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State v. Dorn

Decided: January 25, 1957.

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, RESPONDENT,
v.
WILLIAM VAN DORN, APPELLANT



Clapp, Jayne and Francis. The opinion of the court was delivered by Francis, J.A.D.

Francis

William Van Dorn was returned to State Prison on January 27, 1956 as a parole violator to complete the maximum terms of imprisonment imposed on him in 1939. He seeks to be discharged from custody alleging that under the circumstances of his case the license to be at liberty granted to him in 1947 absolved him from any further obligation with respect to service of his consecutive sentences totaling 18 to 27 years.

Van Dorn was serving the long sentence mentioned and on June 25, 1946 he was granted a license to be at

liberty (the counterpart of the present parole) by the former Court of Pardons. The license was subject to a number of conditions printed on the reverse side thereof which he was required to agree to and to signify the consent by his signature. Ample authority existed for the imposition of these stipulations and, of course, upon acceptance they became binding. R.S. 2:198-1 (repealed, L. 1949, c. 18, ยง 6); R.S. 2:196 A -10; In re Macejka , 10 N.J. Super. 393, 398 (Cty. Ct. 1950). The license was not signed until May 26, 1947, on which day the parole period began. As of that time, the termination date of his maximum sentence was May 8, 1956, almost nine years later.

It seems to be conceded that when the New Jersey offenses were committed, Van Dorn was on parole in New York; also that he had committed another offense in that state before coming here, for which he had not been apprehended. However, while the sentences were being served in New Jersey, a detainer was lodged with the prison authorities by the State of New York in connection with the crime for which he had not been tried. Upon the same day as the acceptance of the license to be at liberty, he signed a waiver of extradition and consented to be extradited to New York to face that charge and an order was signed by the Mercer County Court directing his delivery to an agent of that state.

The contention is now advanced that no authority existed in the Court of Pardons to grant a license to be at liberty in order to deliver Van Dorn immediately to another jurisdiction for trial. Therefore it is said that the effect of doing so was to relinquish jurisdiction over him and to release him absolutely from any obligation with regard to the unserved maximum of the New Jersey sentences. Manifestly the position is unsound. When a sufficient period of prison time had elapsed in our State to justify the issuance of a liberty license, it was done under authority of the statute. R.S. 2:198-1. As already indicated, the terms and conditions thereof were not accepted by him until May 26, 1947, inferably at least because of his knowledge of the New York detainer. Upon being delivered by consent for trial there,

his street time on parole for the New Jersey sentences began to run subject to the conditions of the license and R.S. 2:198-1 et seq. (and upon repeal, L. 1949, supra , subject to R.S. 2:196 A -10, 11). Our State did not know then whether he would be released on bail or the complaint dismissed, or even if he would be acquitted of the charge. We find nothing to indicate that the course pursued was legally unsound. On the contrary, it was in his interest to give him the license. If he had not accepted it and remained in prison until his full maximum sentence had been served, the New York detainer and extradition proceeding would have been awaiting him at that time.

After returning to New York, he was convicted on the pending accusation of third degree burglary and given a suspended sentence. However, he was returned to Elmira Penitentiary for violation of the earlier parole of that state. He remained confined until December 4, 1950, when he was again paroled under the dual supervision of New York and New Jersey.

On May 21, 1951, recommitment to Attica Penitentiary followed revocation of the New York parole. New Jersey then cancelled its license to be at liberty on September 18, 1951. In the computation of the adjusted expiration date of the maximum of the New Jersey sentence (to be discussed hereinafter) the Parole Board has given credit for street time from May 26, 1947 to September 18, 1951. That allowance is not questioned specifically and we do not pass upon it. In re Clover , 34 N.J. Super. 181 (App. Div. 1955).

Parole freedom was sanctioned again on June 11, 1953. New Jersey was not notified thereof until July 21, 1953, but granted a parole certificate No. 3363 (as distinguished from a license to be at liberty), N.J.S.A. 30:4-123.1 et seq. , retroactive to that date. On November 30, 1954 Van Dorn absconded from the New York parole and as of that day was declared delinquent by our Parole Board. On apprehension, he was returned to ...


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