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State v. Hogan

Decided: October 6, 1944.

THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY, DEFENDANT IN ERROR,
v.
JAMES HOGAN, PLAINTIFF IN ERROR



On writ of error to the Hudson County Court of Quarter Sessions.

For the plaintiff in error, William P. Gannon and Andrew O. Wittreich.

For the defendant in error, William George and Frank G. Schlosser.

Before Brogan, Chief Justice, and Justices Donges and Perskie.

Donges

The opinion of the court was delivered by

DONGES, J. This writ of error brings up for review the judgment of conviction of the plaintiff in error in the Hudson County Court of Quarter Sessions upon an indictment charging robbery. The facts are outlined at some length in a previous opinion of this court and need not be repeated here. State v. Hogan, 13 N.J. Mis. R. 117; affirmed, 115 N.J.L. 531.

The first point argued by the plaintiff in error is that there was prejudicial error in the alleged delegation of judicial powers by the trial court to the clerk of the court. On this point it is argued that the clerk conveyed a request of the jury to the trial judge and communicated his response to the jury. The state contends that there is no assignment of error or specification of cause for reversal sufficient to present this question. The only assignments of error or specifications of cause for reversal that might relate to this point are as follows:

"20. The trial court erred in delegating his powers to the clerk of the court in that he allowed the clerk to instruct the jury as to its duties.

"21. Because the defendant was deprived of his rights in that the charge having been given to the jury by a person other than the court itself and in his absence, he was unable to ask the court to request a specific charge."

In State v. Bassone, 109 N.J.L. 176, the Court of Errors and Appeals held, "But this argument has no proper assignment of error or cause for reversal to support it, in view of the rule that in criminal cases brought up by writ of error, whether on bills of exceptions or under sections 136 and 137 of the Criminal Procedure Act, or both, the assignments of error and causes for reversal should specifically point out the judicial action complained of." Citing State v. Blaine, 104 Id. 325, where, for the Court of Errors and Appeals, it was said, "When the entire proceedings at the trial are certified pursuant to sections 136 and 137 of the Criminal Procedure Act, the specifications of causes for reversal should be as full and definite as assignments of error; in the language of this court in State v. Herron, 77 Id. 523 (at p. 525), the object of section 137 is 'to apprise the court, and counsel for the state, of the cause for reversal with sufficient precision to make the point intelligible.'"

In State Highway Commission v. Zyk, 105 N.J.L. 156, the same ruling was made by the Court of Errors and Appeals. In Donnelly v. State, 26 Id. 463, this court said, "So in the assignment, the grounds of errors should be specified. The ...


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