On appeal from a Final Decision of the New Jersey Racing Commission.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Before Judges Lyons and Waugh.
Jesus Guadalupe, a jockey, appeals from a Final Administration action of the New Jersey Racing Commission (Commission), denying his application for a jockey license. We affirm.
The following factual and procedural history is relevant to our consideration of the issues advanced on appeal. Guadalupe was a licensed thoroughbred jockey in New Jersey prior to May 1977. In May 1977, he was charged in a criminal indictment with race-fixing in New Jersey during the period between December 1, 1974 and May 27, 1975. At the time of his indictment, he was twenty-six years old. As a result of that indictment, the Commission suspended his license pending the outcome of the grand jury indictment. Guadalupe was found guilty, following a criminal jury trial, for conspiracy to prearrange results of a horse race, as well as aiding and abetting to prearrange the results of a horse race. He was sentenced in April 1979 to an indeterminate period not to exceed eighteen months at the Youth Correctional Institution Complex. Following the denial of Guadalupe's appeal, he served out his sentence.
On March 21, 1985, the Commission issued a ruling providing that the indefinite suspension earlier ordered by it with respect to Guadalupe was terminated and he was declared ineligible for licensure in New Jersey in any capacity. The ruling went on to state "[t]he terms of this ruling are not to prejudice Mr. Guadalupe's ability to make further application for licensure in New Jersey in the future."
In 1986, Mr. Guadalupe applied to become a jockey in his native Puerto Rico and his application was granted. In 1986, Guadalupe also renewed his efforts to be re-licensed in New Jersey by the Commission. The Commission then declined to do so. Since 1986, Guadalupe has ridden horses in Puerto Rico without incident, according to racing officials there who wrote letters of recommendation on his behalf to the Commission.
In October 2005, Guadalupe again renewed his efforts to be restored to good standing in New Jersey and receive a jockey license. On February 2, 2006, the Commission determined not to restore Guadalupe to good standing.
In February and March 2006, Guadalupe requested reconsideration of the matter. The Commission scheduled a hearing for July 19, 2006. At that hearing, Guadalupe spoke briefly and apologized for what had happened almost thirty years earlier. He requested a second chance. Guadalupe's attorney then asked the Commission to defer a decision regarding Guadalupe's license application to permit him to apply for an expungement of Guadalupe's race-fixing conviction. That request was granted.
Guadalupe's attorney then filed for an order to expunge and received same in November 2006. In December 2006, Guadalupe then applied to the Commission for a jockey license. Guadalupe sought the restoration of his license pursuant to the Rehabilitated Convicted Offenders Act, N.J.S.A. 2A:168A-1 to -6, (RCOA). Accompanying the application were letters of recommendation from racing officials in Puerto Rico, as well as other recommendations from parties associated with racing.
On June 20, 2007, the Commission met and decided not to grant a jockey license to Guadalupe. An application for reconsideration was filed. On August 22, 2007, the Commission met and voted on the application for reconsideration. The Commission voted to deny the motion for reconsideration. On September 4, 2007, the Commission issued its final decision and order in this matter and this appeal ensued.
On appeal, Guadalupe presents the following argument for ...