The defendants are charged with, among other things, the crime of compounding, N.J.S.A. 2C:29-4, and move to dismiss those counts of the indictment.
Evidence presented to the grand jury disclosed that on April 29, 1986, Frank Jardim offered cocaine and marijuana to a 15-year old girl (S.S.), showed her pornographic pictures, fondled her breasts, and attempted to have her engage in sexual conduct with him. That evening the victim relayed this information to her mother, who promptly reported it to the local
police department. Within two days, a search warrant had been obtained and both the mother and S.S. provided full written statements to the authorities. Their statements included information that in that interval Jardim and his wife had sought to persuade the mother not to pursue the matter further. The mother refused, stating she would see Mrs. Jardim in court. S.S. and her mother were subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury three times, but on each occasion failed to appear.
Between the first and second scheduled grand jury sessions, the mother and another daughter met with Jardim. He agreed to pay them $50,000 to leave New Jersey and not return for any grand jury or court proceeding. Almost immediately, the family moved to Florida.
Patrick Sesselman delivered $2,000 to the mother, drove them to the airport, handed her an envelope with $5,000, and later brought an additional $3,000 to her. Duane Hemmings then drove the mother's car to Florida, bringing $5,000 which Sesselman had given him. The mother contracted to purchase a house and before the closing, Albert Dattalo, Jr. brought her $13,000.
Later, Dattalo delivered another $1,000 to her, the funds on both occasions being provided by Sesselman. It was the mother's understanding that all of the $29,000 she received came from Jardim and that he would eventually pay her the remaining $21,000, due to Jardim having indicated to her that their agreement would probably save him years in jail.
The crime of compounding*fn1 is included in Part 4 of the Code of Criminal Justice, encaptioned "Offenses Against
Public Administration." Chapter 27 deals with bribery and corrupt influence (N.J.S.A. 2C:27-1 through -7), Chapter 28 with perjury and other falsification in official matters (N.J.S.A. 2C:28-1 through -8), Chapter 29 with obstructing governmental operations and escapes (N.J.S.A. 2C:29-1 through -9), and Chapter 30 with misconduct in and abuse of office (N.J.S.A. 2C:30-2 and 2C:30-3). With the exception of compounding, all of these various offenses deal with something done by one person, the actor. They address, in that sense, unilateral conduct. Compounding, however, introduces the additional element of agreeing to do with another person something connected with an already completed criminal offense. It is the factor of mutual agreement which distinguishes the offense of compounding from conduct constituting tampering (N.J.S.A. 2C:28-5), obstructing (N.J.S.A. 2C:29-1), or hindering prosecution (N.J.S.A. 2C:29-3). One may accept a benefit from another (or agree to do so) or one may confer a benefit upon another person (or agree to do so), the consideration in either instance being an agreement to thwart the prosecution of the underlying offense. The commission of that offense, by such action, has thereby been compounded.
The defendants urge, however, that since they are not alleged to have committed any of the underlying offenses charged against Jardim, they cannot be charged with compounding as they have not compounded any offense involving themselves. Such an argument presents too simplistic an approach ...