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Hoffman v. Union County Prosecutor

Decided: January 30, 1990.

CHARLES HOFFMAN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
UNION COUNTY PROSECUTOR AND RAHWAY POLICE DEPARTMENT, DEFENDANTS



DeStefano, J.s.c.

Destefano

Mr. Hoffman brings this action for replevin seeking return of his rifles, shotguns and a Japanese saber turned over to the Rahway Police Department by his wife, Carol. The Union County Prosecutor counterclaims seeking revocation of his New Jersey firearms purchaser identification card.

On June 28, 1987, members of the Rahway Police Department responded to a call relative to the Hoffman residence. Plaintiff's son and wife were involved in a domestic dispute. Mrs. Hoffman asked the police to remove her husband's weapons from the premises to ensure her safety. The Union County Prosecutor issued a policy directive on July 25, 1985 to all police chiefs of Union County concerning firearms seized in connection with domestic violence incidents. Prosecutor Stamler stated, "Police Officers responding to domestic violence calls should inquire whether the accused possesses any firearms. If so, the firearms should be kept for safe keeping." No domestic violence complaint was filed. Plaintiff was not home during this incident, and his weapons were not used. The weapons have remained in the custody of the State.

On November 4, 1971, a New Jersey firearms purchaser identification card had been issued to Mr. Hoffman as the lawful owner of:

(1) 12 gauge Browning shotgun

(2) 30-06 Remington rifle

(3) 12 gauge Remington shotgun

(4) 12 gauge Richard shotgun

(5) 22 caliber Winchester rifle

(6) Mauser rifle

(7) 22 caliber Stevens rifle

(8) 12 gauge Fox Savage shotgun

(9) 1 Japanese saber

Since the issuance of that card, the following events occurred. On January 21, 1982, plaintiff was convicted, before the Roselle Park Municipal Court, for a violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(a)(1) when he assaulted Louise Woolever.

On September 19, 1982, plaintiff was arrested for assaulting Police Officer Thomas Boyd of the Elizabeth Police Department. Officer Boyd and his partner had responded to a call regarding a barroom brawl. Plaintiff interjected himself into the altercation, threw a punch at Officer Boyd and missed. Plaintiff's arrest and counterclaims ...


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