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State v. Klausner

Decided: July 26, 1949.

THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
ALBERT KLAUSNER, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



McGeehan, Donges and Colie. The opinion of the court was delivered by Donges, J.A.D.

Donges

Defendant appeals from a judgment of conviction, entered on verdict of a jury in the Bergen County Court, on an indictment charging defendant, Klausner, with conspiracy with P. James Pellecchia, John Lennon, alias Jack Lennon, John Doe and Richard Roe, to violate the gambling statutes and, particularly, R.S. 2:135.

The first point urged for reversal is that "there was neither proof of intent to conspire nor proof of corrupt agreement" as against Klausner.

In State v. Gregory , 93 N.J.L. 205, 107 A. 459 (E. & A. 1919), it was held:

"One who participates in the corrupt agreement with knowledge that it is corrupt, and that what he is doing is in furtherance of that agreement, would be as guilty as if he had originally conspired * * *."

And in State v. Garrison , 130 N.J.L. 350, 33 A.2d 113 (Sup. Ct. 1943), it was held that "A conspiracy may be proved by overt acts done in pursuance thereof."

It appears from Klausner's own voluntary statement that he illegally installed telephone extensions for Lennon, at various addresses at the latter's direction; that he knew that Lennon employed "sitters" to take horse racing bets over these telephones, and actually saw such bets being recorded

on "scratch sheets" by the "sitters" at these telephones; that he had picked up Lennon's mail from P.O. Box 120, over a period of time, since he first got to know Lennon, which was approximately three years prior to August 30, 1948; that he delivered the mail from the post office box, some of which was addressed to the box number only and some to Lennon, to Lennon's places of business, at various times; and that he had instructions from Lennon never to leave the mail exposed, but to put it in the safe, if Lennon was not there, for which purpose he was given the safe combination.

Thus Klausner's own admission clearly establish that he had knowledge of a corrupt agreement between Lennon and a person or persons, unknown to Klausner, whereby Lennon, as a bookmaker, was taking horse racing bets telephoned in by the other party or parties to the agreement. It is, also, clear that Klausner's acts, in illegally installing telephone extensions, were knowingly in furtherance of said corrupt agreement, and were overt acts evidential of a conspiracy and an intent to conspire to violate the law.

The inference to be drawn from Klausner's picking up the mail from P.O. Box 120 and delivering same to Lennon over a three year period is perhaps not so obvious. Klausner said he never saw "the inside of the mail" (A-111a-10) and that he didn't know what Lennon did with it (A-111a-17). Nevertheless, even on this point, the inference is almost inescapable that although Klausner wasn't aware of the specific content of the mail, nor of Lennon's disposition of same, he nevertheless realized that it was in some manner connected with Lennon's bookmaking activities and, hence, he, Klausner, was acting in furtherance of their common corrupt purpose.

The overt acts of the defendant Klausner when considered in the light of his knowledge of Lennon's bookmaking activities furnish evidence of intent to conspire and corrupt agreement which is sufficient to support the charge of conspiracy.

"No written formal or definite agreement is necessary to constitute a conspiracy, its existence being generally a matter of inference from the acts of the parties * * *. Previous acquaintance between the conspirators is ...


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