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PETITION PATRICIA A. HUGHES. PATRICIA A. HUGHES (04/28/87)

decided: April 28, 1987.

IN RE: PETITION OF PATRICIA A. HUGHES. PATRICIA A. HUGHES, APPELLANT


Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, in case of In Re: Petition of Patricia A. Hughes, No. 3308 March Term, 1987.

COUNSEL

John W. Morris, for appellant.

Mark Jurikson, for appellee.

Handsel B. Minyard, City Solicitor, with him, Richard L. Gold, Chief Deputy City Solicitor, Eric H. Auerbach, Chief Assistant City Solicitor, and Guy Vilim, Chief Assistant City Solicitor, for amicus curiae, City of Philadelphia.

Judges Craig and Palladino, and Senior Judge Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.

Author: Craig

[ 105 Pa. Commw. Page 509]

Patricia Hughes, objector to the nomination petition of Harry P. Jannotti as candidate for Philadelphia City Council, has appealed from a decision of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County which ordered the dismissal of the objection and certified the candidate to be placed on the May 19, 1987 primary ballot.

The objection had attacked the validity of the candidate's affidavit of eligibility in the nomination petition, on the ground that the candidate was ineligible under the provisions of Pennsylvania Constitution art. 2, § 7 declaring that

No person hereafter convicted of embezzlement of public monies, bribery, perjury or other infamous crime, shall be eligible to the General Assembly, or capable of holding any office of trust or profit in this Commonwealth.

The objector's position is that the candidate became ineligible under that constitutional provision because he was convicted on September 16, 1980 of violating the Federal Hobbs Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a) in that he was found guilty of a felony, namely "conspiring to obstruct interstate commerce in violation of the Hobbs Act, Count 3," for which he was sentenced to six months' imprisonment plus a fine of $2,000. With respect to his offense, the pertinent decision of the United States Court of Appeals before judgment is United States v. Jannotti, 673 F.2d 578 (3d Cir. 1982), cert. denied, 457 U.S. 1106 (1982), and, after judgment, is United States v. Jannotti, 729 F.2d 213 (3d Cir. 1984), cert. denied, 469 U.S. 880 (1984).

[ 105 Pa. Commw. Page 510]

On this appeal, no question remains concerning the appropriateness of objecting to a nomination petition affidavit under section 977 of the Election Code, Act of June 3, 1937, P.L. 1333, as amended, 25 P.S. § 2937, as a procedural vehicle for litigating the question of eligibility. Nor is there any dispute with respect to the proposition that the office of a member of Philadelphia City Council is an "office of trust or profit in this Commonwealth."

Therefore, the only issue to be decided is whether a candidate for public office, having been convicted of conspiring to obstruct interstate commerce in violation of the Federal Hobbs Act, has thereby been "convicted of embezzlement of ...


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