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State v. Carroll

decided.: January 22, 1968.

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
THOMAS V. CARROLL, JR., DAVID JOHNSON AND CHATEAU PINEWALD, INC., A CORPORATION, DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS.



Weintraub, Jacobs, Francis, Proctor, Goldmann, Schettino and Haneman.

Per Curiam

SYNOPSIS

Defendant and co-defendants were convicted in the trial court of conspiring to burn co-defendants' building and co-defendants were also convicted of conspiring to defraud ten insurance companies, and co-defendants appealed. The Superior Court, Appellate Division, reversed and remanded on ground that joint trial should not have been permitted, and the Supreme Court granted State's petition for certification. The Supreme Court then held that trial court properly refrained from unilaterally ordering severance where counsel for the two individual co-defendants noted opposition to severance on ground that it would work hardship on the two co-defendants and prejudice them, but that in light of natural pressure to convict defendant for conspiracy to burn building because of his courtroom admissions of the substantive crime of burning, for which he was not charged, portion of charge providing that he could be convicted only if co-defendants, who owned the building, were also convicted, was prejudicial to co-defendants.

Judgment of Appellate Division granting new trial to co-defendants affirmed.

1. Criminal law 622(2)

Trial court properly refrained from unilaterally ordering severance in conspiracy case wherein counsel for two of the individual defendants noted opposition to severance on ground that it would work hardship on the two defendants and prejudice them.

2. Criminal law 793

Charge stating that jurors had a choice between two verdicts in each of the two counts, that they could render verdict on behalf of State and against the three individual defendants of quilty or in behalf of the three individual defendants against the State of not guilty was erroneous as indicating that any conviction must encompass all defendants rather than any two of them in a conspiracy case.

3. Conspiracy 23

A "conspiracy" is a combination or agreement between two or more persons.

Conspiracy 48

Criminal law 1172 (1)

In light of natural pressure to convict defendant for conspiracy to burn building because of his courtroom admissions of the substantive crime of burning, for which he was not charged, portion of charge providing that he could be convicted only if co-defendants, who owned the building, were also convicted, was prejudicial to co-defendants.

The opinion of the court was delivered PER CURIAM. This conspiracy case arose in connection with a 1963 fire which destroyed the Coach 'N Four tavern and restaurant located in Berkeley Township. Defendants were indicted by an Ocean County Grand Jury on two separate counts of conspiracy. The first count charged defendants Carroll, Johnson, and one Joseph Steffer with conspiracy to burn the Coach 'N Four. The second count charged the named defendants, plus ...


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