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State v. Borrell

Decided: March 14, 1955.

THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
FRANK N. BORRELL, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



On appeal from the Bergen County Court, Law Division.

For affirmance -- Chief Justice Vanderbilt and Justices Heher, Oliphant, Wachenfeld, Burling, Jacobs and Brennan. For reversal -- None. The opinion of the court was delivered by Wachenfeld, J.

Wachenfeld

The Bergen County grand jury on March 10, 1953 was continuing an investigation and inquiry about matters concerning official misconduct and corruption.

The defendant was and had been for 30 years the chief of police of Cliffside Park in that county and was called before the grand jury for interrogation. He was asked whether he had ever made an "official inspection" of certain premises known as 452 Palisade Avenue, Cliffside Park, and denied ever having been there. In response to the following question, he gave a "No" answer:

"Q. * * * Were you or were you not ever on the premises known as 452 Palisade Avenue in Cliffside Park for the purpose of making an official inspection?"

The defendant was subsequently indicted by the grand jury under N.J.S. 2 A:131-4 for false swearing in answer to the above question. The pertinent part of the indictment recites:

"* * * Frank Borrell, being so sworn as aforesaid, did willfully swear falsely in substance and effect that he never made an official inspection visit to the premises 452 Palisade Avenue, Borough of Cliffside Park, County of Bergen and State of New Jersey, which statement the said * * * Frank Borrell then and there well knew was false * * *."

At the trial, Stephen Toth, formerly an assistant prosecutor in Bergen County, testified that on November 2, 1945 he and the county chief of detectives went to Cliffside Park for the purpose of investigating certain addresses within that city based upon information they had received about gambling activities which were being carried on there. They had neither search warrant nor process of any kind.

First they went to Cliffside Park police headquarters to advise them of the inspection visits and to secure a local police officer to accompany them. Borrell was not at headquarters when Toth arrived but came in later and designated himself and Sergeant Hozer of the Cliffside Park police to accompany Toth and the county chief of detectives.

Toth told him:

"* * * we wanted him, together with any other man he wanted to take along, to come with us to make these inspections. We wanted local police to be there with us."

Toth apparently was the only one who knew the addresses to be inspected.

"Q. You wanted the element of surprise work in your favor? A. As far as I was concerned, yes. * * *

Q. They didn't know where to go, you were the one to lead them to those places, Mr. Toth. Isn't that so? A. They didn't know where to go prior to our arriving there."

Their first stop, according to Toth, was at 452 Palisade Avenue, which was a two-story building having a store on the first floor, an entrance hallway alongside of it and an

apartment above. He said the store was closed and all of the officers went into the entrance hall. The doors were locked and ...


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