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State v. Valentin

Decided: March 3, 1986.

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
DENNY VALENTIN, DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT



On appeal from Interlocutory Order of the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division (Criminal), Hunterdon County.

Muir, Antell and Shebell. The opinion of the court was delivered by Muir, J.s.c. (temporarily assigned). Shebell, J.A.D., concurring.

Muir

The issue on this appeal is whether a person can be criminally culpable under N.J.S.A. 2C:29-3b(4) of hindering his own apprehension by providing false information to a law enforcement officer in response to police questioning.

N.J.S.A. 2C:29-3b, provides:

A person commits an offense if, with purpose to hinder his own apprehension, prosecution, conviction or punishment, he:

(4) Volunteers false information to a law enforcement officer.

Indicted by a Hunterdon County Grand Jury for violating this statute, defendant moved to dismiss the charge. The trial court concluded the word "volunteers" requires the actor to take the initiative in providing the false information rather than giving it in response to police questioning.

The State, after grant of leave to appeal, challenges that construction.

We affirm and, in doing so, expressly overrule State v. Alexander, 198 N.J. Super. 594 (Law Div.1984).

On April 9, 1985, a state trooper stopped a car driven by defendant for a routine motor vehicle violation. The car was registered to Dollar Rent-A-Car of Dania, Florida. The owner had reported that the car had been stolen by Denny Valentin, who had leased the car and had not returned it. Dollar Rent-A-Car sought to prosecute Denny Valentin. The trooper asked defendant his name. When defendant identified himself as

Ramon Velez, the trooper issued a motor vehicle summons and released him.

On April 17, 1985, the same trooper stopped defendant for another motor vehicle violation. The trooper requested identification. This ...


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