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State v. Montero-Robles

March 17, 2008


On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Criminal Division, Middlesex County, Indictment No. 06-08-0093S.

Per curiam.


Submitted January 30, 2008

Before Judges Payne and Messano.

The State of New Jersey appeals from the Law Division judge's order that granted defendant Junior Montero-Robles' appeal from the prosecutor's rejection of his application for admission to the Pre-Trial Intervention Program (PTI). The salient facts and procedural history are as follows.

Defendant was born on March 10, 1971 in the Dominican Republic and illegally entered the United States on December 24, 1994.*fn1 On April 9, 2003, defendant visited the Perth Amboy post office and completed a passport application using the alias Miguel Antonio Reyes-Arroyo. Along with the application, he provided a New Jersey state identification card as proof of identity and a Puerto Rican birth certificate, declaring January 10, 1966 as his date of birth, as proof of citizenship.

Because the application contained a number of "fraud indicators," the Bureau of Diplomatic Security of the United States Department of State initiated an investigation. One of the Bureau's agents eventually located a criminal history record for defendant's alias in Massachusetts, and was supplied by local police with an arrest photo and fingerprints for Miguel Antonio Reyes-Arroyo. That photo did not match the photo attached to defendant's passport application.

On November 20, 2003, the Bureau's agents found defendant at his place of employment, the Tropical Cheese factory in Perth Amboy. Defendant admitted that he was in fact Junior MonteroRobles, supplied his true date and place of birth, and completed a handwritten statement confessing to having used a false birth certificate to apply for the passport. Defendant also stated that he obtained the document from someone who was "well known" in Massachusetts for the ability to create false documents, but that he did not know this individual's last name or address.*fn2

On August 16, 2006, the State grand jury returned Indictment No. SGJ 528-06-09 charging defendant with third degree tampering with public records or information, N.J.S.A. 2C:28-7(a)(2); third degree uttering a forged document, N.J.S.A. 2C:21-1(a)(3); and fourth degree false swearing, N.J.S.A. 2C:28-2(a).

On December 8, 2006, defendant applied for admission to PTI but was rejected by the Criminal Division Manager, who found

[D]efendant would not be benefited by supervisory treatment--his crime is related to a condition or situation that likely could not be corrected through supervisory treatment. N.J.S.A. 2C:43-12e[]6); see also N.J.S.A. 2C:43-12e[](5).

Although the def[endant] is a first offender, based on the nature of the charge and present concerns for national security, this case is not being recommended for PTI; we are instead recommending that this case be handled via the traditional court process.

By letter to defense counsel dated January 11, 2007, the deputy attorney general prosecuting the case agreed with the program director and rejected defendant's PTI application. In his letter, the prosecutor reviewed the nature and facts underlying the offense:

This case involves document fraud proffered in connection with an attempt to obtain a United States Passport to which the defendant was not entitled. In his attempt to obtain the passport, he presented two fraudulent documents . . . in the form of a New Jersey Driver's License issued by the Motor Vehicle Commission and a Puerto Rican birth certificate, each in the name of Miguel Antonio Reyes Arroyo. The defendant admitted to agents of the United States Department of State that he entered this country illegally. He has been illegally living in this country since that time. The defendant admitted that he paid $175 in Massachusetts in 1992 for the fictitious Puerto Rican birth certificate that he presented in support of his passport application. The defendant then applied for a New Jersey Identification Only driver's license using the same false pedigree information contained in the birth ...

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