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State v. Hibbs

Decided: September 27, 1972.

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
WILLIAM R. HIBBS, III, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



Moore, J.s.c.

Moore

Defendant was convicted in the Ewing Township Municipal Court for a violation of the provisions of N.J.S.A. 2A:170-29(3) in that he had made obscene telephone calls to two women on various dates. The conviction was affirmed on appeal to the County Court, and an appeal was subsequently taken and argued before the Appellate Division on December 14, 1971 and decided January 14, 1972, 123 N.J. Super. 108. In the Appellate Division's decision the matter was remanded back to the County Court for the purposes as stated in the decision.

Since this is the first instance in which the reliability of such equipment has been subjected to court scrutiny, and in view of its probable future importance in detecting criminals, we remand to the County Court for further testimony by the State and defendant solely on the issue of the reliability of the tracing equipment.

The initial hearing for the purpose of taking testimony was conducted on February 28 and 29, 1972. At that hearing witnesses were presented on behalf of the State; however, by agreement between counsel, cross-examination was postponed until a subsequent date and after a transcript of the State's witnesses had been prepared and defense attorney would have an opportunity to discuss that testimony with his expert witnesses. The transcript in the matter was finally

forwarded to the court on June 19, 1972. The earliest convenient date for all parties and witnesses for the hearing to continue was August 1, 1972. The hearing was conducted on that date and on August 2, at which time cross-examination was concluded and expert witnesses on behalf of the defendant were presented and subjected to cross-examination by the State. A transcrpit of the proceedings of August 1 and 2 has been ordered; however, the same has not been completed to date.

The State called as witnesses Robert H. Galbraith, Security Manager, N.J. Bell Telephone Co., and Mr. Douglas M. Harlow, a member of the technical staff in the Station and Studies Department of the Bell Telephone Laboratories, located in Holmdel, N.J. Both of these men were well qualified in the telephone communications field with extensive practical experience in the telephone industry.

The telephone system in New Jersey is basically divided into central offices which take care of specifically designated areas and all telephone service in that specific area uses the one central office for making connections from one caller to another. The central office is usually identified by the first three digits of a telephone number, such as 292 -4636 or 392 -2965. In the case before the court we are dealing with central office 882, which encompasses parts of Trenton and Ewing Township, central office 298, Bordentown, N.J., and central office 393, Trenton. These three central offices have two different types of equipment. Central office 882 and central office 298, the Ewing and Bordentonwn offices, have equipment that is known as No. 5 Crossbar, this name being derived from the type of switch used in the specific central office. It is a device that has 20 paths out of it horizontally and 20 paths out of it vertically and where the horizontal paths and the vertical paths cross you get the crossbar because to operate the contacts that make the telephone connection there is a bar. The number 5 merely means it is the fifth design using a crossbar switch for a local central office. At the present time in the N.J. Bell system they use only the No. 1

crossbar and the No. 5 crossbar. Numbers 2, 3 and 4 were never used in the system, but were experimental in nature. The central office 393, Trenton, is more commonly known as an E.S.S. office, meaning electronic switching system. This type of installation performs the same services as that of a No. 5 crossbar office, that is, the purpose of the E.S.S. system is to connect telephone subscribers with their calling number. The E.S.S. system can be compared to a large computer and it is a completely solid state electronic system, whereas the No. 5 crossbar is electro-mechanical. The E.S.S. system is basically two units in one, that is, the operating unit is constantly being monitored by a memory bank, so that in the event of major trouble, the system can switch over to the monitoring unit without any delay. This system also has what is known as a diagnostic test which indicates that when the machine has a few seconds it will routine itself automatically. Of course, being a computer type system, there is a teletype machine used to talk to the computer, and the teletype machine is capable of answering the various questions put to it.

Both of these systems perform basically the same function. When a telephone subscriber dials a number the equipment in the central office, whether it be a number 5 crossbar or an E.S.S. office, picks up that number, identifies the various numbers dialed, and if the number dialed is within the same central office, it automatically connects the caller with the calling number, the connection is made and the called number's phone begins to ring. This, of course, happens within a matter of seconds, the equipment in the central offices being capable of identifying and connecting called numbers within extremely short periods of time, all automatically. In the event that the subscriber is dialing a number not within his own central office area, the subscriber's central office identifies the central office number that the subscriber had dialed, and through a system of trunk lines that connect the various central offices the called number is directed to the central office in which the called number is located.

That central office then again goes through the process of identifying the numbers and making the connection within that office so that the telephone ...


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