N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 332


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

having the pardoning power, and I don't think there is anything wrong with the Governor having that power.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: Of course, the decision and the responsibility is in the President, notwithstanding.

MR. WINNE: That's true, but if he doesn't exercise that power, why continue the fiction?

VICE-CHAIRMAN: That, of course, results from the magnitude of our government. There are many presidential powers. Consider the tariff power, for example, which he has had all through our history. He has always been guided by a committee or a commission which has reported to him, but the ultimate responsibility has been with the President. I assume that that is the recommendation of the Executive Committee. I assume that they would not foreclose the establishment by law of an advisory commission such as the President has in the federal scheme.

MR. WINNE: Since it is the advisory commission that does it, I think that they ought to do it and the President ought not to do it.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: Do you think that that should be part of the Judicial Article, or do you think we should leave it entirely to the Executive Committee?

MR. ORMSBY: I would think it is your function.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: In any event, your recommendation would be to continue as heretofore, but with the establishment of a Court of Pardons, composed of six lay judges, with a specified salary and term, which would report its findings to the Governor, who would not be bound to accept their findings.

MR. BROGAN: With power in the Governor to veto their recommendation.

MR. ORMSBY: That's true, and I say this, Chief Justice, that very often, as we have seen over a period of years, in capital cases when a man is about to be executed, special appeals have been made to the Governor. Very frequently the Governor, who is a very busy man - he has many, many things to look after - doesn't want to be inconsiderate with those people, and in many cases some of these people get hysterical, and he really can't calm them himself, even with his very presence there. But if he has six men from, for example, the Court of Errors and Appeals, men who have experience, men who have been acquainted with parole matters, who can listen to some of these people and then make their advice known to the Governor - it is not binding on the Governor - but it gives a greater sense of security, knowing that the Governor has had all the necessary information. And I think that makes for better justice. I think that it makes for the better common understanding of our legal jurisprudence in this State.

MR. PETERSON: Dean Ormsby, I can see a great deal of value


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