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State v. Baldanzo

Decided: February 3, 1930.

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, DEFENDANT IN ERROR,
v.
LOUIS BALDANZO, PLAINTIFF IN ERROR



On error to the Supreme Court, whose per curiam is printed in 7 N.J. Mis. R. 421.

For the defendant in error, J. Vincent Barnitt, prosecutor.

For the plaintiff in error, Ward & McGinnis (Peter J. McGinnis, on the brief).

Case

The opinion of the court was delivered by

CASE, J. The case comes from the Supreme Court where, on writ of error to the Passaic Court of Quarter Sessions, the proceedings in the trial court were reviewed and affirmed. The parties will be referred to herein as the state (defendant in error) and the defendant (plaintiff in error).

The defendant was found guilty under an indictment charging him with assault and carnal abuse upon one Anna Lacota, a female child of the age of fourteen years, on February 16th, 1927. The evidence of the defendant's guilt came chiefly and almost exclusively from the girl herself, who testified to three acts of intercourse, the first of which, according to her story, was committed by force and threats at the noon hour, in the cellar of defendant's home, while the family were at dinner on the floor above, and the second and third of which, committed under other circumstances, she designates as "attacks." The respective dates were January 27th, 1927, February 16th, 1927, and July 5th, 1927.

Defendant's brief argues three points: First, that the trial court committed error in excluding evidence which would impeach the credibility of the complaining witness or show her interest, prejudice and bias; second, that the trial court erred in refusing to receive testimony as to the good character of the defendant; and third, that the verdict was against the clear weight of the evidence.

We have examined the thirteen assignments of error set forth under point one and find no reversible error therein.

Under point two are argued various rulings of the court on questions regarding the defendant's reputation. Two of these exceptions are contained in the testimony of Frank Nito, a portion of which is as follows:

"Q. Do you know the defendant, Mr. Baldanzo? A. Yes, sir. Q. How long have you known him? A. Fifteen or sixteen years. * * * Q. Do you know where Mr. Baldanzo lives? A. Yes, sir. * * * Q. Do you know what his reputation is in the neighborhood where he resides for chastity and morality, do you? A. Yes, sir."

The witness was then briefly cross-examined as to his qualifications, after which counsel for defendant asked:

"Q. Do you know what his reputation was prior to January 25th, 1927, for chastity or ...


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