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CROZER-CHESTER MEDICAL CENTER AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AND COUNSELING CENTER v. ROBERT E. MORAN (06/09/89)

decided: June 9, 1989.

CROZER-CHESTER MEDICAL CENTER AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AND COUNSELING CENTER, APPELLEES,
v.
ROBERT E. MORAN, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order of the Superior Court entered November 16, 1987, at No.2075 Philadelphia, 1986, affirming the Order of the court of Common Pleas of Delaware County entered June 26, 1986, at No. 86-8147. 368 Pa. Super.243, Nix, C.j., and Larsen, Flaherty, McDermott, Zappala, Papadakos and Stout, JJ. Stout, Former Justice, did not participate in the decision of this case.

Author: Mcdermott

[ 522 Pa. Page 126]

OPINION

Mr. Moran appeals from an order of the Superior Court affirming an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware

[ 522 Pa. Page 127]

County which imposed a fine of $1500.00 or a term of imprisonment of forty-five (45) days in the county jail on his conviction for contempt. Crozer-Chester Medical Center v. Moran, 368 Pa. Super. 243, 533 A.2d 1045 (1987). The salient facts are set forth below.

Appellees, Crozer-Chester Medical Center and Reproductive And Counseling Center, are a private hospital and clinic which lease hospital facilities where they perform abortions. Mr. Moran is one of a group who have conducted or taken part in anti-abortion protests and demonstrations on Appellees' property. The present appeal obtains in the court's response to these events.

On February 10, 1984, in a decree nisi, Mr. Moran and others were enjoined from going on to Appellees' property and from engaging in specific conduct thereon, as enumerated in the order, which would obstruct or interfere with Appellees' business. The order was made final in a decree of November 9, 1984, then appealed to the Superior Court and affirmed. Crozer-Chester Medical Center v. May, 352 Pa. Super 51, 506 A.2d 1377 (1986). This court denied allocatur. 408 E.D.Alloc. Dkt. 1986 (Dec. 10, 1986).

On May 7, 1985, Appellees petitioned the court for an adjudication of civil contempt against Mr. Moran and others, alleging violations of the court's February 10, 1984, injunction. By order of June 13, 1985, the court held Mr. Moran and others in contempt and imposed a conditional fine of $1000.00 or imprisonment of thirty (30) days, should any of them violate the terms of the injunction in the future.

On December 19, 1985, Appellees submitted two petitions to the court, alleging additional violations by Mr. Moran and others, and seeking additional relief.

The court found Mr. Moran in contempt of its orders of February 10, 1984, and June 13, 1985, and, by order of February 4, 1986, imposed a fine of $1000.00. Mr. Moran refused to pay the fine and served thirty (30) days in the county jail.

[ 522 Pa. Page 128]

In addition, by order of February 6, 1986, the court adjudicated him in contempt for his most recent violations and decreed an escalated fine of $1500.00 from which he could purge himself by staying off Appellees' property in the future. The order also provided that, should he enter the property and default on the payment of the fine, he would be sentenced to forty-five (45) days in the county prison.

Mr. Moran appealed and the Superior Court quashed his appeal and affirmed the orders of the trial court in a per curiam order. Crozer-Chester v. Moran, 364 Pa. Super. 652, 525 A.2d 820 (1987) allocatur denied, 516 Pa. 641, 533 A.2d 712 (1987).

In the spring of 1986, Appellees repetitioned the court for an additional adjudication holding Mr. Moran in contempt and alleging that on three (3) occasions he came onto their property, handed out literature, accosted invitees with a bullhorn, harassed prospective clients, came onto the steps of their building and refused to leave, threatened to summon 700 people to take over their property and entered and attempted to entice others to enter their property.

By order of June 26, 1986, the court decreed that Mr. Moran committed civil contempt by violating its previous orders on May 2, 10 and 12, 1986. It ordered that he pay the conditional fine imposed in the order of February 6, 1986, of $1500.00, by 4:00 P.M. that day or submit to imprisonment in the county jail for forty-five (45) days. In addition, it imposed a conditional fine in the same amount for each of the three (3) violations for a total fine of $4,500.00, but again made payment contingent upon future violations of its orders. Default on the future fine would subject Mr. Moran to ninety (90) days in the county jail. Finally, the court decreed that in the event of future violations, Mr. Moran, in addition to the penalties set forth above, might also be subjected to the costs of Appellees' petitions for relief.

Mr. Moran appealed to the Superior Court. He argued that since he could not have purged himself of his past

[ 522 Pa. Page 129]

    contumacious conduct at the time of the imposition of the $1500.00 fine, he had therefore been made liable for criminal contempt without being afforded the ...


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