was a lengthy trial producing a voluminous transcript. Ordinarily it would be incumbent upon this Court to examine the transcript and from it glean such facts as may be pertinent to the degree of probable culpability of each of petitioners in the murder with which they are charged for purposes of reaching a determination as to what would constitute reasonable bail. Here, however, the state trial court has discretion and is more familiar with the pertinent facts adduced at trial which may serve as a guide to the exercise of sound discretion. The offenses charged involved the murder of a police officer in Plainfield, New Jersey, which was a result of mob action. The defense vigorously challenged the allegations of participation on the part of petitioners. There seems to be no dispute about the fact that the death of the police officer was the result of mob action and was perpetrated in a brutal manner. Hence the degree of culpability of either or both of petitioners in the perpetration of the offense, if any, is in the opinion of this Court, a matter which would be more appropriate for the state trial court to resolve in the exercise of its sound discretion of what would constitute reasonable bail.
As indicated above, the matter of release on bail pending retrial on a state indictment is a sensitive area for exercise of federal jurisdiction. But the duty to afford relief is clear and must be discharged. New Jersey must apply its own law in a non-discriminatory manner. It has had opportunity to do so. In a technical sense it would seem that remand for appropriate action should be to the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division. This course, however, would only operate to delay direction to the trial court to fix bail. Therefore, since, under New Jersey procedure, the matter would come ultimately to the trial court from the Appellate Division, it is, in the interest of economy of judicial effort and expeditious disposition of the motion for bail, that the remand should be directly to the trial court. Accordingly, it will be ordered that petitioners' motion in the Union County Court to have bail fixed pending retrial be remanded to the trial court for reconsideration of its earlier opinion, with bail to be fixed in an amount deemed reasonable by the trial court in the exercise of its sound discretion.
In the event that the trial court does not act within 20 days after the filing of this Memorandum and Order, each of the petitions filed herein for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus will be granted.
It is on this 25th day of February, 1972, ordered that petitioners' motions before the trial court to have bail fixed pending retrial on the murder indictments be reconsidered by the Union County Court within 20 days of the date hereof and that bail as to each be fixed by the Union County Court within that period.
Further ordered that in the event of failure of the Union County Court to fix bail for each of petitioners within 20 days of the date hereof, a writ of habeas corpus will be issued out of this court releasing each of petitioners from further custody pending retrial, such writ of habeas corpus to remain effective until the Union County Court does fix bail.
© 1992-2004 VersusLaw Inc.