State v. Lavender

CourtNew Jersey Superior Court – Appellate Division
Citation113 N.J.Super. 576,274 A.2d 611
PartiesSTATE of New Jersey, Plaintiff-Respondent, v. Joanne LAVENDER, Defendant-Appellant.
Decision Date02 March 1971

Alfred T. Sanderson, Camden, for appellant.

Martin F. Caulfield, Gloucester County Prosecutor, for respondent.


The opinion of the court was delivered by


Defendant was charged in three indictments: bookmaking (N.J.S.A. 2A:112--3), engaging in a lottery business (N.J.S.A. 2A:121--3(a)), and possession of lottery paraphernalia (N.J.S.A. 2A:121--3(b)). The jury found her guilty on the last-mentioned indictment. She then retracted her former pleas of not guilty to the first two indictments and pleaded guilty. The trial judge sentenced her to the Clinton Reformatory for Women for 1--5 years on the bookmaking indictment and in addition imposed a fine of $1,000, defendant to stand committed until the fine was paid. On the other two indictments she was sentenced to concurrent indeterminate terms at the same institution, not to exceed three years.

Shortly after sentence was imposed the reformatory superintendent wrote the sentencing judge requesting a corrected sentence on the bookmaking charge, calling his attention to the fact that N.J.S.A. 30:4--155 mandates that sentences to the Clinton Reformatory, except for murder or manslaughter, be indeterminate. The judge responded that the bookmaking sentence conformed to N.J.S.A. 2A:112--3, which calls for punishment by a $1,000--$5,000 fine or imprisonment in the State Prison for 1--5 years, or both. He stated that State v. Ammirata, 104 N.J.Super. 304, 250 A.2d 24 (App.Div.1969), and State v. Pallitto, 107 N.J.Super. 96, 257 A.2d 121 (App.Div.1969), were authority for the sentence imposed.

N.J.S.A. 30:4--155 provides in pertinent part:

The several courts in sentencing to the Women's Reformatory shall not fix or limit the duration of the sentence, except as otherwise provided for herein, but the time which the prisoner shall serve in the reformatory or on parole shall not exceed five years, except for the crimes of murder or manslaughter, or the maximum term provided by law for the offense of which the prisoner is convicted and sentenced if such maximum be less than five years; Provided, however, that the court, in its discretion, for good cause shown, may impose a sentence greater than five years, but in no case greater than the maximum provided by law, and the commitment shall specify in every case the maximum of the sentence so imposed. * * *

In Ammirata, above, defendant was convicted of unlawful possession of narcotics under N.J.S.A. 24:18--4 and sentenced, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 24:18--47(c)(1), to an indeterminate term in the Reformatory for males of not less than two years. He appealed on the ground that the reformatory statute, N.J.S.A. 30:4--148 (similar to N.J.S.A. 30:4--155 for these purposes) prohibited a minimum term. The court rejected the argument for the reason that the narcotics sentencing statute (N.J.S.A. 24:18--47) was amended three times between the date of enactment of the reformatory statute (N.J.S.A. 30:4--148) and the date of the offense, and it therefore controlled the disposition of the case. 104 N.J.Super. at 308, 250 A.2d 24. Presumably the court's rationale was this: since the Legislature confronted the subject of sentencing in narcotics cases at a time when it was aware of the possible conflict inherent in the reformatory statute, its specific inaction in dealing with this issue indicated, Sub silentio, a legislative policy that the mandatory minimum in the narcotics law should supersede the prohibition on minimum sentences in the reformatory statute. This position was merely reaffirmed in Pallitto, 107 N.J.Super., above, at 100, 257 A.2d 121.

Defendant here argues that N.J.S.A. 30:4--155, having twice been amended since 1940, the year of the last amendment to the bookmaking statute, N.J.S.A. 2A:112--3, the same logic as underlay the Ammirata decision should apply here, and therefore the sentence is illegal.

In 1940 the bookmaking penalty was changed to provide for either a fine of not less than $1,000 nor more than $5,000 Or imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years, or both. The penalty had previously been in the conjunctive. L.1940, c. 205, § 1. In 1946 the women's reformatory statute was amended to include a special provision as to manslaughter and murder, L.1946, c. 312, § 3 (see also, R.S.Cum.Supp. 30:4--155, at 371 (1947)). It was again amended by L.1951, c. 335, § 3 (see also, R.S.Cum.Supp. 30:4--155, at 197 (1952)). The purpose of the legislation, as set out in the Statement accompanying the bill on introduction, was to limit the duration of any sentence a prisoner had to serve in Clinton to a maximum of...

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12 cases
  • State v. Des Marets
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
    • January 26, 1983
    ...485, 311 A.2d 757 (App.Div.1973), certif. den., 64 N.J. 501, 317 A.2d 714 (1974); State v. Hopson, supra; State v. Lavender, 113 N.J.Super. 576, 274 A.2d 611 (App.Div.1971); State v. Pallitto, 107 N.J.Super. 96, 257 A.2d 121 (App.Div.1969), certif. den., 55 N.J. 309, 261 A.2d 354 (1970); St......
  • Canfora v. Davenport
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. District of New Jersey
    • November 17, 1972
    ...the particular crime if such is less than five years. The sentencing judge may not prescribe a lesser maximum (State v. Lavender, 113 N.J.Super. 576, 274 A.2d 611 (App.Div. 1971)), but he may, pursuant to the cited section, for good cause, direct a greater maximum up to that authorized by t......
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    • United States
    • Superior Court of New Jersey
    • May 25, 1982
    ...minimum terms of imprisonment is hardly new to this State. State v. Hopson, 60 N.J. 1, 285 A.2d 225 (1971); State v. Lavender, 113 N.J.Super. 576, 274 A.2d 611 (App.Div.1971); State v. Brozi, 125 N.J.Super. 485, 311 A.2d 757 (App.Div.1973); State v. Prewitt, 127 N.J.Super. 560, 318 A.2d 427......
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    • United States
    • New Jersey Superior Court – Appellate Division
    • June 16, 1975
    ......        MICHELS, J.A.D.         Sidney Glaser, Director of the Division of Taxation, Department of the Treasury, State of New Jersey (Director), appeals from a judgment of the Division of Tax Appeals (Division) vacating assessments levied against petitioner Somerset ......
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