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State v. Dolton

Decided: January 7, 1977.

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
EDWARD DOLTON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



Fritz, Crahay and Ard. The opinion of the court was delivered by Fritz, P.J.A.D.

Fritz

Defendant, then chief of the Mantoloking Police Department, was indicted with a codefendant, one Joseph Saldutti, Sr., in a four-count indictment. The first count charged the pair with conspiracy to obstruct the due administration of the laws (N.J.S.A. 2A:98-1(h)). The second count charged Saldutti with offering a bribe to Dolton (N.J.S.A. 2A:85-1; Dolton was not charged with a crime in this count). The third count charged that Dolton "by color of his * * * office, unlawfully did receive and take from JOSEPH SALDUTTI, SR. the sum of $500.00 United States currency, the said sum being a fee or reward not allowed by law to the said EDWARD DOLTON for performing his duties as the public officer aforesaid, contrary to the provisions of NJS 2A:105-1." The fourth count charged Dolton with misconduct in office (N.J.S.A. 2A:85-1). A jury convicted Saldutti on the second count and Dolton on the third count. Dolton was acquitted on the fourth count, and a mistrial resulted with respect to the first count when the jury could not agree upon a verdict.*fn1

There is testimony which, if with its reasonable inferences was credited, was amply sufficient to convince a jury that Saldutti tendered and Dolton received $500 in February

(as a "Christmas gift"; compare State v. Savoie , 67 N.J. 439 (1975)) in order that Dolton might "see what [he] could do for the case." "The case" was a pending drunken driving charge against Saldutti's son, preferred by a subordinate of Dolton.

Dolton alone appeals, asserting:

I: The court below should have dismissed count three of the indictment at the conclusion of the State's case.

II: The trial court erred in its charge to the jury on count three of the indictment and defendant's conviction on that count should therefore be reversed.

III: The court below erred in not dismissing count one of the indictment and its submission to the jury tainted the jury's verdict on count three.

IV: The court below erred in admitting into evidence those portions of defendant Saldutti's statement to Detective Gallant which were inculpatory of defendant Dolton.

We are satisfied that the third and fourth points urged are clearly without merit. R. 2:11-3(e)(2).

Relying largely on State v. Savoie , 67 N.J. 439 (1975), defendant argues, in essence, as support for both of his first two points, that before there can be an offense to N.J.S.A. 2A:105-1, it must be demonstrated that there is a "receipt or taking * * * for the performance of his duties." Appellant characterizes this as a quid pro quo. He continues his syllogism with the suggestion that "the alleged influencing of the outcome of a motor vehicle summons is unquestionably not part of the public duties which a municipal chief of police performs." So, appellant concludes, even if the facts supported a determination that Saldutti gave and Dolton took, it could not be for the performance of his duties, as a result of which no matter what else it might have been, it was not a violation of this statute.

At the outset we perceive a problem probably only of interest here to the intermediate appellate court. We are adjured by obvious implication from Reinauer Realty Corp. v. Paramus , 34 N.J. 406, 415 (1961), that irrespective of ...


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