On writ of error to the Bergen County Court of Quarter Sessions.
For the defendant in error, John J. Breslin, Jr., Prosecutor of the Pleas (Nicholas A. Carella, of counsel).
For the plaintiff in error, Joseph H. Gaudielle (James A. Major, of counsel).
Before Brogan, Chief Justice, and Justices Parker and Porter.
Plaintiff in error was convicted of a high misdemeanor, i.e., assault with intent to commit rape. The entire record of the proceedings had upon the trial has been certified by the trial court and there is presented a list of specifications of causes for reversal. There are no assignments of error listed.
Four specifications for reversal are argued, viz., (1) that the trial court erred in refusing to direct a verdict of acquittal at the end of the states' case; (2) the trial court erred in refusing the witness, Blaurock, to be sworn and to testify on
the behalf of the defendant; (3) the trial judge erred in his charge to the jury; (4) the verdict is against the weight of the evidence.
There is no merit to the first point. No such motion -- to direct an acquittal -- is to be found in the record. A motion was made to dismiss the indictment, based on the proposition that the state had not sustained the burden of proof. As to this, we consider that the state had made out a case for the jury.
We find no merit in the third and fourth specifications. The court's charge to the jury in the particular complained of was not unreasonable comment. Nor is there any merit to the argument that the verdict was against the weight of the evidence. The defense in this case, a denial of the charge, was quite unconvincing and we think the jury was quite right in rejecting it.
The second specification, however, requires more discussion. The defendant intended to call some character witnesses. One testified. The second, a former township clerk of Washington Township, Steffen Olsen, testified to the excellent reputation of Randle, plaintiff in error, in the community for morality, honesty and truthfulness. The state's attorney cross-examined, as he was privileged to do, with an intent to show interest in or partiality toward the accused. We think sufficient interest and friendship was shown to neutralize the Olsen testimony. The defense then called Arthur Blaurock, a member of the governing body of Washington Township and former police commissioner thereof. The court inquired whether the witness was to testify to defendant's good reputation. On receiving an affirmative answer, the judge asked if the defendant's reputation was going to be disputed. The state's attorney replied that it was not. The court then directed counsel for the defense to call the names of the witnesses who would testify concerning the defendant's reputation in the ...