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FOURTH STATEWIDE INVESTIGATING GRAND JURY. MATTER JOHN GIOVANNI BALSAMO (06/03/86)

decided: June 3, 1986.

IN RE THE FOURTH STATEWIDE INVESTIGATING GRAND JURY. IN THE MATTER OF JOHN GIOVANNI BALSAMO, APPELLANT


Appeal from a September 24, 1985 Contempt Order by the Supervising Judge of the Fourth Statewide Investigating Grand Jury, Court of Common Pleas, Westmoreland County, 58 Miscellaneous 1985

COUNSEL

Robert C. Brady, Washington, for appellant.

LeRoy S. Zimmerman, Atty. Gen., Harrisburg, Robert A. Graci, Sr. Deputy Atty. Gen., Gary M. Mogil, Deputy Atty. Gen., Philadelphia, for appellee.

Nix, C.j., and Larsen, Flaherty, McDermott, Hutchinson, Zappala and Papadakos, JJ. Zappala, J., concurred in the result.

Author: Larsen

[ 510 Pa. Page 498]

OPINION OF THE COURT

The threshold question to be answered is the method and timeliness of appeal from a finding of civil contempt by the supervising judge of the Fourth Statewide Investigating Grand Jury (created by order dated May 8, 1985).

In March, 1985, Appellant (John Giovanni Balsamo) was convicted of various criminal charges.*fn1 Appellant was sentenced to no less than 16 and no more than 40 years imprisonment. Appellant filed an appeal of his conviction with the Superior Court, which is still pending.

The Investigating Grand Jury was empaneled on September 23, 1985 and on September 24, 1985, pursuant to subpoena, appellant was called to testify. The Grand Jury wished to obtain any information which appellant had concerning drug distribution in Greene County. Appellant's aforementioned conviction was related to this drug distribution. Appellant asserted his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, and the supervising judge, pursuant to a request from the Appellee (Attorney General) entered an order granting immunity to appellant. Appellant still refused to answer any questions. The supervising judge found appellant in civil contempt of court and on September 24, 1985, entered the following order:

AND NOW, to wit this 24th day of September, 1985, after Hearing, the Court finds John Giovanni Balsamo in contempt of court. He is sentenced to imprisonment at the Greensburg State Facility, or such other facility as may be available, until such time as he purges himself

[ 510 Pa. Page 499]

    from contempt by volunteering to answer the questions that relate to the matter under inquiry and is further ordered that said sentence supersede ...


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