Archive for July 2011

NEW JERSEY LAWYERS REVIEW RECENT DECISION REVERSING OFFICIAL MISCONDUCT CONVICTION INVOLVING OFF-DUTY THEFT BY LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER.

A recent decision by the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, reversed a conviction for a Mount Laurel, New Jersey former police officer convicted of theft and official misconduct in Cape May County Courthouse in 2007 and subsequently sentenced to four years probation. The Appellate Division affirmed a conviction for theft by fraudulent use of a credit card – in this case, an ATM card. “The defendant in this case simply did not use his status as a police officer to commit the crime of fraudulent use of a credit card,” Appellate Division Judge Edwin Stern, Jack Sabatino and Jonathan Harris held.

The appeals court said the misconduct conviction under N.J.S.A. 2C:30-2b cannot stand because not all three requirements of the statute were met, namely that (1) the defendant was a public servant, (2) he “knowingly refrained from performing a duty which is imposed on him or her by law or which is clearly inherent in the nature of the office” and (3) his purpose was for personal benefit to the detriment of another. The case involved the use of the ATM card found by the defendant at an ATM machine in Ocean City, New Jersey on July 1, 2006. The card had been accidentally left behind by the owner and the defendant proceeded to withdrawal $100.00 from the account as well as $320.00 from his own account. Kueny said his intention was to return the money to the bank, but had not done so 11 days later when he was contacted by the Ocean City police.

Legal Quote of the Week:

Be mild with the mild, shrewd with the crafty, confiding to the honest, rough to the ruffian, and a thunderbolt to the liar. But in all this, never be unmindful of your own dignity.

David Paul Brown