Gaulkin, Foley and Collester. The opinion of the court was delivered by Gaulkin, S.j.a.d.
On February 27, 1964 Anthony DeAngelis (hereafter DeAngelis) was convicted of criminal contempt and sentenced to four months imprisonment. He appeals.
The conviction arose out of the following facts. Plaintiff (hereafter Harbor Tank) instituted an action against Allied Crude Vegetable Oil & Refining Corporation (hereafter Allied) and DeAngelis (president of Allied) for over 40 million dollars upon grounds which entitled Harbor Tank to a capias ad respondendum against DeAngelis. The capias issued and he was arrested. Bail was fixed in the amount of Harbor Tank's claim but later was reduced to $150,000. We were advised at oral argument that he did not post the reduced bail and that he remained in jail until after the acceptance of the
assignment, made pursuant to N.J.S. 2A:20-1 et seq. , discussed hereafter.
We were told that when the trial judge fixed bail at $150,000 he stated that he would change the amount if DeAngelis testified about his assets and the testimony satisfied him that the bail should be modified. January 20, 1964 was fixed as the date on which DeAngelis was to testify. However, on that date DeAngelis' attorney did not ask for a reduction of the bail. Instead, he told the judge that DeAngelis had executed an assignment of all of his assets, allegedly complete in all respects except for the name of the assignee and sufficient to entitle DeAngelis to release without posting bail, under said N.J.S. 2A:20-1 et seq. The attorney stated that DeAngelis was ready to deliver the assignment to any assignee named by the court but that the federal bankruptcy court (which is liquidating the assets of Allied) had enjoined DeAngelis from transferring any of his assets. The attorney concluded "We will have to apply to Referee Tallyn for some modification of his order * * *."
Mr. Nolan, trustee for Harbor Tank, objected to any delay. He said:
"What we are here this morning for is the problem of bail and the terms under which you set it, and I think we should proceed with Mr. DeAngelis on the witness stand, which was what we agreed to. This has no relevancy here. This restrains him from transferring any assets. We don't know what assets he has. Your problem was to determine from the testimony of the witness as to what assets he may have so that you might be in a better position to determine the amount of bail. That's what I understood your order to be under 4:66."
After some further colloquy, DeAngelis was directed to take the stand. Part of his testimony on direct examination by his attorney was as follows:
"Q. Now has this list [annexed to the assignment] which you just testified to -- does that cover your assets?
A. To the best of my knowledge, Mr. Van Riper, having compiled it over the weekend I would say yes.
Q. And you have signed and executed an assignment, have you not, indicating your willingness, and in fact actually assigning, if it becomes effective, all your assets, whatever they might be, wherever they might be to an assignee designated by the Court.
On cross-examination he testified:
"Q. How many personal accounts do you maintain?
A. One, in the First National Bank of North Bergen, New Jersey.
Q. And did you maintain that account in 1963?
Q. And did you only maintain that one ...