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State v. Dolce

Decided: February 14, 1963.

THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
CHARLES DOLCE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



Conford, Gaulkin and Kilkenny. The opinion of the court was delivered by Gaulkin, J.A.D.

Gaulkin

Defendant Charles Dolce was convicted upon an indictment which charged that on June 30, 1960, in Garfield, Bergen County, he "unlawfully and feloniously did receive, buy and have: fifty-one State of New Jersey Certificates of ownership of a Motor Vehicle * * * the property * * * of New Jersey Motor Vehicle Agency before then feloniously stolen, taken and carried away, he the said Charles Dolce well knowing the same to have been feloniously stolen, taken and carried away, contrary to the provisions of N.J.S. 2A:139-1 * * *." He appeals.

On June 4, 1958, 2,100 such certificates (including the 51 here in question) were stolen from a motor vehicle agency in Union City, New Jersey. The thieves have never been caught. The motor vehicle inspectors investigating the theft were led to suspect defendant. The reasons for the suspicion, and

whether defendant was suspected of the theft or only of receiving, do not appear.

In any event, the inspectors obtained the services of a man whom we know only as "Stu." They arranged for one Rosenberg to introduce "Stu" to defendant. The certificates could not be passed until they were stamped with a motor vehicle agency validating machine. Pursuant to the instructions of the police, "Stu" apparently told defendant that he knew someone named "Joe" who had such a machine, stolen from a motor vehicle agency, who would validate stolen certificates in exchange for half of them. Dolce apparently agreed with "Stu" to deliver 1,200 of the certificates to "Joe" for such validation, and to divide them with him.

Pursuant to this plan, "Stu" brought Dolce to a garage in Garfield on June 30, 1960, the date mentioned in the indictment, where he introduced Dolce to "Joe." "Joe" was in fact Inspector Guarino, posing as an employee of the garage. By prearrangement other police officers were stationed outside the garage. "Stu" told "Joe" there had been "a little mix-up" and that Dolce had brought only 50 certificates. Guarino testified that when he asked Dolce why he had not brought the 1,200 promised, "he said that he [Dolce] could not be trusted with all of them at the first trip."

"Joe" and defendant haggled over the 51 certificates, and finally agreed that "Joe" was to get 28 and Dolce 23 of them, plus $50 to be paid to defendant by "Joe." While the bargaining was going on "Stu" left. After the terms were agreed upon, defendant produced the certificates from under his shirt and "Joe" began stamping them, whereupon the police came into the garage and arrested defendant.

After defendant was indicted, he served a demand for particulars upon the prosecutor in which he asked, among other things, for "the name and address of the person who took the defendant to the garage where he was apprehended." When the demand was refused, defendant moved to compel an answer. Defense counsel told the court:

"The situation is this. The defendant Dolce advises his counsel that some several days or a week prior to the arrest he met one whom he was introduced to as Stu. He tells me that * * * over this period of five or six days or a week Stu continually had conversations with him with respect to engaging in illicit activity, mainly concerned with getting these forms * * * and he gave him some money, loaned, or what have you, and ingratiated himself with the defendant Dolce and thereby lured him and enticed him into one day procuring or securing these forms and then meeting with this so-called Joe. They met in a certain place and Stu then drove Dolce into Garfield, went into this garage, which the defendant cannot remember, and then Stu introduced the defendant to a man who turned out later to be an undercover agent and a motor vehicle inspector for the State of New Jersey. Then, seconds later, in walks four, five, six or seven men with drawn guns, and he was arrested.

These being the facts, it is my sincere opinion genuinely that the defendant is being prejudiced by the withholding of the name of this person and being deprived of his basic rights, in that he is being prevented from pursuing and adequately showing his defense because the one man who knows in this world that this is the substance to this offense and can corroborate the testimony of ...


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