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State v. Boutsikaris

Decided: November 8, 1961.

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ANGELO BOUTSIKARIS, DEFENDANT



On motion to quash subpoena duces tecum.

Masucci, J.c.c. (temporarily assigned).

Masucci

On motion to quash a subpoena duces tecum directed to the Prudential Insurance Company of America, commanding that the person in charge of certain records pertaining to one of its employees, Anthony Martino, produce them before this court for inspection to determine the existence of a report of psychiatric evaluation of said employee, a necessary witness against the defendant herein in the above case.

The subpoena was issued under the provision of R.R. 3:5-10(c), authorizing the court to require production of records, papers, etc.

The pertinent parts of said rule read as follows:

"A subpoena may * * * command the person to whom it is directed to produce * * * before the court at a time prior to the trial * * * and may * * * permit the books, papers, documents, * * * to be inspected and copied by the parties and their attorneys."

Said rule, in unequivocal and unrestricted terms gives the court discretionary powers to allow inspection, before trial of all papers, documents, etc. State v. Murphy , 63 N.J. Super. 188 (Cty. Ct. 1960) confirming such construction and authority.

The Prudential seeks to qualify and restrict the construction of said rule.

It first urges that the commission involved in the subpoena issued in the Murphy case was engaged in a public enterprise and, therefore, had no reference in its application to a private enterprise, such as the Prudential business. Although the court may have given stress to the commission's public function, for reasons there necessary, it made no such distinction in its construction of said rule.

In fact, many of its expressions gave emphasis to the court's intent to give said rule general, broad application.

The following quotes from the Murphy case are clearly expressive of such intent:

"'We start with the premise that [the] truth is best revealed by a decent opportunity to prepare in advance of trial. * * * It is difficult to understand why a defendant should be denied pretrial inspection * * * in the absence of circumstances affirmatively ...


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