Fritz, Seidman and Milmed. The opinion of the court was delivered by Milmed, J.A.D.
Defendant appeals from a judgment entered in the Law Division, following a nonjury trial, removing him from the "office of policeman of the Borough of Carlstadt." The basis for the removal was defendant's refusal to answer questions put to him before a state grand jury which, the trial judge found, were upon matters which "covers the scope of his employment," i.e. , which were directly related to the conduct of his office. N.J.S.A. 2A:81-17.2al.
On this appeal defendant contends in essence that (1) the trial judge erred in finding that questions put to him were directly related to his employment as a police officer, and (2) as applied to him, in the circumstances of this case, N.J.S.A. 2A:81-17.2a et seq. is unconstitutional. We find no merit in either contention.
N.J.S.A. 2A:81-17.2a1 provides that
It shall be the duty of every public employee to appear and testify upon matters directly related to the conduct of his office, position or employment before any court, grand jury or the State Commission of Investigation. Any public employee failing or refusing to so appear and to so testify shall be subject to removal from his office, position or employment.
N.J.S.A. 2A:81-17.2a2 provides that
If any public employee testifies before any court, grand jury or the State Commission of Investigation, such testimony and the evidence derived therefrom shall not be used against such public employee in a subsequent criminal proceeding under the laws of this State; provided that no such public employee shall be exempt from prosecution or punishment for perjury committed while so testifying.
It is undisputed that defendant, a police officer employed by the Borough of Carlstadt, was called (by subpoena) to appear
before the state grand jury. When he appeared he was informed by a Deputy Attorney General
MR. PALLERIA [Deputy Attorney General]: Mr. Ranone, you are a public official presently employed as a police officer in Carlstadt.
Do you understand, by virtue of a New Jersey statute, any testimony you give before the Grand Jury with respect to the area of inquiry -- the scope of inquiry that this Grand Jury is looking into is under a grant of immunity?
However, I wish you to understand that if you refuse to appear before the Grand Jury -- if, in accordance with the same statute, you refuse to give testimony to the Grand Jury under that ...