Mitchell
Cohen



MITCHELL COHEN had a long career as a lawyer and judge in Camden. A Democrat aligned with George R. Brunner in the mid-1930s, he was named  Camden City Prosecutor in the October of 1936, when a New Jersey State Supreme Court decision gave control of City government to the Democrat party. He was made acting judge in Camden's Police Court by August of 1938. Mitchell Cohen also served as Camden County Prosecutor in the late 1940s and early 1950s. 

The 1947 Camden City Directory shows that Mitchell Cohen was living at 413 Penn Street. This house had been from the 1900s through at least the 1930s the home for three sisters who were long-time Camden schoolteachers, Frances Wilmerton, Mary Brown, and Margaret Thomson.

Mitchell Cohen was Camden County prosecutor in 1949 when Howard Unruh went on a rampage, leaving 13 people dead. Mitchell Cohen took Unruh's statement, which remains sealed to this day. Also during Cohen's tenure as County Prosecutor, long-time Camden County Chief of Detectives Larry Doran retired. He was still County Prosecutor as late as 1954.

Mitchell Cohen rose to the post of Chief Justice of the Federal District Court in Camden. The Courthouse, erected in the late 1990s, bears his name.


Camden Courier-Post * October 29, 1931

BAIRD TO ADDRESS HEBREW LEAGUE

David Baird, Jr., Republican nominee for governor, will make his final appearance in the current election campaign Monday night, in his "own home town," when he will address a monster rally at the Hebrew Republican League, at the Talmud Torah, 621 Kaighn avenue.

The Hebrew league reorganized formally at a luncheon in the Hotel Walt Whitman. Lewis Liberman, assistant city solicitor, was elected president; Sig Schoenagle, Samuel Shaner, Israel Weitzman, vice-presidents; L. Scott Cherchesky, secretary, and Samuel Label, treasurer.

Trustees of the league include Hyman Bloom, Mitchell E. Cohen, Benjamin Friedman, Jacob L. Furer, Isadore H. Hermann, Carl Kisselman, Edward Markowitz, Louis L. Markowitz, Harry Obus, Maurice L. Praissman, Samuel Richelson, Meyer L. Sakin, Julius Rosenberg, Jacob Rosenkrantz and Jack Weinberg.

In addition to former Senator Baird, speakers at the Jewish rally will include Mrs. Elizabeth C. Verga, Republican state committeewoman and vice chairman of the county committee; Congressman Charles A. Wolverton, Congressman Benjamin Golder, of Pennsylvania, and State Senator Samuel Salus, of Pennsylvania.

Camden Courier-Post - August 29, 1935

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Albert S. Woodruff - Elizabeth C. Verga - Emma Hyland - Harry L. Maloney - Hotel Walt Whitman
Firmin Michel - Carl Kisselman - Mitchell H. Cohen - Edward V. Martino - John J. Crean 
Clay W. Reesman - William D. Sayrs - Pauline Caperoon - Abe Fuhrman - Harold W. Bennett 
Mary Kobus - George E. Brunner - Frank J. Hartmann Jr. - Frank T. Lloyd - Frederick von Nieda

Camden Courier-Post

October 6, 1936


Camden Courier-Post * January 5, 1938



Camden Courier-Post * January 7, 1938



Camden Courier-Post * February 15, 1938

RACKET IN CLEANERS LAID TO PRISONER
Police Charge He Got One on Credit, Sold and Then Reclaimed It

One of the strangest gyp rackets discovered in Camden in recent years—a vacuum cleaner sales scheme—was believed broken up yesterday with arraignment of Leonard Hauser, 218 North Eighth street, before Police Judge Mariano. Hauser was arrested at his home by Patrolman John Ferry after an investigation by Frank Thompson, representative of a nationally- known vacuum cleaner company with offices at Sixth and Cooper streets.

Ferry testified Hauser paid $10 down on a cleaner for a certain trial period. Then, Ferry said, he represented himself as a salesman for the company and sold it to Mrs. Mary Kirby, 552 Bailey street, for $25, plus her old cleaner for a trade in.

Later, the cleaner mysteriously broke down. Hauser called and said he would take it back, Ferry testified, and bring a new one. He took the cleaner, said Ferry, but never was seen at the Kirby home again.

"If he had taken the broom," remarked City Prosecutor Cohen, "would you call it a clean sweep?"

Mariano said he had information that Hauser was "working a real racket and that a number of other North Camden residents had been similarly defrauded."

