Burlington County, NJ Law Blog

Friday, July 24, 2015

N.J. Police Officer Found ‘Not Guilty’ on 14 Counts of Misconduct Following DUI Arrest of State Assemblyman

What is the latest news regarding allegations of police misconduct in New Jersey?

In a ‘not guilty’ verdict of a staggering 14 charges of police misconduct, a Washington Township police officer has avoided certain termination and possible jail time in a case sparked by the DUI arrest of a state assemblyman. From a New Jersey criminal defense standpoint, this result highlights the importance of enlisting competent and experienced trial counsel from the outset – particularly when facing multiple charges or serious felony allegations. 

Details of high-profile misconduct trial

Following a trial spanning nearly one month – and punctuated by a ten-hour jury deliberation – the accused Washington Township officer was found not guilty of three counts of records tampering, three counts of falsifying records, three counts of false swearing, and five counts of official misconduct. 

The indictments came following a 2012 DUI arrest of Washington Township assemblyman Paul Moriarty – who has steadfastly maintained that the officer was specifically targeting him, did not follow procedure in the vehicle stop and had no actual reason to pull him over in the first place. The DUI charges against Moriarty were eventually dismissed with prejudice. However, during the misconduct trial, significant evidence was presented to suggest the officer had proper reasonable suspicion to pull the vehicle over, including testimony from another officer that she witnessed the assemblyman drunk at a local restaurant. 

Criminal procedure defense

Some of the main issues in the trial centered on whether the officer engaged in proper criminal procedure protocol at the outset of the incident, including a proper pull-over and the use of lawful arrest tactics. As a New Jersey criminal defense law firm, we work regularly with clients facing similar issues relating to possible police misconduct and ignorance of procedure laws. On successful motion, we are often able to obtain a suppression of any evidence derived from the improper procedure, which could lead to a total dismissal of the charges if the prosecution does not have any additional evidence against the accused. 

If you are facing a recent arrest or indictment, please do not hesitate to contact the criminal defense attorneys at Sitzler and Sitzler in Burlington County, New Jersey today: 609-267-1101. 

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