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State v. Singleton

Decided: April 19, 1978.

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
ROBERT SINGLETON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



On appeal from the Superior Court, Law Division, Hudson County, whose opinion is reported at 137 N.J. Super. 436 (1975).

Conford, Michels and Pressler. The opinion of the court was delivered by Michels, J.A.D.

Michels

Defendant Robert Singleton was convicted by a jury of the murder of Willie Williams in the second degree while armed. He was sentenced to State Prison for 18 to 20 years for second degree murder and to a concurrent term of 3 to 5 years for the armed feature. Both sentences were to be served consecutively to a sentence defendant was then serving for a violation of parole. He appeals.

According to the State's proofs, defendant killed Williams by shooting him with a .38-caliber handgun following an altercation between Williams and defendant's brother, Charles Singleton. On January 25, 1975, at about 3 P.M., Edith Williams, the slightly retarded 14-year-old daughter of the murder victim Williams, was involved in a fight with Charles Singleton while she was washing clothes in the neighborhood laundromat. The local police were called and broke up the fight, instructing Edith to go home. Edith was crying when she arrived home and told her mother and father what had happened. Her father left the house with her and three of

his other children to look for Charles, whom he eventually found in a delicatessen. Williams entered the delicatessen and became involved in a fight with Charles while the children remained outside. During the course of the fight Williams took a knife from his pocket and menaced Charles with it. As a result Charles ran into the backroom of the store. The owner immediately demanded that Williams leave and he complied. Williams returned to his children. Then Gregory Singleton, another brother of defendant, hit him on the head with a bat, threw the bat at him and ran off. Williams and his children started to return to their home, when defendant accosted them. According to Edith, defendant told Williams "you ain't going to live for long." Thereupon defendant took a handgun out of his jacket and shot Williams four times in front of his children. Dr. Randolph A. London, the Assistant Hudson County Medical Examiner, who performed the autopsy, testified that Williams was shot in the abdomen, the chest, the arm and back. The bullet which entered his chest perforated his heart, causing almost immediate death.

Defendant does not contend on this appeal that the verdict was against the weight of the evidence. Rather, he seeks a reversal of his convictions and a remand for a new trial on the grounds hereinafter discussed. We have addressed all of defendant's contentions and find them to be without merit.

I

There is no merit in defendant's claim that the trial judge erred in ordering the New Jersey Parole Board to relinquish the transcripts of his parole revocation hearing. While defendant was on parole, he was arrested and charged with the Williams murder. A parole revocation hearing involving the murder charge against him was held. At that hearing defendant, his lawyer and his sister testified. Prior to the trial of the murder indictment the State served subpoenas duces tecum upon the chairman and the executive director of the Parole Board directing them to produce the

transcripts or records of the parole revocation hearing. The Parole Board immediately moved to quash the subpoenas on the ground that the requested transcripts and records were privileged from discovery as official information pursuant to Evid. R. 34 (N.J.S.A. 2A:84A-27). The Parole Board argued that, even though the transcript had been made available to defendant's attorney, it was confidential under N.J.S.A. 30:4-123.31 and N.J.A.C. 10:70-12.2, and its disclosure would be harmful to the public interest. The trial judge disagreed and ordered the production of the transcripts. The transcripts were produced for the trial and were used by the State to cross-examine defendant's sister.

We are entirely satisfied that the trial judge properly ordered the production of the transcripts of the parole revocation hearing. The order of the Law Division denying the motion to quash the subpoenas duces tecum is affirmed substantially for the reasons expressed by Judge Walsh ...


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