Shillitani v. United States Pappadio v. United States, Nos. 412 and 442

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtCLARK
Citation16 L.Ed.2d 622,384 U.S. 364,86 S.Ct. 1531
PartiesSalvatore SHILLITANI, Petitioner, v. UNITED STATES of America. Andimo PAPPADIO, Petitioner, v. UNITED STATES of America
Docket NumberNos. 412 and 442
Decision Date06 June 1966

384 U.S. 364
86 S.Ct. 1531
16 L.Ed.2d 622
Salvatore SHILLITANI, Petitioner,

v.

UNITED STATES of America. Andimo PAPPADIO, Petitioner, v. UNITED STATES of America.

Nos. 412 and 442.
Argued March 2, 1966.
Decided June 6, 1966.

Albert J. Krieger, New York City, and Jacob Kossman, Philadelphia, Pa., for petitioners.

Ralph S. Spritzer, Washington, D.C., for respondent.

Page 365

Mr. Justice CLARK delivered the opinion of the Court.

These consolidated cases again present the difficult question whether a charge of contempt against a witness for refusal to answer questions before a grand jury requires an indictment and jury trial. In both cases, contempt proceedings were instituted after petitioners had refused to testify under immunity granted by the respective District Courts. Neither petitioner was indicted or given a jury trial. Both were found guilty and sentenced to two years' imprisonment, with the proviso that if either answered the questions before his sentence ended, he would be released. The opinion of the District Court in Pappadio is reported at 235 F.Supp. 887 (D.C.S.D.N.Y.1964). In Shillitani, the District Court simply entered an order, which is not reported. The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed each conviction in separate opinions. United States v. Pappadio, 346 F.2d 5 (2 Cir., 1965); United States v. Shillitani, 345 F.2d 290 (2 Cir., 1965). We granted certiorari to review the validity of the sentences imposed in both cases. 382 U.S. 913, 916, 86 S.Ct. 287, 15 L.Ed.2d 231 (1965). We hold that the conditional nature of these sentences renders each of the actions a civil contempt proceeding, for which indictment and jury trial are not constitutionally required. However, since the term of the grand jury before which petitioners were contumacious has expired, the judgments below must be vacated and the cases remanded for dismissal.

I.

No. 412, Shillitani v. United States.

Shillitani appeared under subpoena before a grand jury investigating possible violations of the federal narcotics laws. On three occasions he refused to answer

Page 366

questions, invoking his privilege against self-incrimination. At the Government's request, the District Judge then granted him immunity under the Narcotic Control Act of 1956, 18 U.S.C. § 1406 (1964 ed.), and ordered him to answer certain questions. When called before the grand jury again, Shillitani persisted in his refusal. Thereafter, in a proceeding under Rule 42(b) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure,1 the District Court found him guilty of criminal contempt. No jury trial was requested. Shillitani was sentenced to prison for two years 'or until the further order of this Court. Should * * * Mr. Shillitani answer those questions before the expiration of said sentence, or the discharge of the said grand jury, whichever may first occur, the further order of this Court may be made terminating the sentence of imprisonment.' The Court of Appeals affirmed, rejecting Shillitani's constitutional objection to the imposition of a two-year sentence without indictment or trial by jury on the basis that 'the contempt proceedings preceded any compliance' and the 'sentence contained a

Page 367

purge clause.' It further construed the sentence as giving Shillitani an unqualified right to be released if and when he obeyed the order to testify. 345 F.2d, at 294.

Pappadio appeared under subpoena before the same grand jury. He also refused three times to answer numerous questions on the ground that the answers would incriminate him. He was then granted immunity under 18 U.S.C. § 1406 and directed to testify. He continued to refuse to answer any questions except those of identification. In opposition to the grand jury's subsequent request that the District Court require Pappadio to cooperate, his attorney claimed that he should not be called as a witness so long as a 1958 indictment charging him with conspiracy to violate the narcotics laws was pending. The District Court held that Pappadio had complete immunity, including any criminal proceeding then pending, and ordered him to answer all questions previously asked. Upon return to the grand jury, Pappadio did respond to numerous questions, but still refused to answer five questions pertaining to his alleged association with a group headed by Thomas Lucchese which engaged in narcotics traffic and other illicit activities.2 An order to show cause was issued, Pappadio's demand for a jury was denied, and the District Court found him in contempt for willful disobedi-

Page 368

ence of its order to testify. He received a sentence almost identical to that given Shillitani, and the Court of Appeals affirmed on the same grounds.3

II.

