The focus of the within opinion is whether the New Jersey expungement statute, more specifically, N.J.S.A. 2C:52-14f, serves as a bar to the expungement of a subsequent offense where diversionary treatment was granted as a result of a disorderly persons violation.
On September 9, 1972, petitioner, B.C., was arrested in the City of Clifton and charged with being under the influence of a CDS in violation of N.J.S.A. 24:21-20 b, a disorderly persons offense (hereinafter referred to as d.p.). On December 11, 1973, petitioner pleaded guilty to this offense and was sentenced to a one-year diversionary treatment program. After successful completion of the supervisory term the matter was dismissed on March 1, 1974.
On August 18, 1973, petitioner was arrested in Nutley and charged with possession of marijuana, less than 25g., in violation of N.J.S.A. 24:21-20a(3), a disorderly person. On December
17, 1973, he pleaded guilty to the charge and received a six month suspended sentence, one year probation and a $25 fine.*fn1
Subsequently, on June 19, 1974, petitioner was again arrested in Clifton for possession of marijuana, less than 25g., in violation of N.J.S.A. 24:21-20a(3), a disorderly person. Again, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to one year probation and a fine of $100. It is this offense on which the opinion is focused.
On November 16, 1983, B.C.'s attorney filed a petition before this court for expungement of his two Clifton violations. His attorney simultaneously filed an application for the expungement of his Nutley offense in Essex County.
Although not an issue in the instant case, it is worthy to note that the request in Essex County was granted by the Hon. Paul Thompson, J.S.C., and a formal order entered on December 2, 1988. Apparently there were no objections to the expungement of the Nutley matter by the Essex County Prosecutor, State Police, or Attorney General despite the exact same factual scenario as in the case at bar.
Following the filing of his petition in Passaic County a Dec. 23, 1988, hearing date was assigned. Prior to this date the Prosecutor filed an objection to the requested relief. He based his objection on N.J.S.A. 2C:52-14f, specifically the portion of the statute that addresses supervisory treatment. Briefs were submitted by both parties and the matter was marked for final disposition on February 17, 1989.
The statute under consideration reads in pertinent part:
A petition for expungement may be denied when . . .
f. The person seeking the relief of expungement of a conviction for a disorderly persons, petty disorderly persons, or criminal offense has prior to or subsequent to said conviction been granted the dismissal of criminal charges following completion of a ...