684 F.2d 252 (3rd Cir. 1982), 81-2540, Sandutch v. Muroski

Docket Nº:81-2540.
Citation:684 F.2d 252
Party Name:James Vincent SANDUTCH, Appellant, v. Chester B. MUROSKI, Patrick J. Toole, Jr., Paul J. Farrell, Mr. Pearson, James L. Geib, Robert Brunozzi, Matthew Parrell, Luzerne County, and City of Hazleton, Appellees.
Case Date:July 22, 1982
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
 
FREE EXCERPT

Page 252

684 F.2d 252 (3rd Cir. 1982)

James Vincent SANDUTCH, Appellant,

v.

Chester B. MUROSKI, Patrick J. Toole, Jr., Paul J. Farrell,

Mr. Pearson, James L. Geib, Robert Brunozzi,

Matthew Parrell, Luzerne County, and

City of Hazleton, Appellees.

No. 81-2540.

United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit

July 22, 1982

Submitted Under Third Circuit Rule 12(6) July 9, 1982.

Page 253

Arlene Fickler, Schnader, Harrison, Segal & Lewis, Philadelphia, Pa., for appellant.

Francis X. O'Brien, Jr., Pa. State Police, Harrisburg, Pa., for appellees Geib and Brunozzi.

Arthur R. Thomas, Bd. of Probation & Parole, Harrisburg, Pa., for appellee Farrell.

Before SEITZ, Chief Judge, SLOVITER, Circuit Judge and McCUNE, District Judge [*].

OPINION

PER CURIAM:

James Vincent Sandutch appeals from the district court's dismissal of his civil rights action. This court has jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291 (1976).

I.

In 1976, Sandutch was convicted in the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas of arson and murder in connection with the fire-bombing of the home of a county sheriff. At trial, the prosecution introduced the preliminary hearing testimony of an alleged co-conspirator, James Mastrota, that linked Sandutch to the crimes. After the preliminary hearing but before Sandutch's trial, Mastrota recanted this testimony, stating that his previous statements were made under duress and were not true. The trial court excluded the taped recantation as hearsay at Sandutch's trial, but the Pennsylvania Superior Court found this exclusion to have been reversible error. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted allocatur in 1979, but has not yet decided the case.

In September 1980, Sandutch obtained an affidavit in which Mastrota explained the circumstances under which the incriminating statement was obtained. Two weeks later, Sandutch commenced this action, alleging that the named public officials violated and conspired to violate his constitutional rights by obtaining a fraudulent statement from Mastrota and by using that statement in a prosecution against Sandutch. The complaint named nine defendants, only eight of whom were served.

The district court dismissed the claims against the served defendants. The action against five defendants was dismissed because Sandutch had "filed no memoranda of law in opposition to the motions and the...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP