N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 333

Tuesday, July 8, 1947 (Afternoon session)

in it if the Governor had the exclusive power to stay an execution, because it may be at the very hour before an execution that some new evidence has been uncovered, even though the previous search had been diligent. That would require quick action on the part of one person, but you couldn't get all six men to give you quick action.

MR. ORMSBY: I think he has the power to act; he has the power to stay the execution.

MR. WINNE: It works practically that way now. They have six men in the Court of Errors and Appeals who have the right to act in that capacity. We talked two hours about that at luncheon. They know all about the things we are talking about now.

MR. BROGAN: Yes, but it is largely and exclusively a matter for the Governor. On the other hand, what the Dean said is true. Say a man is charged with theft. Say a man stole some money from a bank two years ago, and he was sentenced to five years. He has been a model prisoner and he should be let out. But he can't go to the Governor and ask for a pardon. He just can't. He has to have somebody to present the factual situation. There were extenuating circumstances; he has to have somebody to explain the situation for him. He shows signs of regeneration, so-called, and so on.

MR. DIXON: Couldn't the Governor appoint a commission?

MR. SOMMER: I suppose he could set up an advisory body.

MR. BROGAN: If he had the statutory authority to do so, I suppose he could.

MR. WINNE: It seems to me that it should be composed of a body of men trained in that field, sociologists, technologists, etc.

MR. BROGAN: Probation people.

MR. WINNE: Exactly. It should not be in the Governor at all. It should be vested in a body of men who make it their life work, sociologists, professors, etc.

(Off-the-record discussion)

MR. SOMMER: Did I understand you to say you favored an elective judiciary?

MR. WINNE: That's the way I interpreted it, and I was astounded.

MR. ORMSBY: That is true. That is what I said.

MR. SOMMER: All right, if you favor an elective judiciary, would you favor the recall of a judiciary in the same manner?

MR. ORMSBY: Just how do you mean, Dean?

MR. SOMMER: Well, on petition by a given number of citizens of the State, on the question of retention by the judge of his position, do you feel that it should be submitted to the electorate?

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