance in office and one count of violating the Election Code and acquitted of six counts of malfeasance, misfeasance, and nonfeasance in office [hereinafter referred to as malfeasance].*fn1 Appellant appealed his convictions to the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia and after a trial de novo, appellant was convicted of the same crimes. Appellant's convictions were affirmed by the Superior Court in Commonwealth v. Bellis, 252 Pa. Super. 15, 380 A.2d 1258 (1977) and we granted appellant's petition for an allowance of appeal to this Court.

The bribery convictions were predicated on appellant's violation of Section 4667 of the 1939 Penal Code, Act of June 24, 1939, P.L. 872, § 667, 18 P.S. § 4667 which provided:

Whoever offers or gives to any agent, employe, or servant of another, or to a member of his family, or to anyone for his use or benefit, directly or indirectly, any commission, money, property, or other valuable thing, without the knowledge and consent of the principal, employer, or master, as an inducement, bribe or reward for doing or omitting to do any act, or for showing or forbearing to show any favor or disfavor, by such agent, employe, or servant, in relation to the affairs or business of his principal, employer or master, or whoever being an agent, employe, or servant, solicits, accepts, receives or takes, directly or indirectly, any commission, money, property, or

[ 484 Pa. Page 489]

    other valuable thing as an inducement, bribe or reward for doing or omitting to do any act, or for showing any favor or disfavor in relation to the affairs or business of his principal, employer, or master, is guilty of a misdemeanor, and on conviction thereof, shall be sentenced to pay a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500), or undergo imprisonment for a period not exceeding one (1) year, or both.

Nothing contained in this section shall apply to transactions between a principal, employer, or master and his agent, employe, or servant, nor to that practice which is commonly known as 'tipping.'

Evidence shall not be admissible in any prosecution under this section to show that a gift or acceptance of any commission, money, property or other valuable thing, is customary in any business, trade or calling, nor shall the customary nature of such transactions be any ...


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