Decided: May 23, 1955.
THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
CHARLES HUBER, PETITIONER-APPELLANT
On appeal from a judgment of the Superior Court, Appellate Division, where the following opinion was filed.
For affirmance -- Chief Justice Vanderbilt, and Justices Heher, Oliphant, Wachenfeld, Burling, Jacobs and Brennan. For reversal -- None.
[18 NJ Page 447]
"Appellant was denied a writ of habeas corpus and now appeals.
"It appears that on June 9, 1949 Huber was indicted for murder. Counsel were assigned to defend him. On November 29, 1949 he appeared in open court with counsel and on being asked how he pleaded, answered: 'Guilty,' whereupon the court interposed: ' Non vult.'
[18 NJ Page 448]
"Then followed statements by both attorneys who represented him, designed to persuade the court that the plea of non vult should be accepted, thus avoiding trial with its possibility of death sentence. The prosecutor joined them in recommending favorable action by the court. The plea was accepted and Huber was sentenced to the New Jersey State Prison for the term of his natural life.
"The basis for the present application is that since the only plea offered by Huber was that of guilty and since such a plea to a first degree murder indictment cannot be accepted, the court had no authority to substitute the non vult plea, but was obliged to set the case down for trial.
"This precise question was raised on the same record in an earlier proceeding and disposed of adversely to appellant. State v. Huber, 23 N.J. Super. 107 (App. Div. 1952).
"The suggestion that a speedy trial had not been afforded also appears in Huber's brief as well as some criticism of his counsel. The record provides no support for either claim.
"The action of the trial court is affirmed."
The judgment is affirmed for the reasons expressed in the opinion per curiam in the court below.