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State v. Gibbs

Decided: July 22, 1946.

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



On writ of error to the Warren Quarter Sessions.

For the State of New Jersey, Saul N. Schechter, Prosecutor of the Pleas of the County of Warren.

For the plaintiff in error, Frank G. Schlosser, Harry Runyon and Peter Friedman.

Before Case, Chief Justice, and Justice Heher.

Case

The opinion of the court was delivered by

CASE, CHIEF JUSTICE. The plaintiff in error was found guilty of advocating the death of his wife in violation of subdivision (a) of R.S. 2:138-8. The statutory provision follows:

"2:138-8. Advocating or threatening to take life.

"Any person who shall, in public or private, by speech, writing, printing or drawing, or by any other method:

"a. Advocate the death of any person; or

"b. Threaten to take or procure the taking of the life of any person --

"Shall be guilty of a high misdemeanor, and punished by fine not exceeding five thousand dollars, or imprisonment at hard labor not exceeding fifteen years, or both."

The first and second points argued by the plaintiff in error are related. They are: First, that the statute upon which the indictment, conviction and sentence were based is so vague, indefinite and uncertain in its terms as to violate the due process of law clause of the Fourteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States; second, that the indictment does not inform the accused of the nature and cause of the accusation as required by paragraph 8, article I of the state constitution.

The rule applicable to the first point is thus stated in Connally v. General Construction Co., ...


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