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State v. Moore

Decided: June 19, 1968.

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
DUKE E. MOORE, SR., DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



Goldmann, Kilkenny and Carton.

Per Curiam

[101 NJSuper Page 420] Defendant was found guilty in the Newark Municipal Court of being a disorderly person, in violation of N.J.S. 2 A:170-28, and was given a 60-day jail sentence (suspended), fined $52, and placed on probation for six months. He appealed to the Essex County Court. The matter was heard on the record made at the municipal court hearing,

and resulted in an affirmance. The present appeal followed.

N.J.S. 2 A:170-28 provides:

"Any person who by noisy or disorderly conduct disturbs or interferes with the quiet or good order of any place of assembly, public or private, * * * is a disorderly person."

Defendant argues that he did not violate the statute because he was neither noisy nor disorderly. Additionally, he contends that his arrest and conviction as a disorderly person violated his constitutional rights of free speech and assembly.

The basic facts are not in dispute. On June 12, 1965 the Newark Planning Board held a public meeting in the city council chamber to determine whether a certain area of Newark was "blighted" and therefore eligible for an urban renewal program involving the construction of the New Jersey College of Medicine and Dentistry. Just prior to the opening of the hearing, board chairman Booker recognized defendant as floor manager for a majority of those in attendance. He also outlined the procedure that would govern the hearing.

At the time of the incident in question one George Richardson, who had been speaking for some time, had the floor. Miss Beverly Taylor arose for a point of information. Although the speaker agreed to yield for the purpose of entertaining the question, chairman Booker refused to permit the interruption. At this point defendant went to the microphone to quote Robert's Rules of Order as supporting Miss Taylor's request. The chairman ruled him out of order. When Moore continued with his reference to Robert's, the chairman again ruled him out of order, stating that Moore was not following the procedure set by the board for the hearing -- the board was not using Robert's. Moore persisted in his efforts to explain what Robert's held, so that the chairman had to rule him out of order three more times.

Moore then said that he wanted to appeal the ruling to the entire board. Booker denied the request. Moore insisted that

the chair had no legal right to deny such an appeal, that he would not yield, and that "if you don't know parliamentary procedure, ask someone; that is the least you can do. Don't make a fool out of yourself and us, too. That is what you are doing." Booker asked him to take his seat, and when Moore continued he again informed him that he had been overruled. Moore persisted in saying he had a right to appeal the rulings of the chair, and this resulted in Booker's repeatedly requesting that he take his seat and that he yield the floor.

Booker's remarks were temperate but firm. When Moore said, "I am asking the chairman to disqualify himself for being mentally incompetent to sit in the chair as chairman," Booker replied, "We are going on. You are ruled out of order. You will have your opportunity to speak," and "Sir, if the chair is wrong, you will have your recourse. We have ruled that you are out of order."

Finally, the chairman asked that the microphone be cleared so that the meeting could proceed, a request three times repeated. When Moore did not relinquish the microphone, the chairman called a brief recess. Following the recess Moore resumed from where he had left off. When Booker again asked him to leave the microphone and ruled him out of order, Moore replied, "I would suggest that you are going to have to order that policeman, the police department to remove me." The minutes of the ...


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