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NJ Case Law: Disorderly Persons Charge of Resisting Arrest

By Spodek Law Group | February 15, 2023

New Jersey Case Law: Resisting Arrest Disorderly Person Offense

In a court trial in the Superior Court, Law Division, Bergen County, Frederick Stampone was convicted of failing to exhibit a driver’s license and disorderly conduct. However, his appeal was successful, and the Superior Court, Appellate Division, overturned the verdict.

An Unjustified Investigatory Stop

The police officer who made the arrest did not have any articulable suspicion of illegal conduct to support an investigatory stop. Therefore, the stop was not justified, and Stampone’s resistance to the arrest was also not a disorderly act.

No Public Inconvenience or Alarm

The court also found that Stampone’s conduct could not cause public inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm. In other words, his actions did not pose a threat to anyone’s safety or disrupt public peace.

A Victory for Justice

As a result of these findings, the court overturned Stampone’s conviction, and the charges against him were dismissed. This case is a prime example of how our legal system is designed to protect citizens from unjustified arrests and charges.

At Spodek Law Group, our experienced attorney, Todd Spodek, has a proven track record of defending clients’ rights and ensuring that justice is served. Whether you are facing a disorderly person’s charge or any other legal issue, we are here to help. Contact us today to learn more.

NJ Case Law: Disorderly Person Charge of Resisting Arrest

The Incident

In a recent New Jersey case, a police officer made an investigatory stop of a defendant sitting in the driver’s seat of a car parked on a residential street. However, the officer did not have any articulable suspicion of illegal conduct to support the stop. While the defendant’s vehicle had out-of-state plates and a burglary had occurred in the neighborhood one or two weeks earlier, nothing in the defendant’s appearance suggested he was a burglar. Additionally, the car’s ignition was off, it was 5:00 p.m., and the defendant told the officer he was waiting for his girlfriend, who would be home shortly.
Under U.S.C.A. Const. Amend.4, the officer’s conduct in making the investigatory stop was unlawful. As per NJ case law, a person approached by a police officer making a field inquiry need not respond to the police and is always free to leave. Under proper circumstances, preventing a police officer from performing his duties may constitute obstruction, hindering, or resisting arrest. However, it is not an element of disorderly conduct as per N.J.S.A.

The Charges

Although the defendant had not engaged in any behavior constituting disorderly conduct, the police charged him with obstructing justice and disorderly conduct. These charges were baseless, as the defendant’s actions could not cause public inconvenience, public annoyance, or public alarm. There was no evidence that passers-by noticed any of the actions or were even present during the incident.

The Verdict

In the end, the defendant was found guilty of a disorderly person’s charge of resisting arrest but was found not guilty of obstructing justice and disorderly conduct. He was not guilty of failing to exhibit a driver’s license either, as he immediately complied with the officer’s request upon the second ask. It is crucial to understand that in New Jersey, resisting arrest is a serious criminal offense that can result in jail time and a criminal record. It is important to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney like Todd Spodek of Spodek Law Group if you are facing a charge of resisting arrest or any other criminal offense.

NJ Disorderly Persons Charge: Resisting Arrest

Defendant Frederick Stampone was found guilty of failing to exhibit a driver’s license and disorderly conduct. However, we now reverse both convictions after discovering the following facts, as told by arresting Officer Joseph Fazio.

The Incident

On September 7, 1999, Fazio was driving on Hillside Avenue when he noticed a white Pontiac with Kansas license plates parked in front of 222 Hillside Avenue. The car’s ignition was off, and defendant Frederick Stampone was in the driver’s seat. When Fazio drove by, Stampone avoided eye contact and looked away from the officer. Fazio was concerned as there had been a burglary down the street a week or two earlier, but he did not know if a car was involved. Nothing about Stampone’s appearance suggested he was the burglar.

The Investigation

Fazio approached Stampone and asked him what he was doing there, to which Stampone replied he was waiting for his girlfriend, who lived at 222 Hillside Avenue. The officer asked her name, and Stampone gave her first name but did not know her last name. Fazio then asked Stampone for his name, and he said it was Fred but would not provide his last name. Fazio went to the residence and determined that no one was home. He then relayed that information to Stampone, who said the woman he was waiting for would be home by 5:00 p.m. Shortly thereafter, a woman arrived who lived at 222 Hillside Avenue acknowledged that she and Stampone were dating.

The Arrest

Before her appearance, Fazio asked Stampone for identification twice, but he refused both times. Fazio then asked for his driver’s license, and Stampone claimed it was in the trunk. Fazio asked if he could retrieve it, but Stampone refused. After asking again, Stampone complied and retrieved a manila envelope from the trunk. Stampone went back inside his car with the envelope and closed the door. Fazio saw Stampone reach over to the passenger side with his left arm, but could not see what he was reaching for. Fazio opened the driver’s door, and Stampone “reaches back across. Turns backward over here, grabs the door, slams it shut” and “almost slams it” into Fazio’s legs. Fazio again opened the door, grabbed Stampone by the arm, and pulled him “straight forward.” The manila envelope dropped onto the passenger seat. Fazio then “stood in the doorway so he wouldn’t be able to close it on me again.” Stampone told Fazio to let go of his arm and cursed at him.

The Verdict

Based on these facts, Stampone was charged with failing to exhibit a driver’s license and disorderly conduct. However, we have now overturned both convictions. The case raises serious concerns about the legality of Fazio’s actions and whether Stampone’s resistance constituted disorderly conduct. At Spodek Law Group, our attorney Todd Spodek is a seasoned expert in handling disorderly person charges and resisting arrest cases. If you or someone you know has been charged with a disorderly person’s offense, contact our law firm today.

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