Decided: February 4, 1975.
STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
JOSEPH DISSICINI, JR., DEFENDANT-APPELLANT
On appeal from the Superior Court, Appellate Division, whose opinion is reported at 126 N.J. Super. 565 (1974).
For affirmance -- Chief Justice Hughes, Justice Jacobs, Mountain, Sullivan, Pashman and Clifford and Judge Kolovsky. For reversal -- None. Pashman, J. (concurring). Justice Clifford has authorized me to that he joins in this concurrence. Pashman and Clifford, JJ., concur in the result.
[66 NJ Page 412]
The judgment is affirmed substantially for the reasons expressed by the Appellate Division.
PASHMAN, J. (concurring). While I concur with my colleagues that defendant's second degree murder conviction must be affirmed in this extraordinary case,*fn1 I wish to make it clear that I do so because my examination of the record convinces me that defendant was not in fact coerced into participating in the brutal slaying of the victim.
Because, in my view, the evidence does not sustain defendant's contention that he acted from coercion under any formulation of the defense of duress, I do not reach the issue of whether the defense is available in this State either in the criminal context generally, or specifically as a defense to a charge of murder. Although I am cognizant of the uncertainty surrounding this aspect of our law, see State v. Churchill, 105 N.J.L. 123 (E. & A. 1928); State v. Palmieri, 93 N.J.L. 195 (E. & A. 1919), the circumstances of this case do not provide an appropriate factual framework for resolution of the difficult question of whether the defense of duress is available in murder cases or other criminal prosecutions, and if so, which of the several alternative expressions of the defense should be adopted as the law of this State.*fn2