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In re 1992 Municipal Elections for City of Perth Amboy

Decided: April 10, 1992.

IN RE 1992 MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS FOR THE CITY OF PERTH AMBOY


Lerner, J.s.c.

Lerner

LERNER, J.S.C.

This matter comes before the court on an Order to Show Cause to remove T.T.'s name from the ballot for the upcoming city council election for the City of Perth Amboy. The first question to be decided is whether a conviction for the disorderly person's offense of issuing a bad check is an offense of moral turpitude. The second question is whether the court can permit an alternate candidate's name to be submitted for inclusion on the ballot if a candidate is removed by court order after the deadline for amended nominating petitions has passed.

T.T filed a petition to run for a council seat in the City of Perth Amboy. T.T. was one candidate of a group of candidates who elected to run together for their respective offices in accordance with N.J.S.A. 40:69A-153. T.T. responded to a questionnaire which was filed with the municipal clerk. In so responding T.T. stated that he had never been convicted of a crime or offense of moral turpitude. Some time thereafter, the municipal clerk was notified that defendant had pled guilty to the offense of issuing a bad check, a violation under 2C:21-5. The municipal clerk now seeks guidance as to whether T.T's name should be stricken from the ballot as a result of his conviction of the aforementioned offense.*fn1

The City of Perth Amboy is a municipal government formed under the provisions of the Faulkner Act, N.J.S.A. 40:69A-1 et

seq. The provisions of that act govern the manner in which the municipal elections are held. N.J.S.A. 40:69A-166 provides in pertinent part:

Any person convicted of a crime or offense involving moral turpitude shall be ineligible to assume any municipal office, position or employment in a municipality governed pursuant to this act, and upon conviction thereof while in office shall forfeit his office (emphasis added).

The question before this court is whether a conviction of the offense of writing a bad check constitutes a conviction of an offense involving moral turpitude.

A violation of a crime or offense set forth in Title 2A does not necessarily mean the offense committed was one involving moral turpitude, Galloway v. Council of Clark Township, 92 N.J. Super. 409, 419, 223 A.2d 644 (Law Div.1966). A crime is one involving moral turpitude if a conviction cannot result unless there is proof of facts indicating moral turpitude. State Board of Medical Examiners v. Weiner, 68 N.J. Super. 468, 491, 172 A.2d 661 (App.Div.1961).

Moral turpitude is defined as:

An act of baseness, vileness or depravity in the private duties which a man owes to his fellow men, to society in general, contrary to the ...


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