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State of New Jersey v. Arthur T. Chester

October 11, 2011

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
ARTHUR T. CHESTER, III, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Salem County, Municipal Appeal No. 06-10.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted September 14, 2011

Before Judges Graves and Koblitz.

Defendant Arthur T. Chester, III appeals his conviction for driving while intoxicated on December 22, 2008, N.J.S.A. 39:4-50. He filed a motion to suppress, alleging that the motor vehicle stop was unconstitutional. The municipal court judge denied the motion to suppress, finding that the 4:45 a.m. stop of defendant's car at a security checkpoint to a nuclear plant in Lower Alloways Creek was constitutional. Although defendant's brother testified that he, rather than defendant, drove the car, the municipal judge concluded that defendant was the driver. Defendant stipulated that he was under the influence of alcohol. Testing revealed a .14 blood alcohol content.

Defendant was again found guilty after a trial de novo in the Law Division, conducted by agreement on the papers without oral argument.

On appeal, defendant raises the following arguments:

POINT I

THE STATE DID NOT CARRY ITS BURDEN OF PROVING THAT THE MOTOR VEHICLE STOP AND SEIZURE WAS LAWFUL.

POINT II

THE STATE FAILED TO PROVE THAT DEFENDANT OPERATED THE MOTOR VEHICLE.

The Law Division judge did not make sufficient findings of fact or conclusions of law to allow us to review her decision. The judge put no reasons on the record and made no factual findings. She prepared an order stating in pertinent part the following:

1. The stop of the defendant was supported by reasonable suspicion based on the totality of the circumstances.

2. The State did prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant operated the motor vehicle while intoxicated; therefore ...


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