Bait And Switch

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[Column: Judicial Brutality]



New Jersey is known for Afro-profiling and the Bergen County case of New Jersey v. Jessie Davis, docket no. W2007000258, seems to be following suit by having baited Hon. Steven J. Zaben, J.M.C. of the Palisades Interstate Park Municipal Court with one set of claims while switching the proof to another.

Police officer Thomas Rossi claims that on June 4, 2007 at about 8:28 PM driver Donald McLoryd was tailgating a red BMW of unknown NY registration in violation of N.J .S.A. 39:4-89.

Rossi claims he stopped McLoryd and that McLoryd stated the registration was either on the console or in the glove compartment, which happened to be in front of where Jessie Davis, a passenger, was seated.

Rossi then says he asked Davis to exit the vehicle so he could search the glove compartment for the registration and Davis at first refused then finally complied.

Rossi claims that Davis then violated Jersey’s Disorderly persons law 2C:29-1A by “refusing to provide identification or identifying information at the scene of a lawful investigative detention…”

Rossi’s complaint also claims that Davis violated New Jersey’s Disorderly persons law also 2C:29-1A by “refusing to allow officers to complete routine arrest processing procedures while in stationhouse custody“.

Davis, styling himself as the “defendant in-error” in-error“, filed a self-written motion to dismiss. The prosecutor, David F Doyle of Edwards & Caldwell, LLC in Hawthorne, NJ., responded to Davis’ motion on December 11, 2007 and has switched the facts that were relied on in the complaint to justify Davis’ arrest.

After Davis’ motion to dismiss, Doyle now states:

“In order for the state to obtain a conviction the state must prove the defendant prevented an officer from performing an official function by refusing to permit the officer to determine the lawful inspection of the vehicle.”

In Officer Rossi’s complaint, he wrote that Davis prevented a public servant from performing an official function by…“refusing to provide identification or identifying information”

Now, suddenly, Davis allegedly prevented a public servant from performing an official function by “refusing to permit the officer from determining the lawful inspection of the vehicle.”

In other words, Davis prevented the determination that the vehicle was lawfully inspected by not providing identification or identifying information.

First of all, the complaint doesn’t tell the judge, or you, what identification or identifying information Davis allegedly refused to provide, or that Davis was in fact allegedly in possession of the alleged identification, so the police are free to invent circumstances that suit their purpose.

The complaint should have identified the identification that was not provided. The history of Afro-profiling in Jersey tells you the police will invent as needed. The identification of these failures alone call for the case to be dropped.

Additionally, the prosecutor’s papers reveal even deeper flaws. Doyle’s papers use three cases to support his claim that the complaint was sufficient.

Each of those cases say police have the right to question occupants of stopped cars, however Doyle’s representation of these cases in his papers don’t come anywhere close to suggesting that passengers have to answer or produce identification.

The unstated suggestion that passengers have to answer or produce identification is reminiscent of the pass laws of apartheid South Africa, especially on the roadways of New Jersey.

Lastly, Doyle’s papers never even responded to Davis’ objection to the charge that Davis violated N.J.’s disorderly persons law also 2C:29-1A by refusing to allow officers to complete routine arrest processing procedures while in stationhouse custody. That charge should be dropped for prosecutorial avoidance.

The next move is Judge Zaben’s.



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