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State v. Jones

Decided: April 21, 1969.

STATE OF NEW JERSEY,
v.
EVERETT LEROI JONES, DEFENDANT



On prosecution for contempt.

Milmed, J.c.c. (orally).

Milmed

Defendant, along with Charles McCray and Barry Wynn, was tried and convicted in the Essex County Court for unlawful possession of weapons (N.J.S. 2 A:151-41). On appeal to the Appellate Division of the Superior Court, these convictions were reversed. A new trial in the matter is pending. State v. Jones, 104 N.J. Super. 57 (App. Div. 1968).

On November 6, 1967, upon the jury's retiring from the courtroom after rendering its verdict in that case, the trial judge adjudged defendant Everett LeRoi Jones guilty of

"criminal contempt" and sentenced him to a term of 30 days in the Essex County Penitentiary. The certificate of the trial judge in the matter charges contempt in two respects: (1) that on October 17, 1967, in the course of a motion to suppress evidence, the defendant "did utter in an audible and disrespectful manner his disapproval of * * * [a] ruling by the Court by an epithet descriptive of excrement * * *"; and (2) that on October 24, 1967, during the trial of the case against defendant and his two co-defendants the following occurred:

"MR. BOOKER: Your Honor, regarding a request by Mr. Jones out of my presence while I was in the County Clerk's Office, I was led to believe the request was made to address the Court and it was indicated to Mr. Jones that he would have the opportunity to speak to the Court out of the presence of the jury when I returned.

THE COURT: No. I said he could speak through you.

MR. BOOKER: I am prepared now to address the Court then on behalf of Mr. Jones.

THE COURT: I will hear you at side bar.

DEFENDANT JONES: Why can't I make a statement?

THE COURT: Mr. Jones, I told you that you have an attorney and he may speak for you.

DEFENDANT JONES: This is something I want to say.

THE COURT: Just a minute. You are in a Court of justice and --

DEFENDANT JONES: This isn't a Court of justice.

THE COURT: Just a minute, sir.

DEFENDANT JONES: You're disqualified to conduct this case. I read your decision last night. You quoted this man and you quoted that. I'll not be judged by a hundred white people in this Court. They are not my peers. They are my oppressors.

I'll not be held by you or anybody like you.

THE COURT: Hold him there. Retain him.

DEFENDANT JONES: I'm going out ...


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