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City of Plainfield v. Phillips

Decided: December 1, 1955.

CITY OF PLAINFIELD, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
LINCOLN PHILLIPS, JR., DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



Clapp, Jayne and Francis.

Per Curiam

The defendant was charged by detective Leo A. Wilson in the Municipal Court of the City of Plainfield with the commission on August 14, 1954 of offenses in violation of section 3, subdivision (a) and of section 4, subdivision (d) of an ordinance entitled "An Ordinance to regulate the Public Peace, Morals and Good Order and to Prohibit Certain Disorderly Acts," enacted by the governing body of the City of Plainfield.

We are informed that on August 19, 1954 the defendant, perhaps in part unintentionally, pleaded guilty to both accusations in the municipal court, and the punitive sentence for the violation of section 3, subdivision (a) was suspended and the defendant was sentenced to pay a fine of $200 and

serve a period of 90 days of imprisonment for his violation of section 4, subdivision (d) of the ordinance which reads:

"It shall be unlawful for any person to maintain or operate any house, shop or other premises where prostitution, lewdness, immoral activities, gambling, book-making, lotteries or the sale of tickets or participation, rights in any lottery is permitted; or where any slot machine or device or apparatus designed for gambling is kept; or which is frequented or resorted to by noisy or disorderly persons or known criminals, gamblers, prostitutes or other persons of ill repute."

There are some noticeable oddities in the proceedings that ensued. The defendant notwithstanding his pleas of guilty appealed to the Union County Court from his conviction of both of the alleged violations but withdrew the appeal from his conviction of violating section 3, subdivision (a) for which the sentence had been suspended. At a trial de novo on October 14, 1954 in the County Court he was found guilty of violating section 4, subdivision (d) of the ordinance and a like sentence of 90 days' imprisonment and a fine of $200, with a deduction from the term of imprisonment for the period during which he had been incarcerated, was imposed.

The respondent's appendix discloses an order made by the trial judge on January 20, 1955 granting a new trial. The reason for the new trial stated in the precursory recital of the order is "that the transcript of the proceedings taken on October 14, 1954 is inaccurate and is not a true transcript and * * * there are substantial factual and legal errors in the transcript of the proceedings." The order appears to have been entered with the express acquiescence of the attorneys for the defendant and for the city.

On April 11, 1955 the case was evidently listed for retrial and when called, the attorney for the defendant was heard to say:

"If your Honor please, on this case I have a little problem. The defendant was notified at the old address. Apparently he had moved. I tried to locate him this morning by telephone. His new address at 638 West Third Street, Plainfield. He hasn't arrived as yet. I don't know whether he has gone to work or what happened."

The court replied:

"He has to appear today. Otherwise, we will have to just hear the State's ...


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