Eastwood, Jayne and Clapp. The opinion of the court was delivered by Jayne, J.A.D.
In State v. Lenkowski , 24 N.J. Super. 444 (App. Div. 1953) we sounded the warning that inmates of our prisons should apprehend the likely consequences of knowingly and deliberately presenting to the court a palpably false petition under oath in the endeavor to achieve the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus. The present appeal brings demonstrably to our attention what would seem to be a most disrespectful repudiation of that admonition.
Having been apprehended on charges of breaking and entering a store at Bridgewater, Somerset County, and there committing larceny on August 28, 1951, the defendant was interviewed by a member of the prosecutor's staff at the county jail on November 23, 1951. The object of the discourse was to elicit from the defendant his answers to certain significant interrogatories propounded in a printed form of questionnaire customarily and precautiously used by the prosecutor or his assistants in like or similar situations.
Raicich responded to the several questions, his answers were inserted and he subscribed his signature to the questionnaire in the presence of a witness who thereupon signed it in that capacity.
A reproduction here of the interrogation will be interesting and engaging:
" Somerset County Prosecutor's Office
Questions asked of and answered by Andrew Richard Raicich before he signed a waiver of indictment and right to trial by jury on a charge of Breaking & Ent. at Night and Larceny (2:115-1 & 2:145-2) and Grand Larceny (2:145-2)
1. Are you represented by an attorney? No.
3. Do you wish an opportunity to engage the services of an attorney? No.
4. Are you able to afford the services of an attorney? No.
5. Is any member of your family able to assist you in obtaining an attorney? No.
6. You are entitled to be represented by an attorney. Do you want an attorney assigned to you by the Court to represent you in this matter? No.
7. Have you discussed or considered with your attorney the charges against you for Breaking & Ent. by night and Grand Larceny?
8. Do you want your attorney present before signing a waiver of indictment and your right to trial by jury on these charges? No.
9. Do you want to enter a plea to these charges of Breaking & Ent. by Night and Larceny and Grand Larceny? Yes.
10. I want you to know, before you enter a plea, of the seriousness of your offenses. The law makes it a high misdemeanor, for each charge punishable by a fine not exceeding $2000., or by imprisonment, with or without hard labor, for a term not exceeding seven years, or both, on each charge. Do you understand that? Yes.
11. I want you to understand that I make no promises and that the matter of punishment is entirely up to the Court. Knowing this, are you still willing to plead? Yes.
Two formal accusations were prepared charging the defendant with the crimes of breaking and entering with intent to steal and larceny respectively, in relation to which the defendant in writing waived the requirement of indictment and the right to trial by jury and requested to be tried by the court.
Additionally illuminative is the transcript of the proceedings in the Somerset County Court on November 27, 1951 ...