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U.S. Supreme Court

Codispoti v. Pennsylvania, 418 U.S. 506 (1974)

Codispoti v. Pennsylvania

No. 73-5615

Argued March 25, 1974

Decided June 26, 1974

418 U.S. 506


Petitioners, Codispoti and Langnes, were tried before a judge in separate proceedings for contemptuous conduct that allegedly occurred during the course of their criminal trial before another judge, and were found guilty on each of several separate charges. The judge in the contempt proceedings, who refused petitioners' request for a jury trial, imposed consecutive sentences, Codispoti receiving six months for each of six contempts and three months for the seventh (aggregating over three years), and Langnes six months for each of five contempts and two months for the sixth (aggregating close to three years). The Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed. This Court granted certiorari limited to questions raising the issue whether petitioners should have been afforded a jury trial.


1. Though a crime carrying more than a six-month sentence is a serious offense triable by jury, Frank v. United States, 395 U. S. 147; Baldwin v. New York, 399 U. S. 66, an alleged contemnor is not entitled to a jury trial simply because a strong possibility exists that upon conviction he will face a substantial term of imprisonment regardless of the punishment actually imposed. See Taylor v. Hayes, ante, p. 418 U. S. 488. P. 418 U. S. 512.

2. In the case of post-verdict adjudications of various acts of contempt committed during trial, the Sixth Amendment requires a jury trial if the sentences imposed aggregate more than six months, even though no sentence for more than six months was imposed for any one act of contempt. Pp. 418 U. S. 515-517.

453 Pa. 619, 306 A.2d 294, reversed and remanded.

WHITE, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which DOUGLAS, BRENNAN, and POWELL, JJ., joined and in Parts I and III of which MARSHALL, J., joined. MARSHALL, J., filed an opinion concurring in part, post, p. 418 U. S. 518. BLACKMUN, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which BURGER, C.J.,and STEWART and REHNQUIST, JJ., joined, post, p. 418 U. S. 522. REHNQUIST, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in Part II of which BURGER, C.J.,joined, post, p. 418 U. S. 523. chanrobles.com-red

Page 418 U. S. 507


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