N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 285


STATE OF NEW JERSEY CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION OF 1947
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
Tuesday, July 8, 1947 (Morning session)

certiorari. The indictments should be reviewable on certiorari, but I think they should be reviewable only by the top court, and that should be done with expedition.

Now, there is one other matter that I would like to call the attention of the Committee. I don't know that you have considered it before, and there may be those who will say that it probably doesn't belong in the Judicial Section. I'm rather inclined to believe it does, and that is the question of a Court of Pardons. As you know, at the present time we have a Court of Pardons. We call it a Court of Pardons; I don't just know where the name "Court" came from - the Constitution doesn't call it a Court of Pardons; the Constitution doesn't call it anything. It simply says that the Governor, the Chancellor and the six lay judges of the Court of Errors and Appeals may act in matters of pardon. I think that is a most important branch of the administration of criminal justice. Practically every act of the Court of Pardons amounts to a review of some act of a judge sitting in a criminal court. In other words, it is a review practically of the sentences of those judges. The action of the Court of Pardons is of immense importance to the public, and it's naturally of immense importance to the individual concerned.

It would be a mighty good thing for the community at large if the Court of Pardons had constitutional dignity and constitutional standing. It ought not to be a member of the Executive Department. I am sure no man has ever been Governor, or probably ever will be, who would want to have it in the Governor's office anyhow, because the Governor can't possibly give the time and attention that ought to be given to the careful consideration of the cases that come before the Court of Pardons. I think it should be a court; its members should be judges, not necessarily all lawyers; I think it should conduct its sessions openly; and those who are concerned, both the individual and the public, through their representatives, should have an opportunity to appear before that court and to be heard. And I think the action of the court and its conclusions and its results should be made public. I don't believe from what I have read that the Committee has had that matter under consideration. I hope that it will, in the public interest, give the question of setting up a constitutional Court of Pardons real consideration.

There is nothing further that I have to say affirmatively at this time.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: I was wondering if you could let us have specifically the reasons for the delay in the extradition case. You referred to 17 judges. Can you outline the course of the procedure involving 17 judges?

MR. VAN RIPER: Yes. An appeal was taken, a writ of habeas


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