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State v. Gilbert

July 21, 2008

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
EDWIN O. GILBERT, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Bergen County, Docket No. 06-067.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted July 1, 2008

Before Judges Skillman and Winkelstein.

Defendant was convicted in the City of Garfield Municipal Court of violations of municipal Ordinance No. 1676, which requires a property owner to maintain his property free of litter, and municipal Ordinance No. 2382, which by incorporation of section 302.1 of the International Property Maintenance Code requires a property owner to maintain his premises in a "clean, safe and sanitary condition." The court imposed a $1,000 fine and court costs for each violation. On appeal, the Law Division convicted defendant of the same violations and reimposed the same sentence.

On appeal, defendant presents the following arguments:

I. THE VIOLATIONS STATED IN THE SUMMONS ARE UNCONSTITUTIONALLY VAGUE.

II. PART OF THE SENTENCE IS UNCONSTITUTIONALLY VAGUE.

III. THERE IS NO EXPERT TESTIMONY ABOUT DEFINITIONS OR SAFETY STANDARDS.

IV. THE PROPERTY MAINTENANCE CODE HAS NOT BEEN ENFORCED CORRECTLY.

V. THERE ARE DEFECTS IN THE EVIDENCE.

The only argument presented by appellant that requires brief discussion is his claim under Point I that "[t]he violations stated in the summons are unconstitutionally vague[.]" A statutory enactment "that is challenged facially may be voided if it is 'impermissibly vague in all its application,' that is, there is no conduct that it proscribes with sufficient certainty." State v. Cameron, 100 N.J. 586, 593 (1985) (quoting Village of Hoffman Estates v. The Flip-side, Hoffman Estates, 455 U.S. 489, 495, 102 S.Ct. 1186, 1191, 71 L.Ed. 2d 362, 369 (1982)). The municipal ordinances that defendant was found to have violated are clearly not vague in all of their applications.

Subsection 201-16 of Ordinance No. 1676, which requires a property owner to maintain his premises free of litter, is perfectly clear, at least in most of its applications:

The owner, agent, contractor or person in control of any private property, including a construction, demolition or excavation site, shall at all ...


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