C. Lawrence Gregorio, defense counsel, waived a hearing and the suspect was held in $2000 bail for the Grand Jury.

Detective Edwin Mills said after the hearing that Hauser did not restrict his activities to vacuum cleaners.

William Shaw, of 1474 Broadway, i dentified Hauser, according to Mills, as the man who collected $5 from him for an electric toy which was to have been Shaw's little son's Christmas present.- The toy never arrived, Mills said Shaw told him.

Mrs. Emily C. Hedley, of Berlin, and Mrs. Howard Brown, of Williamstown, also identified Hauser as the "vacuum cleaner salesman" who duped them, Mills declared..


Camden Courier-Post * February 16, 1938

Bosco at Murder Case Arraignment

BOSCO COMMITTED TO COUNTY JAIL CELL
Barber Held in Slaying Case Pending
Formal Indictment by Grand Jury

Sam Bosco, mid-city barber, was held for the county prosecutor's office on the charge of murder, following court action yesterday termed by Police Judge Gene R. Mariano as unprecedented in Camden legal annals.

Prosecutor Samuel P. Orlando announced he tried to bring the grand jury together for action in a true bill against the prisoner. The members had scattered so widely, however, they could not meet, but the true bill is 
expected Friday, when the jury makes its presentment.

Bosco is cited in connection with the death of Angelo Magalas, restaurant chef who died as a result of a holdup of a card game at 725 Penn Street, January 10. Magalas was shot in the arm during the crime, and the wound reputedly hastened his death from another ailment from which he was suffering.

Arrested at Jury Room

The action against Bosco follows an odd legal path. The barber was waiting to be called by the grand jury as a witness into the 

Sam Bosco (left), central city barber, is shown as he was arraigned before Judge Mariano in police court yesterday. He was held on a charge of murder in the fatal shooting of Angelo Magalas during a holdup. City Prosecutor Mitchell Cohen is shown standing beside the prisoner, who was handcuffed because he allegedly threatened a guard Saturday night.

death of Magalas, for which Frank Luggi is now sought.

While Bosco was sitting in the anteroom awaiting his call before the grand jury, Detective Thomas Murphy placed him under arrest.

At the time it was believed a true bill had been found against the man, but it has developed the arrest was on a warrant obtained by Murphy.

When Bosco arraigned yesterday it was revealed the charge was murder, but he was held under the warrant which Murphy had obtained, and the grand jury had not found the true bill to date.

The court was puzzled as to the action that could be taken in the case, but Judge Mariano said he remanded Bosco, on the wish of the prosecutor who told the court he would summon the grand jury to act on Bosco's case.

"I was informed the grand jury would be summoned" said Judge Mariano, "and I know the prosecutor did get in touch with some of the members, but they were not all available to sit.

Held for Prosecutor

"Hence the prosecutor may bring them today, tomorrow, or any other day that suits. No case such as this has ever come to my attention, and I simply acted to aid the county prosecutor's office, and to put Bosco in charge of the county officials and out of the city's hands, where I do not believe the case should rest at present time.

"I suggested to Prosecutor Orlando that it would be well to obtain a bench warrant in order to hold Bosco, and he agreed with me at that time. We also called in John L. Morrissey, counsel for Bosco, and I understand that he agreed with the procedure I had outlined.

"So I held Bosco to await the action of the county prosecutor's office and he is being held a prisoner under those exact circumstances. Bosco is charged with murder now."

Hearing Held Unnecessary

Bosco appeared in court unkempt, unshaven and handcuffed on complaint by Detective Murphy that on Jan. 10 Bosco "did feloniously and willfully murder, kill and slay" Magalas in a card game holdup was not read to the prisoner and he was not even asked to plead.

"For the purpose of the prisoner being committed to the county jail pending a further hearing next Monday, there is no necessity for a hearing at this time," said City Prosecutor Cohen. "He has already been indicted.

"The usual procedure is to hold a hearing only When there has been no action by the Grand Jury, but in this case, the indictment having been found, it is necessary only to send him to the county jail on the strength of the indictment."

John L. Morrissey, Bosco's attorney, objected that no indictment officially has been presented, the Grand Jury not being scheduled to make its formal presentment until Friday.

"Detective Murphy," Cohen replied, "was instructed last Friday by the Grand Jury to take this man into custody because an indictment had been found. If counsel insists on production of the indictment, I believe the case should be postponed until Monday."

