On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Monmouth County, Municipal Appeal No. 09-074.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Before Judges Carchman and Waugh.
Defendant John Raisley appeals the Law Division's order denying his application to dismiss, or indefinitely postpone the trial on, a summons issued to him for driving while intoxicated (DWI), N.J.S.A. 39:4-50. We affirm.
I. We discern the following factual and procedural history from the record on appeal.
Raisley was issued the DWI and other summonses on November 3, 2006. The municipal court trial was adjourned several times for various reasons, including the pendency of the special master's report in State v. Chun, 194 N.J. 54, cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 129 S. Ct. 158, 172 L. Ed. 2d 41 (2008).
In April 2009, Raisley filed a motion for dismissal of the charges, arguing that his physical and psychological condition rendered him incompetent to stand trial. The municipal judge held a hearing on November 23, 2009, at which Raisley's treating cardiologist, Scott Eisenberg, D.O., testified.*fn1
Prior to the hearing, Raisley had submitted a letter from a psychiatrist who opined that (1) he was "competent to stand trial as he is able to give advice to his counsel, understand the proceedings against him, understand the functions of the judge and the prosecutor, and understand the consequences of being found guilty or innocent," (2) that he suffers from panic attacks, and (3) that a trial would result in increased panic attacks and anxiety. The psychiatrist expressed "concern" that the panic attacks and anxiety related to a trial or subsequent incarceration "would lead to a 'fatal myocardial infarction.'" The psychiatrist did not, however, testify at the hearing.
Eisenberg testified, in part, as follows:
[EISENBERG]: Historically he presented with multiple episodes of chest pain at rest. And we initially did non-invasive work up, including nuclear stress tests as well as CAT Scans, which did not significantly yield a major amount of coronary artery disease or blockage.
We treated him medically with anti-anginal medications. His medical history is such that it places him at moderate to severe risk for heart disease, with high blood pressure, high blood sugar, a family history of early coronary disease, a history of heavy smoking, and cholesterol issues.
Finally, because of multiple episodes of chest pain and presentations to various hospitals with chest pain, we elected to do a cardiac catheterization. And that was performed on, I'm sorry, that was performed on March 4th of 2009.
That showed that his heart function was normal. I saw calcification or beginning of plaque in both of his major coronary arteries, as well as a moderate blockage in one of his major coronary arteries, indicative that this would be a source of angina as well as a source of a potential heart attack for this patient.
We treated him accordingly, and so noted at that time that, it's been well documented that his risk is at least moderate to severe for a myocardial infarction or a heart attack at any time. And it was asked of me whether or not stress could worsen that situation, and my answer was absolutely. It's been well documented in medical literature as such.
[EISENBERG]: He is at an increased risk for a cardiac event with the knowledge that there's documentation that he has already existing coronary disease, and he has existing moderate, or placing him at a more ...