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State v. Singleton

Decided: November 5, 1975.

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ROBERT SINGLETON, DEFENDANT



Walsh, J.s.c.

Walsh

This motion to quash a third-party subpoena duces tecum presents, for the first time in this State, the question of whether the confidentiality of parole records, provided for under N.J.S.A. 30:4-123.31 and N.J.A.C. 10:70-12.1 et seq. , constitutes a privilege from disclosure which excuses the Parole Board from producing the transcript of a parole revocation hearing at the criminal trial of the same defendant, when the prosecution has issued a subpoena for those records.

The answer, as will be shown, must be that it does not.

Defendant in this case, Robert Singleton, while on parole, was arrested and subsequently indicted for murder. On May 15, 1975 defendant, his attorney and a witness on his behalf appeared and gave testimony at defendant's parole revocation hearing.

The assistant prosecutor, in the course of his trial preparation, sent a subpoena duces tecum to both the chairman and the executive director of the New Jersey State Parole Board, directing each of them to produce the transcripts or records

of that May 15 hearing. Subsequently, for the sake of convenience, the assistant prosecutor stated that any duly authorized representative of the Board could produce the transcript.

The Parole Board now moves to quash the subpoena, and in its brief relies on Evid. R. 34, N.J.S.A. 30:4-123.31 and N.J.A.C. 10:70-12.2, 12.3, all of which are here set forth in their pertinent parts:

Evid. R. 34 (N.J.S.A. 2A:84A-27) provides:

OFFICIAL INFORMATION

No person shall disclose official information of this State or of the United States (a) if disclosure is forbidden by or pursuant to any Act of Congress or of this State, or (b) if the Judge finds that disclosure of the information in the action will be harmful to the interest of the public.

N.J.S.A. 30:4-123.31 provides:

The board shall keep or cause to be kept and maintained full and complete records of every prisoner released on parole. Such records shall contain, among other things, the complete fingerprint and criminal record of each prisoner, together with his photograph and all other information and reports referred to herein, as well as the reports of the parole officers and the Division of Parole with relation to such prisoner. Such records shall be filed in the central office of the Department of Institutions and Agencies and shall be organized in accordance with accepted and modern methods of filing and indexing so that complete information on each prisoner on parole will be immediately available. The board may make ...


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