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State v. Stevens

April 25, 1984

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
GARY STEVENS, DEFENDANT



Haines, A.j.s.c.

Haines

Gary Stevens has been indicted for official misconduct. He is charged with conducting an unjustified strip search. He moves to dismiss the indictment, claiming it does not set forth the source or nature of any duty of his office which was violated and therefore does not charge a crime.

The indictment states that:

Gary Stevens did, while a police officer for Westampton Township, New Jersey, with purpose to obtain a benefit for himself or another or to injure or to deprive another of a benefit, did [sic] commit acts relating to his office but constituting an unauthorized exercise of his official function, knowing that such act is unauthorized or he is committing such act in an unauthorized manner;

VIZ. In that he did have Jane A. Petroski undress in his presence, at the Westampton Township Police Station, under circumstances not appearing to present either danger or emergency to him or to herself; and did have her undress under circumstances not appearing to have any justifiable basis, in view of the reasons for her detention.

Contrary to the provisions of N.J.S.2C:30-2a, and against the peace of this State, the Government and dignity of the same.

N.J.S.A. 2C:30-2 provides:

A public servant is guilty of official misconduct when, with purpose to obtain a benefit for himself or another or to injure or to deprive another of a benefit:

(a) He commits an act relating to his office but constituting an unauthorized exercise of his official functions, knowing that such act is unauthorized or he is committing such act in an unauthorized manner; or

(b) He knowingly refrains from performing a duty which is imposed upon him by law or is clearly inherent in the nature of his office.

The indictment refers only to 2C:30-2(a); it does not mention 2(b).

I

Drafting Rules

R. 3:7-3(a) provides:

The indictment or accusation shall be a written statement of the essential facts constituting the crime charged, need not contain a formal commencement and shall be signed by the prosecuting attorney.

"The purpose of the indictment is to inform the accused of the nature of the offense charged so as to enable him to make an adequate defense as well as to avail himself of his conviction or acquittal to avoid the threat of double jeopardy. The indictment also serves to inform the court of the facts alleged so that it may decide whether they are sufficient in law ...


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