"In three days," Morrissey argued, "we have been able to obtain absolutely no information regarding the evidence or witnesses. There is no indictment officially. Of course, it is common gossip that the defendant has been indicted, but neither the county nor the city seems to know what to do with him. I think some evidence should be presented to show us why he is being 
held."

Murphy interjected that both the Grand Jury foreman and Assistant Prosecutor Patrick J. Harding had instructed him to arrest Bosco, but Morrissey replied that "that is only hearsay evidence."

Jury To Be Called

"I have been in touch with County Prosecutor Orlando," Judge Mariano explained, ''and he is going to call the Grand Jury together as soon as he can to make a special presentment."

"Well, what is our status here?" inquired Morrissey.

"He is a county prisoner," said Mariano, "the city has nothing to do with it. If an indictment has been presented, the county would be able to have the defendant. I see no harm committing him until further action by the Grand Jury."

Morrissey then asked that bail be set. Cohen objected on the ground that the court had no legal right so to do. Mariano said he had the right but would not set bail.

"This is the first time I ever saw a defendant held without evidence or testimony," remarked Morrissey.

"There will be plenty of witnesses when the time comes," Cohen answered.

"What do you know about it?" Morrissey shot back. "You don't know anything about it. You don't even know who the witnesses will be."

 


Camden Courier-Post - February 16, 1938

CAFE OWNER FREED OF SALES TO MINOR
Girl Tells in Court of Twice Buying Beer But He Assails Her Story

Arrested on a charge of violating the city ordinance forbidding the sale of 
alcoholic beverages to minors, Antonio Panetta, 52, proprietor of a cafe at Fourth and Arch streetss, was found not guilty by Police Judge Mariano yesterday.

Panetta was arrested by Patrolman John V. Wilkie after Wilkie said he acted 
on a statement made to him by Nora Williams, 18, of 625 North Front street.

The girl testified she and several other girls bought beer in the place last Christmas night and again on New Year's Eve, from two waitresses whom she described as "Betty" and "Harriet." She declared she had bought beer on several previous occasions at the cafe, and Identified Elizabeth Matlack, 1287 Thurman street, as "Betty."

Panetta testified he "keeps a strict watch" on his place and that the girl could 
not have been served without him knowing it. He said whenever he thinks a customer is under age, he gets the suspected person to sign a card. He said he was in his establishment on both nights when the girl alleged she got beer, but had not seen her there. Mrs. Panetta corroborated her husband's testimony and the waitress denied serving the girl.

Prosecutor Mitchell Cohen asked that a conviction be found, pointing out that the girl was the only "disinterested witness," while the others were "members of the family and an employee."

Carlton W. Rowand, attorney for Panetta, wanted to know "if these things 
happened on those days, why the warrant was not issued until yesterday." 

Judge Mariano replied that the "information did not reach the police department until a few days ago."

In freeing Panetta Judge Mariano declared the state "had not borne the burden of proof and that the benefit of the doubt must be given to the defendant."


Trenton Evening Times * August 21, 1938

Edwin T. Mills - Mitchell Cohen - Dorothy Pearce - Rose Cavalier
Joseph Rocco - Ernest Whilden - Franklin Dyer - Edward Henry - Roy Ludwig


Camden Courier-Post - June 1, 1939

MAN IS HELD AGAIN IN FERRY MURDERS
Beckett Listed as Material Witness After Serving 6 Months for Assault

Raymond Beckett, 24, who police said confessed participation in the holdup-murder of Harry C. Armstrong, ferry toll collector, on July 17, last year, was held without bail for the grand jury yesterday as a "material witness" in the case.

Beckett will complete a six month county jail sentence for assault and battery today. County Detective James J. Mulligan appeared before Acting Police Judge Mitchell Cohen and asked that he be held for the grand jury, and the court complied.

Beckett, a resident of Bedford, Pa., was arrested after he allegedly had informed his wife "he could not come to Camden, because of a murder mixup there." Later Beckett implicated two other Camden men in the slaying, according to police. The case is still being investigated.

Armstrong, veteran employee of the Pennsylvania Railroad, was shot by two "white-pants" bandits early on the morning of July 17, when he sounded an alarm as they attempted to hold him up in the ferry toll booth at the Market street ferries..


Camden Courier-Post * January 5, 1940


Camden
Courier-Post

January 5, 1940

City Prosecutor Mitchell Cohen, who was appointed to fill a vacancy on the board of freeholders caused by the resignation of James S. Smith, of the Second Ward, is shown as he took the oath yesterday before Howard Truax, deputy county clerk. 


