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The Boss

By David Dayton McKean
This Web version, edited by GET NJ, COPYRIGHT 2003

The device of deportation is particularly useful when the police are dealing with non-residents, though occasionally it falls upon residents too. Exile involves no arrest, no trial. The Mayor gave his view of this device when he was testifying in the C.I.O. case:

Q. Did you hear of their [C.I.O. agents] having anything but circulars that day?
A. I didn't hear that they had.

Q. Do you consider it an arrest when a police officer puts them in a car and takes them somewhere not the police station?
A. No, I think he is doing them a favor. (Hague v. C.I.O., Transcript, p. 1044.)

There is, in Jersey City, no right to be arrested, though this right is fundamental to the rights of indictment, bail, and trial by jury. If the police wish to avoid making an arrest they put the individual on the tube trains or on the ferries. While the practice of forcing a person to leave town is common with police throughout the United States, the Mayor of Jersey City claims it is a legal power:
Q. Is there any circumstance at all, don't tell me the circumstance, just is there any, yes or no, when you claim the police have the power to take a human being in Jersey City and remove him out of Jersey City?
A. Yes, Sir.

Q. Is there? A. There is. (Hague v. C.I.O., Transcript, p. 1344.)

A young Jersey City attorney named Ashley Carrick, a Princeton graduate who had been born in Jersey City. `whose father' in Mayor Hague's words, `is a very distin- guished man,' arrived in Journal Square on the night of the Thomas deportation shortly after Thomas had been taken to the ferry. Seeking to find what the excitement was about. he held his ground when the police sought to disperse the crowd. When he was put on the stand in the C.I.O. trial he testified that two policemen seized his arms, and one struck him on the knee with a nightstick. While he was being held, a plain-clothes man struck him in the face with his fist. In spite of all his protests that he was a resident of Jersey City he was put on a ferry and sent to New York. (Ibid., pp. 443-445, 450-451.)

An unsuccessful attempt was made by Dean Frazer, attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, to use the Carrick case to lead the Mayor to weaken his dictum on the right to deport persons from Jersey City:

Q. Mayor, what circumstances would you think would be proper ones for your police to put a resident of Jersey City, a member of the New Jersey bar, into a car and force him to go to New York?
A. Well, it depends upon his conduct entirely.... [If] he was disorderly and he was conducting himself other than a gentleman and was creating disorderly scenes, then that is a different picture.
After it had been shown to the Mayor's satisfaction that Carrick was only a bystander he still clung to his rule:
Q. You think that [deportation] is within the power of the police and the right of the police?
A. Well, I think it is discretionary in a great many cases; they should use their own discretion. Police as a rule there [in Jersey City?] are very considerate and very faithful to their duty. (Hague v.. C.I.O., Transcript, pp. 1046-1047.)
While the issue of deportation was raised in the C.I.O. case the Supreme Court carefully and specifically confined its decision to the single point of the right of citizens to assemble in public places. A good constitutional argument may be made that any American citizen possesses as one of his rights that of traveling anywhere in the United States, and that one of his immunities is that of protection from police interference with any lawful and peaceful activity wherever he may go in the United States. The police of Jersey City would, if possible, avoid a test case because police practice there and institutional rights are not identical.

By one device or another, speakers, or would-be speakers, rid persons seeking to distribute handbills or leaflets may be restrained, just as the owners of halls may be convinced that is not to their best interests to permit meetings of which city administration does not approve. But the control of newspapers is another matter.


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