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State v. Hawthorne

Decided: March 4, 1966.

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
EDGAR HAWTHORNE, DEFENDANT



Camarata, J.c.c.

Camarata

Defendant is under indictment for an atrocious assault and battery on Elsie Davis, committed on the 31st day of January 1965 in the City of Newark. Trial with a jury has been set for March 21, 1966.

Defendant has been previously convicted of the following crimes:

1. February, 1945, larceny of auto, Baltimore, Maryland. Sentence one year.

2. November, 1945, armed robbery with a revolver, Essex County. Sentence, four to seven years.

3. In 1956, robbery, Bridgeport, Connecticut. Sentence four to ten years.

Defendant moves to suppress the use of the prior convictions by the State for impeachment purposes.

Research fails to show a case in New Jersey exactly on point.

N.J.S. 2A:81-12 reads:

"For the purpose of affecting the credibility of any witness, his interest in the result of the action, proceeding or matter or his conviction of any crime may be shown by examination or otherwise, and his answers may be contradicted by other evidence. Conviction of crime may be proved by the production of the record thereof, but no conviction of an offender shall be received in evidence against him in a civil action to prove the truth of the facts upon which the conviction was based." (Emphasis added)

In State v. Jones, 57 N.J. Super. 260 (App. Div. 1959), the court said:

"The State has the unquestioned right to prove prior convictions of misdemeanors and high misdemeanors to affect a defendant's credibility, and may inquire of him to that end. N.J.S. ...


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