In re Neff, No. 10947.

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
Writing for the CourtMARIS, STALEY and HASTIE, Circuit
Citation206 F.2d 149
PartiesIn re NEFF.
Docket NumberNo. 10947.
Decision Date30 July 1953

206 F.2d 149 (1953)

In re NEFF.

No. 10947.

United States Court of Appeals Third Circuit.

Argued May 21, 1953.

Decided July 30, 1953.


206 F.2d 150

Morton Stavis, Newark, N. J., for appellant.

Alexander Feinberg, Asst. U. S. Atty., Newark, N. J. (Grover C. Richman, Jr., U. S. Atty., on the brief), for appellee.

Before MARIS, STALEY and HASTIE, Circuit Judges.

MARIS, Circuit Judge.

The issue presented by this appeal is whether a witness under subpoena during a criminal trial may be compelled over her objection based on the constitutional privilege against self-incrimination to answer certain questions which she had answered a year earlier before the grand jury which indicted the defendant on trial.

The defendant, Sylvia Neff, on October 21, 1952, in response to a subpoena issued by the Government, appeared as a witness in the District Court for the District of New Jersey at the trial of the case of United States v. Anthony Valenti, also known as Valentino. Valentino was being tried under an indictment charging him with filing a false non-Communist affidavit under Section 9(h) of the Labor Management Relations Act, 29 U.S.C.A. § 159(h). The defendant, an office secretary of Local 80A, United Packinghouse Workers of America, in Camden, New Jersey, of which union Valentino was business agent, in her capacity as a notary public had taken the affidavit in question. A year earlier she had been subpoenaed to appear before the federal grand jury for the District of New Jersey which was conducting an investigation of Valentino. When the present defendant appeared before the grand jury she was asked a number of questions concerning Valentino which she answered. She was also asked as to her own membership in the Communist Party and her participation in its affairs. As a result of her testimony before the grand jury she was indicted for perjury for falsely answering three questions: namely, whether she had ever attended a meeting of the Communist Party, whether she had ever collected dues for the Communist Party and whether she had ever handled any money for the Communist Party. She was found guilty, after a trial on the charge of perjury, and sentenced on June 20, 1952, to imprisonment aggregating ten years. An appeal from her conviction is presently pending in this court.

Upon being called as a witness in Valentino's trial, the defendant after testifying she knew Valentino about 12 years and had worked for him since 1944 refused to state from whom she took direct instructions. Thereupon the jury was temporarily excused. The testimony she gave before the grand jury was read to her. Thereafter the trial judge advised her that the questions propounded to her thus far by the prosecuting attorney were not incriminating, but that even if subsequent questions could be proved to be incriminating, if they should be questions which she had previously answered before the grand jury, she had waived her right against self-incrimination as to them and he directed her to answer them. The defendant informed the trial judge that she had during the recess telephoned her attorney in Newark for advice and that he was then on his way to Camden. However, the trial judge stated that the trial could not wait and he directed the prosecuting attorney to further examine the defendant. In particular the defendant was directed by the trial judge to answer seven questions which she refused to answer upon the ground that her answers might incriminate her. The questions were these:

"Any time did you know him Sid Stein to be a Communist?"
"Do you know Julius Zinman?"
"Did you ever discuss the Communist Party with Mr. Valentino?"
"Were you ever a member of the Communist Party, Mrs. Neff?"
"Have you ever seen Mr. Julius Zinman in Mr. Valentino\'s office?"
"Do you know Lou Malinow?"
206 F.2d 151
"Did you ever see Sid Stein in the union office?"1

At the close of the defendant's testimony the prosecuting attorney prepared contempt charges against the defendant. On November 28, 1952, at the hearing on these charges the record of the defendant's perjury trial was made part of the record as well as those parts of the record of the Valentino trial in which appeared the defendant's testimony and the testimony of another witness stating that Sid Stein was chairman of the South Jersey group of the Communist Party. The defendant sought to prove by this record that the individuals as to whom questions were asked of the defendant had been identified as having been members of the Communist Party. After hearing, the trial judge found that the questions asked were material and relevant to the pending issue and that the defendant, in willfully refusing to answer them, had obstructed justice and prejudiced the conduct of the case, for which she was found guilty of contempt in the presence of the court and sentenced to one year's imprisonment.

The defendant...

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66 practice notes
  • United States v. Handley, No. CR 84-AR-104-NE.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Alabama
    • September 8, 1986
    ...other trial, or on a former trial of the same case, and without reference to his declarations at some other time or place. In re Neff, 206 F.2d 149, 152 (3rd Cir. 1953). See Ballantyne v. United States, 237 F.2d 657, 665 (5th Cir.1956) (citing In re Neff with approval). Cf. United States v.......
  • U.S. v. Apfelbaum, No. 77-2427
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • August 10, 1978
    ...be invoked to avoid disclosure of the details"); Brown v. Walker, 161 U.S. 591, 16 S.Ct. 644, 40 L.Ed. 819 (1896). See also In re Neff, 206 F.2d 149 (3d Cir. 1953). In light of the Government's failure to raise this issue, we do not address it here. Stotler & Co., Inc. v. Amstar Corp., 579 ......
  • Ellis v. United States, No. 21918
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • April 30, 1969
    ...various interests of individuals and their society, and to harmonize them with maximum attention to reality. We now turn to In re Neff, 206 F.2d 149 (3d Cir. 1953), for a fuller discussion of the precedent that seems to have launched the doctrine invoked by the witness and the trial judge. ......
  • Emspak v. United States, No. 9
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • May 23, 1955
    ...privilege in response to questions whether the witness knew R. L. O'Donnell and Anthony Accardo; Judge Maris in In re Neff, 3 Cir., 206 F.2d 149, 36 A.L.R.2d 1398, upholding privilege in response to questions whether the witness knew Julius Zinman and Lou Malinow. See also Alexander v. Unit......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
66 cases
  • United States v. Handley, No. CR 84-AR-104-NE.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Alabama
    • September 8, 1986
    ...other trial, or on a former trial of the same case, and without reference to his declarations at some other time or place. In re Neff, 206 F.2d 149, 152 (3rd Cir. 1953). See Ballantyne v. United States, 237 F.2d 657, 665 (5th Cir.1956) (citing In re Neff with approval). Cf. United States v.......
  • U.S. v. Apfelbaum, No. 77-2427
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • August 10, 1978
    ...be invoked to avoid disclosure of the details"); Brown v. Walker, 161 U.S. 591, 16 S.Ct. 644, 40 L.Ed. 819 (1896). See also In re Neff, 206 F.2d 149 (3d Cir. 1953). In light of the Government's failure to raise this issue, we do not address it here. Stotler & Co., Inc. v. Amstar Corp., 579 ......
  • Ellis v. United States, No. 21918
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • April 30, 1969
    ...various interests of individuals and their society, and to harmonize them with maximum attention to reality. We now turn to In re Neff, 206 F.2d 149 (3d Cir. 1953), for a fuller discussion of the precedent that seems to have launched the doctrine invoked by the witness and the trial judge. ......
  • Emspak v. United States, No. 9
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • May 23, 1955
    ...privilege in response to questions whether the witness knew R. L. O'Donnell and Anthony Accardo; Judge Maris in In re Neff, 3 Cir., 206 F.2d 149, 36 A.L.R.2d 1398, upholding privilege in response to questions whether the witness knew Julius Zinman and Lou Malinow. See also Alexander v. Unit......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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