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Property Case Brief # 1

Title and Citation: State v Shack, 277 A.2d 369 (N.J. 1971)
NJ Supreme Court/State court
Identities of the Parties: State of New Jersey brought forth charges
of trespass against Tejeras (D1) and Shack (D2).
Criminal action
o But real party in interest is Tedesco (complainant), a farmer
that employs migrant workers and owns the property at
issue
Defendants
o Tejeras - field worker for the Farm Workers Division of the
Southwest Citizens Organization for Poverty Elimination a
non-profit organization that provides health services for
migrant farmworkers
o Shack - staff attorney with the Farm Workers Division of
Camden Regional Legal Services, a nonprofit organization
that provides legal services to such workers
Procedural History: (D) were convicted in the Municipal Court of
Deerfield Township of trespass, they then appealed.
Tedesco calls police, and then executes formal complaint for
violation of NJ trespass statute
Ds convicted of violating NJ trespass statute by Municipal court
Appealed conviction to NJ Supreme Court not expressly state in
background but clear from title and context
Facts: (D1) was a field worker for the Farm Workers Division of the
Southwest Citizens Organization for Poverty Elimination a non-profit
organization that provides health services for migrant farmworkers.
(D2) was a staff attorney with the Farm Workers Division of Camden
Regional Legal Services, a nonprofit organization that provides legal
services to such workers. The (D) entered private property (Tedesco) to
visit migrant farmworkers that were housed there, (D1) to visit a
worker that require health services and (D2) discuss a legal with
another migrant worker. As they got near the campsite where the
farmworkers were staying, the owner of the property confronted them
and asked why they were there. The (D) stated their purpose and the
owner offered to locate the men but insisted that the legal consultation
take place in his office. (D) Refused his offer, stating they had a right to
visit the workers privately in their living quarters. Then the owner
contacted the police and (D) were charged and convicted of trespass.

Issue: (A) Can property owners are allowed to refuse access to


migrant workers housed upon his property? (B) Can those aid workers
be prosecuted for trespass?
Holding and Rule: (A) No, under NJ state law you cannot bar access
to governmental services that are available to migrant workers, (no
property put in law). Right to property is not an absolute right. (B)
Since there is no state law barring access to governmental workers, no
trespass occurred.
Whether the NJ statute of trespass constitutional?
o Supremacy Clause of Constitution (was it violated?)
o Is the trespass statute, as applied by the Municipal Court to
these Ds, a violation of the First Amendment of the U.S
Constitution?
*Courts dont address the constitutional questions *
Was the statute of trespass violated?
Holding:
Ownership of real property does not include the right to bar
access to governmental services available to mirgrant workers
and hence there was no trespass within the meaning of the penal
statute
Court does not reach constitutional question
Courts Reasoning: Human values are to be considered/looked at
when applying the rule of law. Property rights are intended to serve
human values accommodate conflicting individual and social interests.
They have to accommodate the rights of the property but also the
rights of individuals who are parties with him in consensual transition
relating to the use of the property. The well-being has to be the
main/paramount concern of a system of law. Migrant farmworkers
(highly disadvantaged segment of society are in need of assistance
and not aware of their rights and public services) need protection by
the law. The property owner therefore had no legitimate need to deny
the farmers to receive aid.
More control/more control it in State legislature and state policy
than if this is taken as constitutional issue
o Trespass happens all the time, so its easier to control/help
with dealing with disputes
Ps argument:
o Trespass Statute
Reason for holding:
o Statutory

o Where does this understanding/definition of trespass


come from:
Common law
o Policy
Judgment and Order: Decision is reversed. Matters remanded to the
County Court with directions to enter judgments of acquittal.
Relief sought and judgment
o Tedesco/seeks criminal conviction
o Original judgment/order reversed and remanded to lower
court with order to enter judgment of acquittal