After four bottles of gin, the Senator from Passaic got shot

One brief and rather disastrous political career belonged to Roy Yates, a Passaic County Republican who was elected to the State Senate in 1927 at age 33. One night during the summer of 1931, while on their fourth bottle of gin, Yates was shot in the abdomen by Ruth Jayne Cranmer, in a Manhattan apartment the Senator maintained for her. Yates, married with three children, argued with Cranmer over her allowance and the cost of renting the upper West Side apartment. After it was disclosed that Yates had arranged for Cranmer to be placed on the state payroll, he resigned his Senate seat.

Over the next few weeks, the New Jersey State Controller, John McCutcheon, investigated the Yates matter. McCutcheon was also the Passaic County GOP Chairman, and many political leaders, including the Republican Governor, Morgan Larson, criticized the pace of the investigation. After the idisclosure that Yates had also obtained a railroad pass so that Cranmer could take the train to New York for free. That causd the state to release the names of more than 1,000 politically connected individuals who had been given free railroad passes — a practice that ended during the 1931 gubernatorial campaign when both candidates agreed to ban the free passes.

In November, a New York grand jury dismissed a felonious assault charge against Cranmer after the District Attorney had been unable to serve Yates with a subpoena.

Yates was back in the news three years later when William Harley, a Passaic County Court Judge, testified that he was forced to make a $25,000 contribution to Passaic County Republicans in order to get a judicial appointment. Harley alleged that McCutcheon had received half the money. He said Yates later sought to influence his decisions on the bench, and that threats from political bosses became so common that he carried a gun into his courtroom for his personal protection.

Yates lost his job at the Paterson bank he ran, and wound up in a public relations job. He died in 1960 at age 65.

  After four bottles of gin, the Senator from Passaic got shot