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State v. Buck

SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY APPELLATE DIVISION


November 22, 2010

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
RUTH E. BUCK, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Hudson County, Municipal Complaint No. 173700.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted October 20, 2010

Before Judges Sapp-Peterson and Fasciale.

In this appeal, pro se defendant, Ruth E. Buck (Buck), appeals from the October 15, 2009 Law Division order dismissing, without prejudice, her appeal de novo from the judgment of conviction entered by the Jersey City Municipal Court. We affirm.

Buck owned residential property in Jersey City that she rented out. On February 23, 2009, the municipal court judge found Buck guilty of violating a municipal ordinance requiring her to provide heat to her tenants. The court imposed a $9,033 fine. On March 4, Buck filed a motion to vacate the judgment, alleging that the fine imposed was excessive, discriminatory, arbitrary and capricious. According to Buck, the motion was heard on March 30, but the municipal court judge refused to decide the motion and therefore neither granted nor denied the motion. Thereafter, Buck appealed to the Law Division but did not include transcripts of the municipal court proceedings to the Law Division as required by court rule. R. 2:5-2.

The Law Division judge heard oral argument on October 15, and dismissed the appeal without prejudice because plaintiff failed to provide the requisite transcripts. The present appeal followed.

On appeal, Buck raises the following points for our consideration:

POINT I

MRS. BUCK MADE A PROPER MOTION TO THE MUNICIPAL COURT FOR RECONSIDERATION AND THE JUDGE WAS BOUND BY LAW TO DECIDE IT AND ENTER JUDGMENT BUT SHE FAILED TO DO SO.

POINT II

MRS. BUCK'S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION WAS BROUGHT TO THE SUPERIOR COURT, THE PROPER FORUM, AT THE PROPER TIME. THE COURT AND OPPOSITION UNDERSTOOD THE ISSUE. DISMISSAL WAS GROSS ERROR.

POINT III

THERE WAS NO LEGITIMATE OPPOSITION BY THE OTHER SIDE TO MRS. BUCK'S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION. POINT IV

THE SUPERIOR COURT ERRED IN DISMISSING THE CASE UNDER THE GUISE OF REQUIRING THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS OF EXPENDITURE FOR IRRELEVANT AND IMMATERIAL TRANSCRIPTS.

POINT V

THE SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE CONFUSED THE ISSUES AND ERRONEOUSLY DISMISSED THE CASE. WHETHER THE DISMISSAL WAS SINCERE OR PURPOSEFUL IS LEFT TO THIS HIGHER COURT TO DECIDE.

POINT VI

THIS COURT HAS JURISDICTION OVER APPEALS TAKEN DIRECTLY TO IT.

We have considered the points in light of the record and applicable legal principles and conclude they are without sufficient merit to warrant discussion in a written opinion. R. 2:11-3(e)(2). We add the following brief comments.

Rule 3:23-3, which governs appeals from courts of limited jurisdiction, requires that appeals to the Law Division from municipal courts comply with Rule 2:5-3. Under Rule 2:5-3(a) and (c), an appellant "shall, no later than the time of the filing and service of the notice of appeal, serve a request for the preparation of an original and copy of the transcript" of the proceedings from which the appeal is taken unless, with the consent of all parties to the appeal, an agreement has been reached "in writing that only a stated portion [of the transcript] will be needed by the appellate court[.]" The original transcript is thereafter filed with the criminal division manager's office. R. 3:23-8. Recognizing that defendant failed to comply with the requirement to obtain and file transcripts of the proceedings with the Law Division, we are satisfied the court properly dismissed defendant's appeal.

Affirmed.

20101122

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