Monday, December 28, 2009

Open Letter To Legal Unit Director, NJ State Parole Board

December 19, 2009

Erik B. Anderson

Hackettstown, NJ 07840

Lisa Puglisi, Director
Legal Unit
New Jersey State Parole Board
P.O. Box 862
Trenton, NJ 08625

RE: Posthumous Pardon

Dear Ms. Puglisi:

I spoke to Ms. Carinne Rivers at length about my wish to apply for a pardon not for myself, but for James Titus, who was convicted of the murder of Tillie Smith here in Hackettstown in 1887. Mr. Titus died in 1952, but the Tillie Smith story remains a "legend" in Hackettstown. I am a historian and a sociologist. I am working on my own book about this case, and I just feel that it is time to pardon this man. It is the only right thing to do.

James Titus was found guilty because of the public pressure on the people of Warren County because of the extreme nature of the crime. Tillie was also raped, and in Victorian times, the entire community was gripped by a kind of mass hysteria that young Janitor Titus, a man whose father committed suicide when he was fifteen and  might be considered "mentally ill" today, was powerless to defend himself against.

Anyway, there is much more to the story. I hope to write my own book about it someday. In the meantime, Ms. Rivers told me that no one has ever applied for a posthumous pardon in the State of New Jersey before. It appears that there is no formal way to do it, and she referred me to you.

Do you think that the New Jersey State Parole Board can create a method to apply for a posthumous pardon on its' own, or do you think a legislative solution from the Assembly and/or Senate would be needed? I am willing to do what it takes to ensure that it is at least possible to apply for a posthumous pardon. James Titus' last remaining family member, a grand-daughter, died in 1997, but I am sure that it is conceivable that someday someone else will want to apply for a posthumous pardon for their own family member or friend in New Jersey. Obviously, there is a need for a method to apply for a posthumous pardon in teh Executive Clemency Unit of the New Jersey State Parole Board.

I left one message on your telephone after Ms. Rivers told me she talked to you about it. That was about two weeks ago. I will call again. I do not wish to be a burden on your organization. I hope you can see how developing a method to apply for a posthumous pardon would be beneficial to the citizens of New Jersey now and on into the future.

Have a pleasant holiday season.

Warm Regards,

Erik B. Anderson

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