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State v. Keperling

August 3, 2010

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
WARREN J. KEPERLING, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Cape May County, Indictment No. 08-08-00556.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted June 16, 2010

Before Judges Cuff and Fasciale.

Defendant, Warren J. Keperling, appeals from a March 6, 2009 judgment of conviction based on a violation of the community supervision for life (CSL) provision of a sentence for a prior conviction of third degree endangering the welfare of a child., contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6.4d. We affirm.

I.

On October 3, 2002, defendant pled guilty to third-degree endangering the welfare of a child, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4(a). On January 24, 2003, he was sentenced to five years in prison and CSL. The judgment of conviction (JOC) memorialized defendant's obligation to "satisfactorily comply" with the CSL requirements. The January 2003 sentencing judge noted in the JOC that intensive drug and alcohol treatment was indicated.

Defendant was released from prison on December 1, 2005. Subsequently, he received two custodial terms after committing CSL violations. Defendant was released from imprisonment for the CSL violations on June 15, 2008. As a result of his December 1, 2005 release, defendant was familiar with the CSL process followed by the New Jersey State Parole Board (Parole Board). Generally, a Parole Board I-5 reporting instructions form (S-2) and a CSL form (S-3) are signed by the person released from prison, and the signature is witnessed by a Parole Board representative. That process was followed here.

Both documents are prepared in the regular course of business and are regularly maintained by the Parole Board. S-3 notified defendant about general and special conditions of his CSL and that a violation constituted a crime of the fourth-degree. S-3 instructed defendant to report to his parole officer, refrain from alcohol use, reside at an approved residence and obtain permission before moving, and enroll in a mental health program.

An I-5 Parole Board reporting instructions form (S-4) was presented to defendant when he was released on June 15, 2008. S-4 verified his State Bureau Identification (SBI) number as 410669-B, and confirmed that he was released with $29.35 in his pocket. It instructed defendant to immediately report to the District Eight office and gave him three different ways to do that. Upon his release, defendant left a voicemail for his parole officer, Joseph Martin.

On June 16, 2008, a representative from Cape May County Social Services (Social Services) contacted the owner of the Economy Motel, Hemant Chhotalal, to confirm that defendant would be placed at the motel that night. Defendant arrived at the Economy Motel with a one night voucher and was assigned room 105. Subsequently, defendant returned to the motel with two additional vouchers covering his stay from June 17 through July 7, 2008.

On June 19, 2008, Martin conducted a home visit at the Economy Motel at 11:00 a.m. Defendant did not answer the door to room 105. The motel's assistant manager verified that defendant still resided in room 105. Martin placed a written notice under the door to room 105 instructing defendant to report on July 2, 2008. He left the notice at that location because that was "where [defendant] was approved to reside."

On July 2, 2008, defendant failed to report as instructed. That day, Martin did not file a CSL violation, but rather, mailed a new reporting notice to defendant instructing him to report on July 9, 2008, at 2:00 p.m. The mailed reporting notice was not returned to sender.

On Saturday, July 5, 2008, a guest at the Economy Motel complained to Chhotalal that two men were loud and disruptive. Chhotalal approached defendant and observed that he was talking loudly, his speech was slurred, he could not stand well because his legs were giving out, and he appeared drunk. Chhotalal asked defendant to go back to his room and told him he would have to leave the motel on Monday. ...


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