Hoag v. New Jersey

LOCATION: First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1957-1958)

CITATION: 356 US 464 (1958)
ARGUED: Nov 19, 1957
DECIDED: May 19, 1958

Facts of the case


Media for Hoag v. New Jersey

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 19, 1957 in Hoag v. New Jersey

Earl Warren:

Number 40, William Hoag, versus the State of New Jersey.

Mr. Knowlton, you may proceed.

Robert E. Knowlton:

May it please the Court.

This case is here on certiorari to the Supreme Court of New Jersey, which held in a four-to-three decision.

The petitioner's right to due process of law had not been violated.

The question is, whether it violates the sense of fundamental justice, to allow the State to dissect -- to dissect one criminal transaction into four premises for the purpose of retrying the same issue upon the same evidence which led to an acquittal 29 months before.

The question of fundamental justice must be answered upon the facts of every case.

The facts in this case are that on September 20th, 1950, there was a robbery of a tavern and all of the people in the tavern.

In June of 1951, the Bergen County grand jury returned three indictments against petitioner.

Each indictment alleged the petitioner in concert with two unknown persons had robbed the specified individual.

The second count on the indictment charged carrying a concealed weapon.

These indictments were joined for trial and this was -- these indictments were tried in May of 1952.

At that trial, the State called five witnesses.

This group of witnesses included the three victims named in the indictments and two other victims of the holdup.

Each of the five witnesses testified unequivocally and without contradiction, to the fact that he was put in fear and that as a result of that fear property was taken from this person.

These are the elements of the crime of robbery under the applicable New Jersey statute, and these were the elements that were alleged in the indictments.

However, three of the witnesses for the State stated affirmatively that petitioner was not one of the robbers.

A fourth witness where the State said, that he could identify under oath petitioner as one of the participants in the holdup.

As a result of the five witnesses for the State, only one witness, Elmer Yager, affirmatively identified petitioner as one of the robbers.

Petitioner testified as to alibi.

He stated that he had never been in the town of Fairview in New Jersey where the robbery took place, that he did not participate in the robbery, and that he was in -- in New York City with his mother-in-law at the time of the robbery.

Upon the basis of this evidence the jury acquitted on all three indictments.

Petitioner was returned to New York for incarceration, and in July of 1952, the Bergen County grand jury returned another indictment against him.

This indictment was the same in all respect for the first three except that Elmer Yager was named as the victim.

Elmer Yager was the witness who had identified him in the first trial.

In May of 1954, petitioner was returned to New Jersey, placed in the Bergen County jail where he remained until October 18th and 19th, 1954 when he was finally brought to trial.

What did you say that time element was described between the first trial (Inaudible)

Robert E. Knowlton:

The first -- first trial was in May of 1952, the second trial on October of 1954, 29 months, was taken.


Felix Frankfurter:

And what was the date of the indictment of the second trial?