On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Bergen County, BMA-004-17-05.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Payne, J.A.D.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted November 8, 2006
Before Judges Kestin, Payne and Graves.
Defendant, Adam Goodmann, appeals from his conviction for the disorderly persons offense of shoplifting, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11b(1), imposed in municipal court and affirmed by a judge of the Superior Court following a trial de novo on the prior record. On appeal, defendant, an attorney, raises the following arguments on his own behalf:
A. The Requisite Statutory Elements Were Not Met.
B. The Equities Weigh Heavily in Favor of the Defendant.
C. Equitable Estoppel Bars Prosecution of the Defendant in This Case.
D. The Unclean Hands Doctrine Bars Prosecution of the Defendant in This Case.
Testimony at trial in municipal court was offered for the State by John Evans, an assistant manager at a Walgreens store located in Fair Lawn. Evans testified that, on March 7, 2005, defendant appeared at the store to pick up film that had been re-developed after defendant expressed dissatisfaction with the initial result because the date did not appear on the pictures. Defendant was given the photographs and told that the charge would be $9.75, but he refused to pay that amount.*fn1 When Evans stated that failure to pay or to relinquish possession of the pictures would result in a charge of shoplifting, defendant responded angrily: "Do what you can." Defendant then wrote his name and address on a piece of paper, along with the statement that we "will settle this in court," and proceeded out of the store with the pictures in hand. Evans or the store's manager thereupon called the police and filed a shoplifting complaint.
Defendant testified that when he arrived at the Walgreens store, he had every intention of paying for the photographs. However, he had requested double prints, and he received only a single set at a price different from that advertised. This discrepancy led to a billing dispute. As defendant described it:
[W]hat took place was a disagreement as to what the price should be since [Walgreens] hadn't performed in accordance with what I had requested. The photos I was picking up[,] they weren't anyone else's photos, they were my own ...