Camden Courier-Post * July 30, 1941

Mitchell Cohen - Gene R. Mariano - Mrs. Albert E. Essinger - David Glickman
Atlanta Road - Sylvia Hohing - Charles Hohing


Camden Courier-Post
July 30, 1941

Mitchell Cohen
Gene R. Mariano
Vernon Jones
George Weber
Frank Whipple
Earl Hamby
Jackson Street
Fairmount Street
Morton Street
South 9th Street
John Czetyrka
Elwood Urbanowicz


Kingston, NY Daily Freeman
December 9, 1948

County Prosecutor Mitchell Cohen - Judge Bartholomew A Sheehan
John L. Morrissey -  Howard Auld - Margaret Rita McDade


Camden Courier-Post - April 14, 1950

Retirement Dinner

April 1950

Seated: Larry Doran

Standing, Left to Right:

County Prosecutor Mitchell Cohen
Judge Bartholomew A Sheehan
Judge Frank T. Lloyd Jr.
First Assistant Prosecutor William T. Cahill
NJ Supreme Court Justice Albert E. Burling

Click on Image to Enlarge


Camden Courier-Post - April 14, 1950

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Camden Courier-Post * December 29, 1950

 

Lawrence Bleichner - Mitchell Cohen - Rocco Palese - Market Street


A difficult case that Mitchell H. Cohen investigated in 1953 while County Prosecutor was that of the tragic suicide of James S. Wilkie, son of a veteran Camden police officer, John V. Wilkie.  For several days after the shooting, Sgt. Wilkie claimed that he had shot his son, in order that he receive a Catholic funeral. He retracted his confession after it became apparent that he could not deceive the city and county investigators, and was released after the grand jury refused to return an indictment.

This tragic case saw the involvement of many of Camden's law enforcement and legal community, including  Benjamin Asbell, Wilfred Dube, Thomas Murphy, James J. Mulligan, J. James Hainsworth, Samuel P. Orlando, John Healey, and Joseph Bennie, among others.

 

Camden Courier-Post - December 21, 1953

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Gettysburg PA Times - December 23, 1953

Detective Is Held For Shooting Son

Camden NJ (AP)- A Camden city detective, Sgt. John V. Wilkie, is being held on a manslaughter charge in the shooting of his 17 year-old son.
       Police said last night Wilkie told them his son was killed accidentally as he and the youth struggled for his service revolver Sunday morning.
       The boy's death had been called a suicide by Camden County Coroner John A. Healy. A pathology report indicated that the head wound sustained by the younger Wilkie was self-inflicted.
       Camden County Prosecutor Mitchell H. Cohen said the detective told him he tried to take his own life after his son was shot but the pistol misfired.
       Wilkie was charged with manslaughter and held in custody pending a hearing to set bail.

Camden Courier-Post - December 24, 1953

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Camden Courier-Post - December 26, 1953

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Camden Courier-Post - December 28, 1953

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Camden Courier-Post - December 31, 1953

Wilkie Freed By Vote of Grand Jury


 


Camden Courier-Post - December 12, 1957
May A. Jones
Mitchell Cohen
Morris Aronow
Milton Rosenberg
Max Marcus
Renee Marcus
Jacob Levikoff
A & R Bar
Federal Street
Kaighn Avenue

Broadway



 

 

 

Camden Courier-Post
December 20, 1957

Orvyl Schalick
John Christinzo
Morse Street
Carman Street

 

 


Camden Courier-Post - June 10, 1960

Plea Changed By Peterson To No Defense

Henry W. Peterson, former secretary of the South Jersey Port Commission, changed his plea in Camden County Court from not guilty to no defense to charges of malfeasance in office and false swearing.

The charges grew out of a grand jury investigation of the Port Commission, which operates the Camden Marine Terminal. Peterson, of Woodbury, entered the plea through his attorney, J. Claud Simon, Thursday before Camden County Judge Cohen.

 Cohen said he would sentence Peterson June 23. He ordered a pre-sentence investigation. The indictments were returned against Peterson, former Woodbury mayor, in January.

Camden County Prosecutor Heine said at that time that the indictments charged Peterson with malfeasance in office as the result of padding his expense in the amount of $2000 between 1958 and 1959. The other indictment listed four counts of false testimony before the grand jury on September 10.


Judge Mitchell H. Cohen Federal Building & Courthouse
401 Cooper Street -
February 7, 2004


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