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In re Contempt Proceedings Against Joseph Schwartz

Decided: April 25, 1946.

IN THE MATTER OF CONTEMPT PROCEEDINGS AGAINST JOSEPH SCHWARTZ


On appeal from the Supreme Court, whose opinion is reported in 133 N.J.L. 79.

For the appellant, William Elmer Brown, Jr. (Charles S. Moore, of counsel).

For the respondent, Lewis P. Scott, Prosecutor of the Pleas, and David R. Brone, First Assistant Prosecutor of the Pleas.

Colie

The opinion of the court was delivered by

COLIE, J. This appeal brings up for review a judgment of the Supreme Court affirming a judgment of the Atlantic County Court of Oyer and Terminer which adjudged Joseph Schwartz guilty of contempt of court "by reason of his refusal to answer certain questions propounded to him on the seventeenth day of November, 1943, in the presence of the October Term, 1943, Grand Jury in and for the County of Atlantic."

Schwartz had been a member of the grand jury at the May term, 1943, and had produced before it certain papers having to do with an unlawful activity, commonly known as "numbers."

The succeeding grand jury caused Schwartz to be served with a subpoena to appear before it "to give evidence" and to bring with him any papers in his possession concerning any violation of the criminal law. He obeyed the mandate of the subpoena by appearing and as will hereinafter be shown no point is made of a failure to bring with him "any documentary information or other papers" as called for by the subpoena. While testifying before the grand jury Mr. Schwartz was asked certain questions and what then transpired was as follows:

"Q. Mr. Schwartz, the grand jury has requested your appearance here to-day in order that we again can ask about the number slips, which you had in your possession on or about October 5th. My question is from whom did you get those slips? A. I have no statement.

"Q. I am asking you now from whom did you get those slips? A. I refuse to state.

"Q. You also stated one time at least that certain information had come to your knowledge concerning the operation of the law enforcement agencies in the city and county from certain city and county employees, whose names at that time you refused to give because they might lose their jobs. I ask for the names of those city and county employees. A. I not only said they might lose their jobs, but it was given to me with the distinct understanding that I would not reveal the source and for that reason I refuse to answer that question.

"Q. I would like to admonish you, Mr. Schwartz, this grand jury has a right to have that answer legally and you have a perfect right to give their names. I assure you this grand jury would not reveal their names, and they would not lose their jobs. I ask again for those names. A. I am very sorry I will not give it to you. I have not been relieved from my promise not to reveal their names."

Thereafter a rule to show cause issued out of the Court of Oyer and Terminer directing Mr. Schwartz to show cause why he should not be adjudged in contempt of the grand jury for refusing to answer the specific questions hereinabove set forth. On the adjourned date of the rule to show cause, ...


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