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In re Burke

Decided: March 9, 1955.

IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION OF MAURICE BURKE FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS


The opinion of the court was delivered by Mariano, J.s.c. (temporarily assigned).

Mariano

Maurice Burke, while incarcerated in the Hudson County Jail filed what is considered by me to be a petition for writ of habeas corpus. I allowed the same. Subsequently, Abraham Miller, a member of the Bar of the State of New Jersey, practicing in Hudson County, was appointed to represent Mr. Burke. He thereafter conducted an investigation, and subsequently the matter was set down for oral hearing on Monday, March 7, 1955.

The facts established during the said hearing are as follows:

About 2 A.M. on the morning of October 14, 1954 Mrs. Burke, the wife of the petitioner, called the police department of Jersey City and complained that her husband was intoxicated and also causing a disturbance by attempting to forcibly enter their apartment. After the arrival of the police officers Mrs. Burke was requested to present herself at the municipal court clerk's office at the hour of 9 A.M. of the same day. Promptly at the appointed hour she appeared and signed a formal complaint charging her husband with violating N.J.S. 2 A:170-30. By some unexplained circumstance, the petitioner was also present in the courtroom, and upon the matter being called by the magistrate, both husband and wife proceeded to approach the bench. Petitioner was not served with a summons nor a complaint.

After the magistrate heard the testimony of the wife, her husband, the present petitioner, upon being asked if he had

anything to say, let loose with a tirade of insulting and unspeakable language, immediately after which he was sentenced to serve a term of one year in the Hudson County jail. From the lips of the witnesses for the State and the petitioner, it is learned that Mr. Burke, as he stood before the court, was under the influence of intoxicating liquor. Some of the terms used to manifest the intoxicated condition of the petitioner were as follows:

"There still was the effect of drink in him";

"He was in pretty good shape";

"He had signs of drink in him when he appeared before you:" "He did";

"But he had signs of drink on him during the trial; is that right?" "He certainly did."

The petitioner challenges his conviction by the use of the writ of habeas corpus , and properly so. He alleges that his constitutional rights were violated in that he was not afforded an opportunity to be heard in his own defense, nor an opportunity to plead to the charge, and other material allegations.

Under such circumstances, the petitioner is entitled to be afforded the protection and the remedy provided for by the use of the writ of habeas corpus , for in the matter of State v. Cynkowski , 10 N.J. 571, at pages 575 and 576 (1952), Mr. Justice ...


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