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State v. Garrison

Decided: July 20, 1943.

THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY, DEFENDANT IN ERROR,
v.
WILLIAM S. GARRISON, PAUL HARDIMAN, FRANK MCELHATTAN AND WILLIAM HUGHES, PLAINTIFFS IN ERROR



On writ of error.

For the state, Arthur C. Dunn.

For the plaintiffs in error, Nicholas O. Beery.

Before Brogan, Chief Justice, and Justice Bodine.

Bodine

The opinion of the court was delivered by

BODINE, J. The plaintiffs in error were convicted of a conspiracy to commit the crimes set forth in the indictment. The criminal activities charged broadly involve the misuse of their position as members of the Board of Aldermen of the

City of Paterson. It was charged that they were corruptly instrumental in refusing a junk yard license and in changing and altering junk yard ordinances. The case was purely one of fact and was, we think, properly submitted to the jury. If they believed the witnesses called by the state they must have found as they did.

The first point made for a reversal is error in denying the request made on motion to quash the indictment to submit affidavits indicating that the foreman of the grand jury was not present in the grand jury room during its deliberations and while testimony to support the indictment was given.

A motion to quash an indictment is addressed to the discretion of the court, and a denial thereof is not reviewable on strict writ of error or under section 136 of the Criminal Procedure Act now R.S. 2:195-16. State v. Pisaniello, 88 N.J.L. 262; State v. Haimowicz, 125 Id. 526. The indictment before us is not insufficient on its face. See State v. Borg, 9 N.J. Mis. R. 59. The trial court and this court are in no way concerned with the sufficiency or the insufficiency, the competency or incompetency of the testimony before the grand jury. State v. Dayton, 23 N.J.L. 49; State v. Borg, 8 N.J. Mis. R. 349, 705. The defendant in a criminal case has no right to be informed of the evidence on which the grand jury acted. It is the grand jurors' responsibility to consider the matter and not the function of the court to review the basis for their action, except in case of misconduct.

Suffice it that the facts charged in the indictment constitute a crime. Even though the foreman of the grand jury, or in his absence, one selected by the court has power to administer an oath to witnesses, R.S. 2:89-1-2, it is not incumbent that witnesses before a grand jury be sworn. There is no standard laid down in the law for the procedure of that body.

It is argued that the indictment was insufficient in that it did not specify all the acts of the conspirators, but it is sufficient in that it alleges enough facts with particularity to constitute the crime charged.

It seems that the trial court could not have directed the acquittal of the defendants. The ...


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