348 F.2d 355 (D.C. Cir. 1965), 18348, Gojack v. United States

Docket Nº:18348.
Citation:348 F.2d 355
Party Name:John T. GOJACK, Appellant, v. UNITED STATES of America, Appellee.
Case Date:May 27, 1965
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

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348 F.2d 355 (D.C. Cir. 1965)

John T. GOJACK, Appellant,


UNITED STATES of America, Appellee.

No. 18348.

United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit.

May 27, 1965

Argued Dec. 10, 1964.

Mr. Frank J. Donner, of the bar of the Court of Appeals of New York, pro hac

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vice, by special leave of court, New York City, with whom Mr. David Rein, Washington, D.C., was on the brief, for appellant.

Mr. Robert L. Keuch, Atty., Dept. of Justice, with whom Asst. Atty. Gen. J. Walter Yeagley, Messrs. David C. Acheson, U.S. Atty., and Kevin T. Maroney, Atty., Dept. of Justice, were on the brief, for appellee.

Mr. Frank Q. Nebeker, Asst. U.S. Atty., also entered an appearance for appellee.

Before BAZELON, Chief Judge, and BURGER and WRIGHT, Circuit judges.


On February 28 and March 1, 1955, appellant testified at a subcommittee hearing of the House of Representatives Committee on Un-American Activities. At that hearing he refused to answer certain questions, for which he was convicted for contempt of Congress. 1 That conviction was reversed by the Supreme Court for insufficiency of the indictment. 2 Appellant was then convicted on a new indictment, which alleged refusal to answer six questions asked by the subcommittee. 3 This appeal followed.

Appellant argues that the subcommittee had no proper legislative purpose and that he was not adequately informed by the subcommittee of the legislative pertinency of its questions. These arguments are foreclosed by Barenblatt v. United States, 360 U.S. 109, 79 S.Ct. 1081, 3 L.Ed.2d 1115 (1959). Appellant further contends that the indictment was insufficient because it did not specifically recite the subcommittee's authority to conduct the investigation here, and that there was no adequate proof at trial of the subcommittee's authority. We find no merit in these contentions.

There is one serious question presented by this record which appellant has not alleged as grounds for reversal. At the beginning of the February 28 hearing, appellant's counsel submitted a written motion to the subcommittee contesting its jurisdiction to question appellant. 4 At that time, the subcommittee chairman stated, 'You may file the motion;

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and then whatever action the committee desires to take upon it, we will take.' No explicit ruling was made on this motion until the conclusion of the March 1 hearing, when the chairman stated:

At the beginning of the hearings, counsel for John T. Gojack * * * filed a statement of objections to hearing and a motion to vacate the subpoenas. At that time the members of the subcommittee unanimously voted to overrule the objections and the motion to vacate the subpoenas. Therefore, I want the record to show that at that time, nunc pro tunc, the objections and motion to vacate subpoenas are overruled.

This ruling was made after appellant's refusal to answer the questions for which he was here convicted. 5

Although the subcommittee did specifically direct appellant to answer the questions at issue, its failure specifically to overrule appellant's motion may have left ambiguous whether the...

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