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State v. Giansanti

July 1, 2010

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
STEVEN GIANSANTI, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Gloucester County, Municipal Appeal No. 30-08.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted May 4, 2010

Before Judges Carchman and Lihotz.

Defendant, Steven Giansanti, appeals from the denial of a motion to suppress evidence after a trial de novo in the Law Division. R. 3:23-8(a). Defendant had been convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI), N.J.S.A. 39:4-50(a), following entry of a guilty plea in the Mantua Township Municipal Court.

The Law Division's de novo review again ended in defendant's conviction and the imposition of the same sentence. On appeal, defendant argues:

POINT I

THE PROCEDURES UTILIZED BY THE MANTUA TOWNSHIP POLICE DEPARTMENT VIOLATED THE REQUIREMENTS OF STATE V. KIRK.

POINT II

THE GREETER/OFFICER'S ACTION IN QUESTIONING THE DEFENDANT AND REQUESTING THE DEFENDANT'S CREDENTIALS EXCEEDED THE GREETER/OFFICER'S AUTHORITY AND VIOLATED THE DEFENDANT'S CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS.

We reject these arguments and affirm.

According to the State's proofs, on September 8, 2007, at approximately 2:30 a.m., defendant pulled his motorcycle into a police DWI sobriety checkpoint set up near the intersection of Route 45 and Washington Avenue in Mantua Township. The Mantua Township Police Department's (MTPD) request to operate the checkpoint had been approved by the County Prosecutor the prior month. MTPD Patrolman Shawn Butler was responsible for "greeting" the southbound vehicles stopping at the checkpoint. Butler described his duties as follows:

I was advised [by Sergeant Brian Grady at the pre-shift briefing] to greet every vehicle notifying them that we are doing a checkpoint and give them a pamphlet on checkpoint, and when the traffic was heavy we were sending randomly every fifth vehicle down to the secondary staging area, and then when it got a little bit lighter we started sending every third vehicle down, or if I had observed any violations I could send them down, or detected alcohol or an intoxicated driver, send them to the secondary staging area. [(Emphasis added.)]

At the pre-shift briefing, Butler had been provided with Standard Operating Procedure #40 (SOP #40), a document setting forth the Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office's regulations for conducting DWI checkpoints. Butler was also provided with an accompanying September 7, 2007 memorandum authored by Grady, who oversaw all aspects of the checkpoint. Butler read both of these documents at the briefing prior to conducting his checkpoint duties.

The documents detail the procedures to be followed by officers operating the checkpoint. Specifically, paragraph ...


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