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State v. Worbetz

New Jersey Supreme Court


Decided: March 14, 1955.

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
RUDOLF WORBETZ, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT

On appeal from a judgment of the Superior Court, Appellate Division, where the following per curiam was filed.

For affirmance -- Chief Justice Vanderbilt, and Justices Heher, Oliphant, Wachenfeld, Burling, Jacobs and Brennan. For reversal -- None.

Per Curiam

[17 NJ Page 570]

"The defendant is an inmate of the New Jersey State Prison serving a sentence imposed upon him as a habitual criminal by the judge of the Somerset County Court of Special Sessions on December 23, 1947. On November 16, 1953 he made formal application for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus to determine the legality of his imprisonment. On December 4, 1953 an order was entered by the judge of the Somerset County Court denying the prayer of his petition. The propriety of the denial of his petition is the subject of the present appeal.

"The defendant's only criticism of the legality of his sentence and consequent imprisonment is that at his arraignment before the Court of Special Sessions at which he voluntarily entered pleas of guilty to three separate accusations each charging him with the crime of armed robbery with appropriate

[17 NJ Page 571]

allegations of his prior convictions, he was not expressly informed by the court of his right to have counsel represent him.

"It is interesting to notice that between October 4, 1940 and May 4, 1944 this defendant had been convicted of seven high misdemeanors to which by the pleas here involved his number of convictions of crime reaches ten. Obviously he was no stranger at the bar of justice. Moreover he does not now deny his guilt of the commission of the crimes to which he entered the pleas. Indeed, nothing is disclosed to warrant a supposition that his pleas of guilty were so unjustly made or accepted as to render the resulting sentence void.

"Of basic significance in the consideration of this appeal is the fact that the arraignment occurred on December 23, 1947. At that time neither the statutory nor decisional law of our State imposed any obligation upon the court to advise a defendant affirmatively of his right to counsel. State v. Cynkowski, 10 N.J. 571, 579 (1952).

"The order under review is affirmed."

The judgment is affirmed for the reasons expressed in the opinion of the court below.

19550314


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