N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 344


STATE OF NEW JERSEY CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION OF 1947
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
Wednesday, July 9, 1947 (Morning session)

federal courts than in the state courts, you are expressing my own feelings. I think that is part of the same argument that a county judge, appointed locally, is influenced by politics, but the federal judge, having life tenure, is impartial. However, I think there is a decided feeling the other way, that your federal judge - and don't get the idea that I am against tenure; on the contrary I am for it - but the federal judge is more removed from the people than a judge appointed from, say, Camden County.

MR. WINNE: I am of the opinion that criminal matters should be handled by judges from the various counties, by reason of the fact that the judges are familiar with the conditions in the community, and quite often with the defendant, and they are in a better position to pass on the charges on which the defendant is being tried. I feel that they are better qualified to pass on such matters than, say, bringing in a judge from somewhere out West, who doesn't have the faintest conception of conditions in the county where the defendant is being tried.

MR. KERNEY: That is a different view from mine, of course.

MR. BROGAN: You would be against that?

MR. KERNEY: I am against it, yes. Let me give you a specific example of what I mean. Our newspaper criticised the appointment of Judge Meaney to the federal court; yet I would have no hesitation, were I to be tried before him for any cause whatsoever. I do not believe that the criticism by our newspaper would prevent me from having a fair trial, or mean that he is not fit for the job, even though we were against his appointment.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: Mr. Kerney, I notice that your report, in dealing with the pardoning power, favors the pardoning power within the executive. Do you have any comment on that?

MR. KERNEY: Yes, we favor a Board of Pardons, but following the executive pattern - the pattern that is followed by most state governments. That is the simplest way of expressing it.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: I believe the point of discussion was that because the Governor is so busy with other state matters, he cannot give these parole matters his personal attention, and he therefore has to rely on recommendations of this board.

MR. KERNEY: That's true.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: And, therefore, since the Governor had to rely on this board to such an extent, it was the feeling of the previous speakers that this board should be given the responsibility as well, since to a very large extent the Governor was guided by the recommendations of the Board of Pardons.

MR. KERNEY: I wouldn't see any tremendous argument about that. I don't think it necessarily makes a great deal of difference, because the Board of Pardons would actually do the work. Now,


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