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State v. Hannah

Decided: September 21, 1987.

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, DEPARTMENT OF LAW AND PUBLIC SAFETY, DIVISION OF GAMING ENFORCEMENT, PETITIONER-APPELLANT,
v.
DAVID HANNAH, RESPONDENT-RESPONDENT



On appeal from Final Order of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission. recalled; September 21, 1987, Decided

Shebell and Stern. The opinion of the court was delivered by Shebell, J.A.D.

Shebell

The Division of Gaming Enforcement ("Division") appeals a final order of the Casino Control Commission ("Commission"), waiving the criteria relating to revocation of the casino hotel employee registration held by respondent, David Hannah.

The Division filed a complaint and an amended complaint with the Commission seeking to revoke Hannah's registration as a casino hotel employee based upon his repetitive criminal violations which were alleged to require mandatory disqualification pursuant to N.J.S.A. 5:12-86c. It appears undisputed that on

March 1, 1984, Hannah was indicted on charges of unlawful possession of a weapon, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5d, possession of cocaine, N.J.S.A. 24:21-20a(4), and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, N.J.S.A. 24:21-19a(1). He pled guilty to possession of cocaine. The remaining counts of the indictment were dismissed. On December 30, 1982, Hannah was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b). He was found guilty of simple assault and was sentenced to 20 days in jail. On May 12, 1983, he was arrested and charged with possession of methamphetamine and barbiturates, and possession with intent to distribute, N.J.S.A. 24:21-20 and 24:21-19, respectively. Laboratory analysis of these materials proved negative, and the charges were dismissed.

The Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") found that the Division

has established the 1984 distribution and weapon's charges, and the 1982 charge of aggravated assault. The statutorily disqualifying offenses, each sufficient for the proposed action, taken together with the remaining offenses and the lack of any substantial evidence of rehabilitation, requires the revocation of respondent's casino hotel employee registration.

The Commission affirmed the ALJ's factual findings but modified his decision by waiving the disqualifying offenses, purportedly pursuant to N.J.S.A. 5:12-91e which provides that "[t]he commission may waive any disqualification criterion for a casino hotel employee consistent with the public policy of this act and upon a finding that the interests of justice so require."

It is required under N.J.S.A. 5:12-91a that every person employed as a casino hotel employee be the holder of a valid casino hotel employee registration. "[T]he commission may revoke, suspend, limit, or otherwise restrict the registration upon a finding that the registrant is disqualified on the basis of the criteria contained in . . . [ N.J.S.A. 5:12-86.]" N.J.S.A. 5:12-91b. The finding that Hannah committed aggravated assault and possessed CDS with intent to distribute permits disqualification under N.J.S.A. 5:12-86g. N.J.S.A. 5:12-91d provides:

Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection b. of this section no casino hotel employee registration shall be revoked on the basis of a conviction of

any of the offenses enumerated in this act as disqualification criteria, provided that the registrant has affirmatively demonstrated his rehabilitation. In determining whether the registrant has affirmatively demonstrated his ...


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