N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 331

Tuesday, July 8, 1947 (Afternoon session)

The safety valve of the United States has been our jury system. Therefore, let us favor jury trials in all criminal cases when requested by a defendant. This should also include the graver offenses of motor vehicle cases, especially drunken driving cases; disorderly persons and disorderly conduct cases.

County courts should be retained, but perhaps the structure and names may be modernized and streamlined. By all means, preserve the present essential processes and functions.

In closing, I further recommend that all the courts of our State should be established as constitutional courts. By such a measure greater security and protection would be afforded the incumbents.

Your task is not an easy one. I am sure the earnest and hardworking delegates without exception are all striving to do their utmost to give our posterity a Constitution that will stand like our United States Constitution, the cornerstone for "liberty and justice for all."

VICE-CHAIRMAN: I understand that you favor a Court of Pardons rather than vesting the pardoning power in the Governor?

MR. ORMSBY: I do; yes, sir.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: It is not just for the benefit of the members of the Committee, but at luncheon today the point was raised by the Executive Committee, which tentatively is proposing that the pardon power be vested exclusively in the Governor. I told them that we had not gone into that issue in detail, but that we would and, in turn, take it up with the Executive Committee before any reports were submitted.

MR. BROGAN: Do you know the number of states in which they have courts of pardon?

VICE-CHAIRMAN: I don't know it offhand, but no doubt, I can get it for you.

MR. BROGAN: The pardons power is usually in the governor.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: Traditionally and historically, the Governor has always had the appointing power as well as the pardoning power. That is true of the federal scheme as well as in many states. Many states have established a court of pardons. The Executive Committee believes that, notwithstanding the burden of work on the Governor, it should be part of the executive power.

MR. WINNE: It would be very interesting to know just how the federal pardons work. Now, I have had two or three experiences in that respect. There is the pardon of clemency from the United States Attorney-General's office, and a corresponding board which consists of the keeper of the prison, the pardoning attorney, and somebody else. While it may be that you automatically get your pardon from the President of the United States, I don't think he knows a thing about it, except to put his signature on a piece of paper. I don't think there is anything wrong with the President

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