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MATTER LEE MANDELL (05/30/80)

decided: May 30, 1980.

IN THE MATTER OF LEE MANDELL, ESQ.


No. 331 January Term, 1978, Appeal from the Judgment of Sentence of the Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, Criminal Section of Philadelphia at No. CP 77-04-757 to 764.

COUNSEL

Vincent J. Ziccardi, Philadelphia, for appellant.

Charles W. Johns, Pittsburgh, Howland W. Abramson, Philadelphia, for appellee.

Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Nix, Larsen, Flaherty and Kauffman, JJ. Nix and Larsen, JJ., concur in the result.

Author: Roberts

[ 489 Pa. Page 523]

OPINION OF THE COURT

On this appeal from denial of habeas corpus relief, appellant Lee Mandell, Esq. challenges his summary conviction for contempt under section II of 42 Pa.C.S. ยง 4131. Appellant contends that the evidence of record is insufficient to establish that he intentionally or willfully committed the allegedly contemptuous acts. We agree and accordingly, vacate the judgment of sentence and order appellant discharged.

On July 21 and July 22, 1977, appellant represented a criminal defendant at trial before the Hon. Bernard J. Goodheart. The court entered a verdict of guilty on July 22,

[ 489 Pa. Page 5241977]

, and postponed sentencing to September 28, 1977, to permit counsel an opportunity to prepare post-trial motions.*fn1 The court set September 14, as the deadline for appellant's written brief in support of post-trial motions. On September 21, 1977, Judge Goodheart notified appellant that the briefing deadline had passed and that the hearing on motions was scheduled for September 28, 1977, at 3:30 p. m.

At approximately 4:15 p. m. on September 28, appellant appeared for the hearing. He explained that his late arrival was due to an unforeseen delay at the parole board hearing he was attending. Appellant also submitted supplemental post-trial motions and a written brief. In a proceeding not transcribed, Judge Goodheart then held appellant in contempt and imposed a fine of $100 on the basis of "cumulative" violations of direct court orders.*fn2 Appellant filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus, which was denied after hearing. This appeal followed.*fn3

[ 489 Pa. Page 525]

By statute, the Legislature has authorized the use of summary ...


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