We believe that the character and purpose of these actions clearly render them civil rather than criminal contempt proceedings. See Penfield Co. v. Securities & Exchange Comm., 330 U.S. 585, 590, 67 S.Ct. 918, 921, 91 L.Ed. 1117 (1947). As the distinction was phrased in Gompers v. Bucks Stove & Range Co., 221 U.S. 418, 449, 31 S.Ct. 492, 501, 55 L.Ed. 797 (1911), the act of disobedience consisted solely 'in refusing to do what had been ordered,' i.e., to answer the questions, not 'in doing what had been prohibited.' And the judgments imposed conditional imprisonment for the obvious purpose of compelling the witnesses to obey the orders to testify. When the petitioners carry 'the keys of their prison in their own pockets,' In re Nevitt, 117 F. 448, 461 (C.A.8th Cir. 1902), the action 'is essentially a civil remedy designed for the benefit of other parties and has quite properly been exercised for centuries to secure compliance with judicial decrees.' Green v. United States, 356 U.S. 165, 197, 78 S.Ct. 632, 650, 2 L.Ed.2d 672 (1958) (Black, J., dissenting). In short, if the petitioners had chosen to obey the order they would not have faced jail. This is evident from the statement of the District Judge at the time he sentenced Shillitani:

'I want to make it clear that the sentence of the Court is not intended so much by way of punishment as it is intended solely to secure for the grand jury answers to the questions that have been asked of you.' (Emphasis supplied.)

Page 369

The Court of Appeals also interpreted the sentence as conditional: 'We construe the judgment in this case * * * to mean that defendant has an unqualified right to be released from prison once he obeys Judge Wyatt's order. As thus construed, the sentence was entirely proper.' 345 F.2d, at...

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1226 practice notes
  • Sheridan v. Garrison, Civ. A. No. 67-1147.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Louisiana
    • August 28, 1967
    ...of jurisdictions. United States v. Pappadio, 2 Cir., 1965, 346 F.2d 5, vacated on other grounds, Shillitani v. United States, 1965, 384 U.S. 364, 86 S.Ct. 1531, 16 L. Ed.2d 622; United States v. Scully, 2 Cir., 1955, 225 F.2d 113, cert. denied 350 U.S. 897, 76 S.Ct. 156, 100 L.Ed. 788; Marc......
  • Jove Engineering, Inc. v. I.R.S., No. 94-6372
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • August 29, 1996
    ...is inherent in all courts." Chambers, 501 U.S. at 44, 111 S.Ct. at 2132 (internal quotations omitted); Shillitani v. United States, 384 U.S. 364, 370, 86 S.Ct. 1531, 1535, 16 L.Ed.2d 622 (1966) ("There can be no question that courts have inherent power to enforce compliance with their lawfu......
  • United States v. JB Williams Company, Inc., No. 70 Civ. 1589.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • January 22, 1973
    ...Supreme Court has held that a jury trial is not constitutionally required in civil contempt proceedings. See Shillitani v. United States, 384 U.S. 364, 365, 371, 86 S.Ct. 1531, 16 L.Ed.2d 622 Defendants argue that the instant action should be likened to a criminal contempt proceeding, both ......
  • In re Nolan W., No. S159524.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • March 30, 2009
    ...that the court has inherent power to enforce compliance with its lawful orders through contempt. (Shillitani v. United States (1966) 384 U.S. 364, 370, 86 S.Ct. 1531, 16 L.Ed.2d 622; In re Michael G. (1988) 44 Cal.3d 283, 288-289, 243 Cal.Rptr. 224, 747 P.2d 1152.) The Legislature has recog......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1227 cases
  • Sheridan v. Garrison, Civ. A. No. 67-1147.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Louisiana
    • August 28, 1967
    ...of jurisdictions. United States v. Pappadio, 2 Cir., 1965, 346 F.2d 5, vacated on other grounds, Shillitani v. United States, 1965, 384 U.S. 364, 86 S.Ct. 1531, 16 L. Ed.2d 622; United States v. Scully, 2 Cir., 1955, 225 F.2d 113, cert. denied 350 U.S. 897, 76 S.Ct. 156, 100 L.Ed. 788; Marc......
  • Jove Engineering, Inc. v. I.R.S., No. 94-6372
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • August 29, 1996
    ...is inherent in all courts." Chambers, 501 U.S. at 44, 111 S.Ct. at 2132 (internal quotations omitted); Shillitani v. United States, 384 U.S. 364, 370, 86 S.Ct. 1531, 1535, 16 L.Ed.2d 622 (1966) ("There can be no question that courts have inherent power to enforce compliance with their lawfu......
  • United States v. JB Williams Company, Inc., No. 70 Civ. 1589.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • January 22, 1973
    ...Supreme Court has held that a jury trial is not constitutionally required in civil contempt proceedings. See Shillitani v. United States, 384 U.S. 364, 365, 371, 86 S.Ct. 1531, 16 L.Ed.2d 622 Defendants argue that the instant action should be likened to a criminal contempt proceeding, both ......
  • In re Nolan W., No. S159524.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • March 30, 2009
    ...that the court has inherent power to enforce compliance with its lawful orders through contempt. (Shillitani v. United States (1966) 384 U.S. 364, 370, 86 S.Ct. 1531, 16 L.Ed.2d 622; In re Michael G. (1988) 44 Cal.3d 283, 288-289, 243 Cal.Rptr. 224, 747 P.2d 1152.) The Legislature has recog......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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