On appeal from Superior Court, Law Division, Bergen County.
For affirmance -- Justices Heher, Oliphant, Wachenfeld, Burling, Jacobs and Brennan. For reversal -- None. The opinion of the court was delivered by Wachenfeld, J.
The query presented is whether the currency seized by law enforcement authorities in the execution of a search warrant directed to the residence of Leo Link, an admitted bookmaker, who later pleaded non vult to an indictment charging him as such, was properly forfeited to the State.
The seizure was made from a wall safe in Link's residence, where he concededly conducted part of his bookmaking operations. The circumstances were as follows:
The sole occupation of Leo Link, alias J. W. Donaldson, in 1950 and for a long time prior thereto, was bookmaking. He received and paid off bets over the Western Union Telegraph system. Originally he operated and resided in Hudson County but moved from Jersey City to 479 Beatrice Street, Teaneck, Bergen County, New Jersey, in 1943 with his wife Violet Link and his mother-in-law Louise Schanals.
In 1947 and thereafter he carried on his bookmaking activities through the Passaic office of the Western Union Telegraph Company. He received bets by telegraph from all parts of the country, but the main volume of this illegal
business was transmitted to and emanated from the office of the telegraph company in Bridgeton, Cumberland County.
In June 1948 the police authorities of Cumberland County initiated an investigation in reference to the operations of the telegraph company at Bridgeton. It was disclosed that wagers on horse races were sent by telegraph from Bridgeton to Link, using the name of Donaldson, in Passaic County, and to C.J. Rich & Company in Illinois, and the winnings were sent to Bridgeton by telegraph money orders.
In April 1950 a Deputy Attorney General and other law enforcement officials raided the telegraph office, seized and impounded the many messages referring to horse race bets. The grand jury of Cumberland County on June 5, 1950 indicted the company and Frake, its manager, for maintaining a disorderly house at the Bridgeton office. Both defendants were convicted after trial and the judgment was affirmed on appeal. State v. Western Union Telegraph Co., 12 N.J. 468 (1953).
The evidence in that case indicated that on frequent occasions there were 20 to 25 people in the office sending telegrams to Donaldson and that approximately 8,000 money orders issued out of the Bridgeton office to Donaldson in Passaic County and Rich & Company during the six months commencing with November 1949.
Another indictment was returned against the company, Frake and Donaldson, alias Link, who were charged with conspiracy to make book.
On October 23, 1950, pursuant to a search warrant issued for that purpose, a number of law enforcement officials, headed by Mr. Stamler, then a Deputy Attorney-General of the State, went to the Beatrice Street, Teaneck, address and there seized $127,000 in United States currency which they discovered, as already alluded to, in a safe recessed in a wall of the basement adjacent to a room where Link had a desk and a telephone from which he had apparently directed his bookmaking activities.
In the safe the raiding party found a warehouse receipt which led them to a warehouse in ...