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State of New Jersey v. Caryn Bradley

April 7, 2011

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
CARYN BRADLEY, DEFENDANT. ERNEST BOZZI, APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Burlington County, Municipal Appeal No. 101-08.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Alvarez, J.A.D.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

APPROVED FOR PUBLICATION

Submitted January 3, 2011

Before Judges Reisner, Sabatino and Alvarez.

The opinion of the court was delivered by ALVAREZ, J.A.D.

Ernest Bozzi unsuccessfully attempted to file disorderly persons simple assault charges against Caryn Bradley in the Eastampton Municipal Court. See N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1a. Because Bozzi was not a "prosecuting attorney" as required by the rules, Judge Bookbinder dismissed his Law Division appeal from the municipal court administrator's decision not to issue the complaint. We agree that Bozzi lacks standing and therefore affirm.

The following facts are taken from the certification Bozzi submitted in support of his appeal. On July 19, 2008, Bozzi attended a party during which a fight erupted. When he intervened, he was struck by one guest, Dave Wallace, and punched repeatedly in the back of the head by Bradley, who was also a guest. Two weeks later, he tried to file citizen complaints against both in the Eastampton Municipal Court. For reasons not contained in the record, the municipal court administrator accepted the complaint against Wallace, but found no probable cause as to Bradley despite Bozzi's repeated attempts to convince her otherwise. Nothing in the record explains why Bozzi did not seek the intervention of the municipal or county prosecutor in pursuing the complaint. See R. 2:23-9.

In any event, Bozzi appealed the municipal court administrator's decision de novo to the Law Division. See R. 7:13. The next day, a municipal court judge from an adjoining municipality wrote "no PC found" at the bottom of the affidavit of probable cause Bozzi had submitted in support of his request that a complaint issue against Bradley.*fn1 As we have previously stated, Judge Bookbinder found Bozzi lacked standing to appeal because he was not a prosecuting attorney as defined by the applicable court rules. Judge Bookbinder also observed that Bozzi could have requested either the municipal or county prosecutor to review his complaint and determine whether their intervention was warranted.

Bozzi raises the following points in his brief:

I. Any Determination That Bozzi's Complaint Lacks Probable Cause Was an Abuse of Discretion Because His Complaint Plainly Pleads Simple Assault

II. The Municipal Court Administrator Lacked Authority to Substitute For the Municipal Judge For Purposes of Determining Probable Cause

III. The After-the-Fact/Post-Appeal Probable Cause Determination by the "Conflict" Municipal Court Judge Was Invalid

IV. The Superior Court Committed Legal Error By Concluding That Bozzi Does Not Have a Right to ...


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