Goldmann, Freund and Foley. The opinion of the court was delivered by Foley, J.A.D.
[79 NJSuper Page 381] This is an appeal from the denial of defendant's demand that he be discharged from confinement in the Mercer County Jail, and from a verbal order directing the extradition of defendant to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, both as shown on the minutes of the Mercer County Court.
The underlying facts, as narrated in defendant's brief, are not contested by the State. They are substantially as follows: The defendant was arrested in the City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in February 1961 upon criminal charges for crimes alleged to have been committed by him in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and also on warrants issuing from authorities in the State of New Jersey on criminal charges pending against him there.
He claims that he was told by police officers in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that if he would sign a written confession concerning the charges outstanding against him in Pennsylvania, and also a waiver of extradition to the State of New Jersey to be tried upon the charges pending against him there, he could upon the completion of these trials request that he be returned to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for the purpose of arraignment and trial on the charges pending against him there. He claims that he was told that in the event he should be convicted of one or more charges in both jurisdictions, it was likely that the sentence imposed in Pennsylvania would be made to run concurrently with that imposed in the State of New Jersey; and also that because of his co-operation in this manner he might expect to receive a more lenient sentence in the event of his conviction than would otherwise be the case.
Defendant gave a written confession regarding the offenses alleged to have been committed by him in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and signed a waiver of extradition to the State of New Jersey. Thereupon, he was delivered to the authorities in Mercer County. He was tried upon the charges pending against him there, convicted, and sentenced in April 1961. The sentences imposed were three terms of one year each to be served concurrently. He was committed to the Mercer County Workhouse on April 28, 1961, and remained there until the expiration of his sentences on December 26, 1961, credit being given for good behavior. He was then transferred to the Mercer County Jail where he is presently confined awaiting disposition of detainers which had been
lodged against him by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on March 3, 1961.
A warrant for the arrest of the defendant was signed by the Governor of New Jersey on January 23, 1962, in compliance with a requisition for extradition executed by the Governor of Pennsylvania on December 22, 1961. Thereafter, defendant filed a complaint in the Law Division demanding a writ of habeas corpus , and his discharge from custody. The matter was referred to the Mercer County Court and a hearing thereon resulted in the determination from which this appeal was taken.
The gist of defendant's argument below, repeated here, is that the Pennsylvania indictments became null and void because of a failure on the part of New Jersey authorities to comply with the provisions of the Interstate Agreement on Detainers Act, N.J.S. 2A:159A-1, L. 1958, c. 12, effective April 18, 1958. Hence, argues defendant, since the Pennsylvania indictments had ceased to exist, the requisition for extradition lacked the indispensable foundation of a pending criminal charge in the demanding state. The trial court held, we think correctly, that it was without jurisdiction to determine, or even to question, the validity or subsistence of the Pennsylvania indictments, this being, in the first instance, the exclusive prerogative of the Pennsylvania court in which these indictments had been returned.
N.J.S. 2A:159A-1 et seq. represents the legislative validation of an agreement between the executive branches of the governments of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and grants to such agreement the force of law.
The agreement is the product of a lengthy study of the Council of State Governments. The objectives sought to be attained by it clearly appear in the findings and statement of policy set out in N.J.S. 2A:159A-1. See People v. Esposito , 201 N.Y.S. 2 d 83, 88 (Cty. Ct. 1960). N.J.S. 2A:159A-1 provides:
"* * * The party States find that charges outstanding against a prisoner, detainers based on untried ...