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State v. Richards

Decided: June 4, 1969.

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
DANIEL D. RICHARDS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



McGann, J.c.c.

Mcgann

Defendant appeals from a conviction in the Holmdel Township Municipal Court of failing to pay a toll on the Garden State Parkway in violation of Article 1.3.1 of the Regulations Governing the Use of the Garden State Parkway adopted by the New Jersey Highway Authority.

The undisputed facts are as follows: On April 12, 1968, at about 10 A.M., defendant was operating his vehicle in a southerly direction on the Parkway. He had three passengers with him. He left the Parkway at the Red Hill Road exit in Holmdel Township. A ramp-type toll collecting area has been established by the Authority at this point and a toll charge of 10 cents had been set for vehicles leaving the Parkway at that exit. As he approached the toll booth defendant brought his

vehicle to a stop. There was no toll collector on duty but there was a basket-type collection device with signs displayed indicating that the 10 cents toll be deposited therein. There was also a sign bearing this legend:

"Patrons without change please use envelope."

Parkway self-addressed envelopes were available. Postage had to be affixed by the user. (If defendant had taken an envelope he would have found therein a card which, among other items, bears the message "This return envelope is furnished as a convenience to motorists not having change to pay toll. Kindly attach amount shown at right. Thank you. Mail payment within 10 days or give to a Toll Collector.") There is no warning to the motorists that failure to take an envelope will result in a violation of the law.

Defendant did not have 10 cents in change, although he had currency in larger denominations. He asked his passengers if they had change. They did not. He then drove ahead without taking an envelope which he knew was available.

Hidden inside the toll booth was a security inspector employed by the Authority. Noting that defendant had neither paid the toll nor taken an envelope he radioed a description of the vehicle to a New Jersey State Police car stationed by pre-arrangement at the end of the exit ramp. A summons and complaint for the violation was issued to defendant. (I find that had defendant taken an envelope no prosecution would have ensued -- even if he had subsequently discarded the envelope.)

After the de novo hearing on the appeal an opportunity was given to defendant and to the State to submit briefs. The court also requested the New Jersey Highway Authority to file a brief amicus curiae.

The New Jersey Highway Authority, which operates the Garden State Parkway, is a legislative creation. Its powers are limited by the legislative grant. State v. Hubschman, 81 N.J. Super. 452 (Cty. Ct. 1963).

Statutory authority for the charging of tolls may be gleaned ...


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