187 A.2d 744 (Conn. 1963), Malloy v. Hogan

Citation:187 A.2d 744, 150 Conn. 220
Opinion Judge:KING, J.
Party Name:William MALLOY v. Patrick J. HOGAN, Sheriff of the County of Hartford.
Attorney:Harold Strauch, Hartford, for appellant (plaintiff)., Harry W. Hultgren, Jr., Hartford, with whom, on the brief, were John D. LaBelle, State's Attorney, and George D. Stoughton, Assistant State's Attorney, for the appellee (defendant). Harold Strauch, for the appellant (plaintiff). Harry W. Hult...
Judge Panel:In this opinion the other Judges concurred. Before BALDWIN, C J, and KING, MURPHY, SHEA and ALCORN
Case Date:January 03, 1963
Court:Supreme Court of Connecticut
 
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Page 744

187 A.2d 744 (Conn. 1963)

150 Conn. 220

William MALLOY

v.

Patrick J. HOGAN, Sheriff of the County of Hartford.

Supreme Court of Errors of Connecticut.

January 3, 1963.

Page 745

Harold Strauch, Hartford, for appellant (plaintiff).

Harry W. Hultgren, Jr., Hartford, with whom, on the brief, were John D. LaBelle, State's Attorney, and George D. Stoughton, Assistant State's Attorney, for the appellee (defendant).

Before BALDWIN, C.J., and KING, MURPHY, SHEA and ALCORN, JJ.

[150 Conn. 221] KING, Associate Justice.

On September 11, 1959, the plaintiff was arrested in a gambling raid at 600 Asylum Street, Hartford, and charged, in two counts, with pool selling in violation of § 53-295 of the General Statutes. Subsequently, on November 5, he was allowed to plead nolo contendere to the first count of the information. A finding of guilty on that count was entered, and he was ordered to pay a fine of $500 and was sentenced to one year in jail, execution of the jail sentence to be suspended after ninety days of service and probation to be in effect for two years. What disposition was made of the second count of the information is not disclosed in the printed record, but the judgment file shows that a nolle prosequi was entered as to the count immediately after the imposition of the sentence under the first count.

At some time prior to January 16, 1961, the Superior Court in Hartford County, pursuant to § 54-47 of the General Statutes,

Page 746

entitled 'Investigations into commission of crime,' appointed the Honorable Ernest A. Inglis, formerly chief justice of Connecticut and then a state referee, to conduct an inquiry into whether there was reasonable cause [150 Conn. 222] to believe that crimes, including gambling, had been committed in Hartford County. Witnesses were subpoenaed to appear Before the referee, and on January 16, 1961, Malloy, who had been so subpoenaed, appeared and was asked certain questions by the state's attorney. Most of these Malloy refused to answer on the ground that an answer would tend to incriminate him. Thereupon, the state's attorney indicated that the matter would have to be referred to the Superior Court for contempt proceedings under the authority of § 54-47. The referee inquired of Malloy whether he had had the advice of an attorney and he replied that he had not, since he had just received the subpoena. The referee suggested that Malloy consult an attorney Before he was summoned for contempt. Apparently, contempt proceedings were not then instituted, since nine days later, on January 25, 1961, Malloy was recalled as a witness and again questioned. In the meantime, he had had full opportunity to consult counsel. The questions asked him on January 25, which he refused to answer on the same claim of privilege, were practically identical with those he had been asked on his first appearance Before the referee. The questions posed on both occasions are well summarized in Malloy's brief, substantially as follows: (1) For whom did Malloy work on September 11, 1959, the date he was arrested on the charge on which he was convicted? (2) Who selected and paid his counsel in connection with that charge and his defense thereto? (3) Who selected his bondsman and who paid him? (4) Who paid Malloy's fine? (5) What was the name of the tenant in the apartment in which he was apprehended? (6) Did he know John Bergoti?

On January 26, 1961, pursuant to § 54-47, Malloy [150 Conn. 223] was brought Before the Superior Court and, after a hearing, was found to have failed to answer proper questions Before the referee and was ordered committed to jail until he answered the questions or until the further order of the court. Malloy was thereupon committed to jail. Later in the day he made application for a writ of habeas corpus, directed to the defendant as the keeper of the jail, on the ground that the confinement in jail was illegal because it was based on a denial, in violation of the fifth amendment to the constitution of the United States and of § 9 of article first of the constitution of Connecticut, of Malloy's privilege of refusing to answer questions on the ground of self-incrimination. After a hearing on February 7, 1961, the court found the issues for the defendant and that Malloy was not unlawfully confined, and it dismissed the writ of habeas corpus. From that judgment Malloy took this appeal, his basic claim of error being that his refusal to answer the questions was privileged.

The law according the privilege against self-incrimination is not open to question, but there are often difficulties in its application. The privilege is not a general one; it is, at least in all ordinary situations, to be claimed as to each question asked. United States v. Romero, 249 F.2d 371, 375 (2d Cir.); McCarthy v. Clancy, 110 Conn. 482, 490, 148 A. 551. It is not a prohibition against inquiry but confers an option of refusal to answer. State v. Kemp, 126 Conn. 60, 72, 9 A.2d 63. Our decisions from a time antedating the...

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