Ungar v. Sarafite

PETITIONER: Ungar
RESPONDENT: Sarafite
LOCATION: S.S. Hornfels

DOCKET NO.: 167
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1962-1965)
LOWER COURT:

CITATION: 376 US 575 (1964)
ARGUED: Feb 24, 1964
DECIDED: Mar 30, 1964

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Ungar v. Sarafite

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - February 24, 1964 in Ungar v. Sarafite

Earl Warren:

-- versus Hon. Joseph A. Sarafite, Judge.

Osmond K. Fraenkel:

May I please the Court.

Earl Warren:

Mr. –

Osmond K. Fraenkel:

Mr. Fraenkel.

Earl Warren:

-- Redfield.

Osmond K. Fraenkel:

No Mr. Fraenkel.

Earl Warren:

Oh, Mr. Fraenkel.

Osmond K. Fraenkel:

Yes sir.

Earl Warren:

Of course Fraenkel.

Osmond K. Fraenkel:

Mr. Redfield is going to deal with the legal questions primarily and I will relate the circumstances under which the case arose.

This is an appeal from a summary contempt conviction of a witness at a criminal trial in the city of New York.

The conviction took place sometime after the conclusion of the trial.

The trial itself was that of former Borough President of Manhattan, Hulan Jack.

Mr. Jack was charged with conspiracy and this witness, appellant here, was named as a coconspirator, but was not indicted.

The charge was generally that Mr. Jack had received favors from persons who might have benefited in connection with official duties performed by Mr. Jack.

One of those charges involved this appellant although Mr. Jack was ultimately acquitted of that particular charge.

Appellant, a lawyer and engaged in real estate business ventures had for many years been an intimate personal friend of Mr. Jack's and a close political associate.

He was convinced of Mr. Jack's innocence.

He was called by the prosecution after having testified at length before the grand jury and during the first trial, because the first trial resulted in a disagreement and this occurrence which is the subject of this appeal was at the second trial, during the first trial differences arose between Mr. Ungar as a witness and the prosecuting attorney Mr. Scotti and the Judge and I might note parenthetically that Mr. Scotti and the Judge had been close associates in the district attorney's office before the judge ascended the bench and as a result Mr. Ungar was treated as a hostile witness.

It also developed during the first trial that the defendant's attorney Mr. Baker --

Earl Warren:

May I ask what (Inaudible) eye witness?

Osmond K. Fraenkel:

He claims he was not, the Judge ruled that he was --

Earl Warren:

And he refused -- and he refused to testify that actually he was given immunity?

Osmond K. Fraenkel:

He had originally asked for immunity.

He then sought to withdraw that immunity unsuccessfully.

In any case --

Earl Warren:

That wouldn't indicate that he was very friendly, would it?

Osmond K. Fraenkel:

No and of course he was, he admittedly believed that the defendant was innocent.

Difficulties arose --

Earl Warren:

Which in itself -- which in itself might name that he was a defendant witness?