Archer v. First Criminal Judicial Dist. Court of Bergen County

Decision Date07 November 1932
Citation162 A. 914
CourtNew Jersey Supreme Court

Katherine Archer was convicted of being a disorderly person. To review the judgment of conviction, she brings certiorari.

Conviction set aside.

Argued before PARKER, J., at chambers.

Jacob S. Karkus, of Perth Amboy, for prosecutrix.

George F. Losche, Deputy Atty. Gen., for defendant.


This case seems perfectly clear to me. The prosecutrix, and some nineteen others, each of whom, as I understand the matter, obtained a writ of certiorari from the Chief Justice at some time last summer, when charged and convicted of being disorderly persons within the intent and meaning of section 1 of the "Act concerning disorderly persons" 2 Comp. St. 1910, p. 1926, as amended by P. L. 1928, p. 202, c. 95 (Comp. St. Supp. § 59—1). The charge in each case was that the party accused "did then and there wander abroad in the open air and not give a good account of himself" (or herself). The proof showed that they were emissaries of some religious organization, and were engaged in distributing its literature from door to door; no question of the literature being in any way improper is even suggested.

In the usual summary proceeding under the statute, defendants were represented by their present counsel, who raised the point that the complaint was insufficient in failing to include as part of the charge that they did "lodge in taverns," etc., "or in the open air." He was overruled, and his clients were convicted; and the only point before me is this one of the sufficiency of the complaint.

The language of the statute in this aspect dates at least from the eighteenth century. In the Act of June 10, 1799 (Paterson's Laws 1800, p. 410), the clause reads: "Or who shall wander abroad and lodge in taverns, inns, beer houses, out houses, houses of entertainment, market houses, barns or other places, or in the open air, and not give a good account of themselves." The same clause will be found in the Revised Statutes of 1847, at page 564, in the Revision of 1877 at pages 303, 304, § 1, apparently without any change in language. To my mind it is aimed specifically at the genus tramp, as one who wanders abroad, sleeps where he can find shelter or in the open air if he cannot or is not particular about it, and does pot give a good account of himself. If these three things concur, the statutory definition is satisfied; if one of them is missing,...

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5 cases
  • McNeilly v. State
    • United States
    • New Jersey Supreme Court
    • December 28, 1937
    ...fact which must be proved, namely, that the accused be "present in this State for an unlawful purpose." The case of Archer v. First Criminal Judicial Dist. Court, supra, is unlike the instant case both as to facts and law. In the Archer Case, emissaries of some religious organization were m......
  • Bower v. State.
    • United States
    • New Jersey Supreme Court
    • June 3, 1947
    ...violation in the words of, or, in our opinion, according to the intent of, the statute. Cf. Archer v. First Criminal Judicial District Court of the County of Bergen, 10 N.J.Misc. 1159, 162 A. 914; Breisia v. Court of Common Pleas in and for Hudson County, 11 N.J.Misc. 937, 169 A. 335. The m......
  • State v. Hall.
    • United States
    • New Jersey County Court
    • April 24, 1947
    ...Criminal Court of Jersey City, 129 N.J.L. 416, 30 A.2d 54, affirmed 130 N.J.L. 559, 33 A.2d 907; Archer v. First Criminal Judicial District Court of Bergen County, 162 A. 914, 10 N.J.Misc. 1159.) The essence and substance of the offense prescribed in the statute is the unlawful purpose of t......
  • Breisia v. Court of Common Pleas in and for Hudson County
    • United States
    • New Jersey Supreme Court
    • December 7, 1933
    ...account of oneself is a disorderly act under the statute in question. Mr. Justice Parker in Archer v. First Criminal Judicial District Court of Bergen County, 162 A. 914, 10 N. J. Misc. 1159, held not. The decision, though perhaps not binding upon us, is persuasive since the statute is aime......
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