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State v. Asherman

Decided: April 25, 1966.

THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL ASHERMAN, DEFENDANT



Camarata, J.c.c.

Camarata

Defendant is under indictment charging him with the murder of Michael Garafola on April 9, 1965. The State has waived the death penalty.

On April 4, 1966 Assignment Judge Glickenhaus set the matter down for trial peremptorily on April 18, 1966.

Defendant's attorney, on his behalf and on behalf of Blue Beacon Restaurants Inc., a New Jersey corporation moved to quash the subpoena served on April 14, 1966 on

"Michael Asherman, President, and Mildred Asherman, Secretary Treasurer, Blue Beacon Restaurants, Inc., a New Jersey Corporation 21 Lincoln Park, Newark, N.J."

commanding them to produce on April 18, 1966

"the following property of the Blue Beacon Restaurants, Inc., 21 Lincoln Park, Newark, New Jersey: All records documents, reports, checks and check stubs payroll sheets & withholding statements, all pertaining to the employees of said corporation from September 1, 1964 to date."

It appears from defendant's testimony (April 18, 1966) that the Blue Beacon Restaurants Inc. (hereinafter referred to as corporation) is a duly incorporated corporation of the State of New Jersey having as its principal stockholders the defendant and his wife, Mildred. The only other stockholder is their daughter who holds one share.

Defendant urges that the court quash the subpoena because (1) compelling his family corporation to produce its records would violate his privilege against self-incrimination, (2) they are not relevant, and (3) the subpoena was not timely served.

The State contends it is necessary for it to examine these records to determine who were employees of the corporation at the time of the alleged murder; how long they worked for the corporation and whether they still are employees, to ascertain who was in the area at the time of the alleged murder, and perhaps to use all this information for impeachment purposes.

Only natural persons can resist the subpoena of private papers on the ground of self-incrimination. Hale v. Henkel, 201 U.S. 43, 26 S. Ct. 370, 374, 50 L. Ed. 652 (1906). Even an individual cannot refuse to produce records which are in his custody on the plea that they might incriminate the owner or himself where the documents belong to a corporation or to a labor union. Wilson v. United States, 221 U.S. 361, 31 S. Ct. 538, 55 L. Ed. 771, (1911); United States v. White, 322 U.S. 694, 64 S. Ct. 1248, 88 L. Ed. 1542 (1944).

I conclude that even where defendant is in effect the personal owner of the corporation, as in ...


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