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In re Parsippany-Troy Hills Education Association

Decided: December 2, 1975.

IN THE MATTER OF: THE PARSIPPANY-TROY HILLS EDUCATION ASSOCIATION, AN INCORPORATED NEW JERSEY ASSOCIATION, AND STEPHEN MARABETTI, ANNA HONIGFELD, CHARLES KUGELMEYER, ABRAHAM LERNER, PATRICIA DANISHEK AND MARY MC NAY, ALL AS OFFICERS AND/OR NEGOTIATING MEMBERS OF THE PARSIPPANY-TROY HILLS EDUCATION ASSOCIATION, AND ALL MEMBERS OF THE PARSIPPANY-TROY HILLS EDUCATION ASSOCIATION AS A CLASS, CHARGED WITH CONTEMPT OF COURT


Kolovsky, Bischoff and Botter.

Per Curiam

Defendants appeal from the sentence imposed on their plea of guilty to a charge of contempt of court.

The summary proceeding to punish for contempt, see R. 1:10-2, was instituted by an order to show cause entered and served September 29, 1975. The order, returnable September 30, 1975, required defendants to show cause why they should not be adjudged guilty of penal contempt of court for their failure to obey an order entered on September 25, 1975 in an action which the Parsippany-Troy Hills Board of Education (board) had instituted against the above-named defendants "and all members of the Parsippany/Troy Hills Education Association as a class."

The order to show cause recited, as the basis for its issuance, that it appeared from an affidavit filed by the board that

On the return of the order to show cause each defendant pleaded guilty to the contempt of court charged. Argument was limited to the question of the penalties to be imposed. The judgment entered on September 30, 1975 at the conclusion of the hearing found each defendant guilty of contempt of court and embodied the following penalty provisions:

[The Association is] fined $25,000. per day commencing on Thursday, September 25, 1975, and including Friday, September 26, 1975, Monday, September 29, 1975, and Tuesday, September 30, 1975, that the Association remains in contempt of the restraining Order; and said $25,000. per day fine is to continue, including Saturdays and Sundays, until such time that the Association complies with the restraining Order issued by the Honorable Robert Muir, Jr., Judge of the Superior Court of Morris County, on September 25, 1975.

With respect to the individual defendants the judgment provided that:

[a] [Each] be fined in the amount of $500. per day, commencing on Thursday, September 25, 1975, and including Friday, September 26, 1975, Monday, September 29, 1975, and Tuesday, September 30, 1975; and that said fine continue at the rate of $500. per day, including Saturdays and Sundays, until the aforementioned defendants comply with the Order of the Honorable Robert Muir, Jr., Judge of the Superior Court of Morris County, issued on September 25, 1975; and said fine is to be deducted from the pay-checks of [the respective individual defendants] by the Parsippany/Troy Hills Board of Education;

and [b] [Each] be incarcerated in the Morris County Jail for thirty days per day that they fail to comply with the Order of the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, issued by Robert Muir, Jr., Judge of the Superior Court of Morris County, on September 25, 1975, and that the days included within this Order shall commence on Thursday, September 25, 1975, and include Friday, September 26, 1975, Monday, September 29, 1975, and Tuesday, September 30, 1975; and that this Order shall continue, including Saturdays and Sundays, until compliance with said Order;

but that [c] imposition of the custodial sentence shall be suspended, provided [the individual defendants], as officers and/or negotiating members of the Parsippany/Troy Hills Education Association, comply with such Order on Wednesday, October 1, 1975, by 9:00 o'clock in the forenoon of that day."

The strike was settled before the schools opened on October 1 and the provision for suspension of the custodial sentences imposed became effective. Thereafter, on motion by the individual defendants, the trial judge entered an "order altering judgment" which reduced the $2,000 fines imposed on the individuals to $1,000, the maximum fine authorized in case of individuals by the ruling in In re Buehrer , 50 N.J. 501, 522 (1967), that with respect to such individuals, "in a summary prosecution for contempt the punishment may not exceed six months' imprisonment or a fine of $1,000 or both, subject to the provisions for probation in N.J.S.A. 2A:168-1 et seq. "

The amendatory order deleted from the prior judgment the paragraphs quoted above as paragraphs 2 (a) and 2 (b) and ...


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