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State v. Walton

Decided: February 16, 1962.

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
WILLIE WALTON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



On appeal from Municipal Court of the Township of Piscataway.

Schwartz, J.c.c.

Schwartz

Defendant Willie Walton was convicted of the charge of assault and battery in the Municipal Court in the Township of Piscataway. The offense was alleged to have been committed upon Susan Feinberg, an infant ten years of age.

Defendant appealed to the Middlesex County Court and a trial de novo was held. The infant, Susan Feinberg, was offered as a witness and was examined on voir dire before being sworn.

The interrogation and responses were as follows:

"Q. Susan, how old are you? A. Ten.

Q. Do you go to school? A. (Nods head yes).

Q. What school do you attend? A. Randolphville.

Q. Randolphville? A. (Nods head yes).

Q. What grade? A. Fifth.

Q. And what is your religion? A. Jewish.

Q. Do you go to Synagogue? A. No.

Q. Do you go to any church? A. (Shakes head no).

Q. Do you know what it means to tell the truth? A. (Nods head yes).

Q. What happens if you don't tell the truth, do you know? A. (No response).

Q. Do you know what happens to people who don't tell the truth? A. (Shakes head no).

Q. Well, do you always tell the truth? A. Sometimes. I don't know.

Q. Well, do you know why a person should tell the truth? A. (Nods head yes).

Q. You'll have to say yes or no, Susan, so that the -- A. Yes.

Q. -- lady can hear you. Why? A. Because it's the right thing to do.

Q. Do you know what it means to swear by the Bible, to take an oath? A. Yes.

Q. That you swear to tell the truth? A. Yes.

Q. Do you know what that means? A. I think so.

Q. Do you know what happens to people if they swear to tell the truth on the Bible and they don't tell the truth? A. No.

(INTERRUPTION FOR ARGUMENT OF COUNSEL AND INTERROGATION CONTINUED AS FOLLOWS):

Q. You said, Susan, that you don't always tell the truth. Are there any times when you do; or rather, is there any way that you can tell me when you decide that you should say the truth or when you decide that you don't tell the truth? What makes the difference to you? Can you tell me that? A. (No response).

Q. Do you know what I mean, Susan? A. (Nods head yes).

Q. You do know what I mean? A. (Nods head yes).

Q. Can you tell me in what situations you do tell the truth and what situations you perhaps don't tell the truth? A. If it's important, I tell the truth.

Q. Well, what things would you consider unimportant? A. (No response).

Q. Do you understand what I mean? A. (Nods head yes).

Q. In what cases don't you tell the truth? A. ...


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