Monday, June 15, 2009

The Law In New Jersey

Recently here in south Jersey a state trooper (NJ State Police Officer) was acquitted in a jury trial after he ran a stop sign at 70-75 mph at night on a small New Jersey backroad in pursuit of an alleged speeder, and without his flashing lights or siren on. He rammed into a minivan killing two teenage girls (driver and passenger) age 19 and 17. The jury, acting on what the judge had noted constitutes a criminal act under these circumstances (as, apparently, it does in many other States as well), voted unanimously for acquittal, because a police officer in pusuit should not engage a siren or flashing lights until the gap between the speeder and the officer in pursuit is being closed. He claimed not to have seen the stop sign. The state trooper had to pay several hundred dollars in fines and court costs, and his attorney is now asking that he receives all of his back pay for two years prior to the trial after his suspension, and also that he be reinstated as a state policeman.

There was a civil suit settled out of court compensating the family in the amount of 2 million from State police funds paid by taxpayers.

The local papers reported the daily presence of contingents of state police officers present in the courtroom during the trial, but no news sources speculated as to whether this phalanx had any effect on prosecutor, judge, or jury.

(addendum, June 19th: Just in case anyone doubts that NJ is, covertly, a police state, Trooper Higbee has been reinstated at full pay - $67,000 a year, and will undergo firearms proficiency testing before being re-posted.)