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State v. Lombardo

Decided: March 7, 1952.

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DOMINICK LOMBARDO, DEFENDANT



Palese, J.c.c.

Palese

The defendant, Dominick Lombardo, moves to dismiss three indictments returned by the Camden County grand jury. The indictments are Nos. 985, 986 and 991. The defendant first attacks the indictments on the ground that they are not certified as "true bills" by the foreman of the grand jury.

Rule 2:4-11 provides in part as follows:

"The indictment or accusation shall be a written statement of the essential facts constituting the offense charged. It shall be signed by the prosecuting attorney. The indictment shall be endorsed by the foreman."

It will be noted that the rule does require an endorsement, but there is no requirement in the rule that the indictment shall contain the words "A True Bill"; nor is there anything in the rule that renders the indictment fatally defective without such certification.

The word "endorsed" appears on each indictment and thereunder appears the name of "William P. Partenheimer, Foreman," and each indictment was signed by the prosecuting attorney.

Manifestly the purpose and reason for the endorsement and the signature of the foreman is to identify the indictment and to demonstrate the fact that it is the act of the grand jury.

It may be pointed out that prior to the new rules of criminal procedure such certification by the foreman was not a necessary prerequisite to the validity of an indictment.

In the case of the State v. Magrath , 44 N.J.L. 227 (Sup. Ct. 1882), Justice Beasley reviewed the entire subject concerning the necessary formal requisites of an indictment, and concluded that it is not necessary to the validity of an indictment that it be certified as a "true bill." It was not even necessary under the aforementioned case for the foreman to sign the indictment, although Justice Beasley acknowledges that the American authorities were in conflict upon this subject and felt that his determination was best sustained by reason, and as well sustained by authority.

The endorsements as appear on each indictment are sufficient to identify the indictments and there is a sufficient compliance with the provisions of Rule 2:4-11.

It is difficult to perceive any more sufficient endorsement than the method employed by the foreman of the grand jury with respect to the indictments under consideration.

Defendant urges that indictment No. 985, which charges the defendant with false swearing, contrary to provisions of R.S. 2:157-4 and R.S. 2:157-5, fails to charge a crime, and further that this indictment is fatally defective because in several of the counts wherein statements of an inconsistent nature are alleged the word "willful" is not used.

R.S. 2:157-5 reads as follows:

"Where a person has made contrary statements on his oath or oaths administered within the provisions of this article, it shall not

be necessary to allege in an indictment or allegation which statement is false but it shall be sufficient to set forth the contradictory statements and allege in the ...


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