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State in Interest of J.W. v. J.W

New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division


Decided: February 16, 1970.

STATE IN THE INTEREST OF J.W. STATE OF NEW JERSEY, COMPLAINANT-RESPONDENT,
v.
J.W., JUVENILE-APPELLANT

Goldmann, Lewis and Matthews.

Per Curiam

[108 NJSuper Page 541]

J.W. appeals through the Public Defender from the denial of his motion for a jury trial in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.

J.W. was charged with several offenses amounting to attempted robbery, assault and battery, breaking and entering with intent to commit larceny, larceny, receiving stolen property, incorrigibility, and behavior endangering his morals, health and general welfare. Since he was only 12, the matter was brought before the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court without a jury, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:4-35. His counsel unsuccessfully moved for a trial by jury as to all issues, and this appeal ensued.

Appellant contends that the denial of a jury trial constituted a deprivation of due process and a denial of equal protection of the laws. We affirm substantially for the reasons stated by Judge Kentz in 106 N.J. Super. 129 (J. & D.R. Ct. 1969), noting that since the coming down of his opinion the United States Supreme Court dismissed the appeal brought in DeBacker v. Brainard , 396 U.S. 28, 90 S. Ct. 163, 24 L. Ed. 2d 148 (November 12, 1969).

[108 NJSuper Page 542]

In Kent v. United States , 383 U.S. 541, 86 S. Ct. 1045, 16 L. Ed. 2d 84 (1966), the juvenile court had waived jurisdiction over a minor arrested on charges of rape, robbery and housebreaking, and remitted him for trial in the criminal courts. Defendant was convicted and on appeal argued that the detention, interrogation and hearing procedures of the juvenile authorities were constitutionally inadequate. In ruling that juvenile proceedings must comport with the rudimentary concepts of fairness, the court held:

See also, State in the Interest of Carlo , 48 N.J. 224, 236 (1966).

The quoted language was repeated in In re Gault , 387 U.S. 1, 30, 87 S. Ct. 1428, 18 L. Ed. 2d 527 (1967). In ascertaining "the precise impact of the due process requirement" upon juvenile proceedings, the court in that case went on to find that the specific essential rights to be accorded a juvenile are (1) adequate notice of the charges, (2) the right to counsel, (3) the right to confront and cross-examine witnesses, and (4) the right against self-incrimination. No mention was made of the right to jury trial claimed in the present case. And see Commonwealth v. Johnson , 211 Pa. Super. 62, 234 A.2d 9 (Super. Ct. 1967), where the court said:

We do not read Duncan v. Louisiana , 391 U.S. 145, 88 S. Ct. 1444, 20 L. Ed. 2d 491 (1968), reh. den. 392 U.S. 947, 88 S. Ct. 2270, 20 L. Ed. 2d 1412 (1968), as requiring a trial by jury in juvenile cases. Unlike the reliance on jury trials as part of the structure and style of the criminal process in this State, as in every other state -- see marginal note 14 in Duncan -- there has been no similar development of reliance on a jury system in the juvenile courts of New Jersey. N.J.S.A. 2A:4-35 reflects our practice of non-jury trials; the trial judge alone hears and determines all cases of children arising under the provisions of Title 2 A, chapter 4, relating to the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.

Affirmed.

19700216


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