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In re Application of Waterfront Commission

Decided: February 3, 1956.

IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION OF WATERFRONT COMMISSION OF NEW YORK HARBOR TO PUNISH FOR FAILURE TO OBEY A SUBPOENA FRANK MURRAY AND JAMES CALABRESE


Proctor, J.s.c.

Proctor

This is a motion pursuant to R.R. 4:46-5(c) for an order to punish each of the defendants as for a contempt of court for failure to obey a subpoena issued by the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor.

The commission is a body corporate and politic, an instrumentality of the States of New Jersey and New York, created by L. 1953, cc. 202, 203; L. 1954, c. 14; N.J.S.A. 32:23-1 et seq; N.Y. Laws 1953, cc. 882, 883, McK. Unconsol. Laws, sec. 6700- aa, et seq. , which laws are known as "The Waterfront Compact." The Compact between the states received the consent of Congress. U.S. Public Laws 252, c. 407, 83 rd Congress , 1 st Session , 67 Stat. 541.

The Compact resulted from findings by the States of New Jersey and New York that conditions under which waterfront labor is employed within the Port of New York District

are depressing and degrading to such labor and an inducement to criminal and corrupt practices and, hence, detrimental to the public safety and economic welfare of the people of both states. It is clear that in the formation of the Compact the lawmakers intended to deal with joint problems existing throughout a single port area situated partly in one and partly in the other state and not with separate problems in separate ports in each state. Consequently, there was established a single bi-state agency to administer the joint legislative program throughout the Port of New York District embracing the New Jersey-New York waterfront. The Compact contains a series of measures designed to eliminate the conditions mentioned above and grants to the Waterfront Commission created therein, among other things, investigatory and subpoena powers and the right to administer oaths. (Article IV, sec. 8, 11; Article XI, secs. 3, 5 (N.J.S.A. 32:23-10 (8, 11)); (N.J.S.A. 32:23 (47. 49)). The Compact also empowers the Commission to issue and revoke licenses of stevedores, pier superintendents, hiring agents, longshoremen and port watchmen; (Articles V, VI, VIII, X) (N.J.S.A. 32:23-12 et seq. , 32:23-19 et seq. , 32:23-27 et seq. , 32:23-39 et seq.); to oversee hiring practices (Article XII) (N.J.S.A. 32:23-52 et seq.); to promulgate rules and regulations (Article IV, sec. 7 (N.J.S.A. 32:23-10(7)).

Article IV of the Compact, which empowers the Commission to conduct investigations, provides in part:

"In addition to the powers and duties elsewhere prescribed in this compact, the commission shall have the power * * *

11. To make investigations, collect and compile information concerning waterfront practices generally within the port of New York district and upon all matters relating to the accomplishment of the objectives of this compact * * *." (N.J.S.A. 32:23-10(11)).

The Commission is authorized to issue subpoenas by Article IV, sec. 8 (N.J.S.A. 32:23-10(8)), which provides that the Commission shall have the power:

"8. By its members and its properly designated officers, agents and employees, to administer oaths and issue subpoenas throughout both

States to compel the attendance of witnesses and the giving of testimony and the production of other evidence; * * *."

In connection with determinations to grant or to revoke or suspend licenses or registrations the Commission is authorized to hold hearings and issue subpoenas. Article XI (N.J.S.A. ...


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