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Laurino v. State

Decided: November 21, 1963.

ALFRED P. LAURINO, APPELLANT,
v.
STATE OF NEW JERSEY, DIVISION OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE CONTROL, RESPONDENT



Goldmann, Kilkenny and Collester. The opinion of the court was delivered by Kilkenny, J.A.D.

Kilkenny

Alfred P. Laurino (hereinafter "licensee"), the holder of a plenary retail consumption license, appeals from an order of the Acting State Director of Alcoholic Beverage Control, adjudging him guilty of (1) selling alcoholic beverages to persons under 21 years of age and (2) employing persons under 21 years of age in or upon the licensed premises without obtaining a permit from the Director. This determination resulted in a suspension of the license for a period of 30 days.

The licensee admits the truth of the charges but contends that he established a complete defense under the special facts herein and within the ambit of N.J.S.A. 33:1-77.

The facts are not disputed. In November of 1962 two girls, one 20 years of age and the other 16 years of age at the time, applied to the licensee for employment. Both girls orally represented themselves to be over 21 years of age. The 16-year-old girl showed the licensee what purported to be a genuine baptismal certificate, impressed with the church seal, which recited that she was born on August 8, 1941 and baptized on September 12, 1941 at the Church of Christ the King, Yonkers, New York. Thus, this certificate indicated on its face that this girl was then 21 years old. The 20-year-old girl claimed to have been born on October 17, 1940. If this were true, she would then have been 22 years old. She, too, exhibited a birth or baptismal certificate.

On November 27, 1962 the licensee took the 16-year-old girl to the Union City Bureau of Liquor Control at the local police headquarters. She then and there presented a photograph of herself, signed a form in which she stated she was 21 years old, and was fingerprinted, as required by the local ordinance. She received an identification card issued by the Commissioner of Public Safety, showing her age as 21 and certifying compliance with the provisions of the ordinance. The ordinance required this certificate to be on file on the licensed premises.

The licensee followed the same procedure with reference to the 20-year-old girl on December 7, 1962. She represented that she was 22 years old and her identification card, issued by the local bureau of liquor control, so indicates.

Aside from the oral representations as to their age made by the girls to the licensee, the showing of the baptismal certificate, and their signatures on the fingerprint cards, executed for the local board of liquor control at police headquarters, neither girl signed any other writing certifying or attesting to the licensee that she was 21 years of age, or older.

On January 6, 1963 two agents of the State Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control went to the licensee's premises and there found the two girls in the licensee's employ. The fact of that employment and that the girls had been served alcoholic beverages is admitted. The licensee was charged with serving intoxicating beverages to minors and employing minors without a permit on licensed premises, in violation of Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control Rule 1, Regulation 20, and Rule 3, Regulation 13, respectively.

At the Division hearing, aside from the facts recited above, it was stipulated that if the agents were to testify as to their impression of the girls' apparent ages, they would say the 16-year-old girl appeared to be 18 or 19, and the 20-year-old girl about 19 or 20.

The licensee testified that the girls appeared to him to be over 21. He stated further that he had been in the tavern business as bartender and proprietor for about five or six

years. The licensee's bartender, similarly experienced in the tavern business, testified that both girls appeared to him to be over 21. On cross-examination the bartender testified that he knew the girls had police cards and, therefore, did not question them. He admitted that if they did not have police ...


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