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State v. Green

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

June 11, 2013

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
JAMES GREEN, Defendant-Appellant.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted May 7, 2013

On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Gloucester County, Municipal Appeal Docket No. A-11-12.

John C. Iannelli, attorney for appellant.

Sean F. Dalton, Gloucester County Prosecutor, attorney for respondent (Joseph H. Enos, Jr., Assistant Prosecutor, on the brief).

Before Judges Alvarez and Waugh.

PER CURIAM

Defendant James Green appeals his conviction, following a guilty plea, for driving while intoxicated (DWI), contrary to N.J.S.A. 39:4-50. His appeal focuses on the Law Division's denial of his motion to suppress evidence based upon what he alleges was an illegal motor vehicle stop. We affirm.

I.

We discern the following facts and procedural history from the record on appeal.

At approximately 12:45 a.m. on December 19, 2010, Green's vehicle was stopped by Sergeant Douglas Herner of the Mantua Township Police Department. Herner had observed Green enter an intersection on Mantua Boulevard after the traffic signal turned yellow. According to Herner, he saw Green's vehicle "accelerate . . . to get through the intersection and the light turned red prior to [the vehicle] getting completely through the intersection." After driving through the intersection, Green turned into a gas station.

Herner activated his vehicle's flashing lights and followed Green into the gas station. As Herner approached Green's car, he said, "cutting it kind of close there with the light." Herner subsequently arrested Green and charged him with DWI.

Green filed a motion to suppress the evidence resulting from the stop. The municipal court judge took testimony on June 23, 2011. The State called Herner to testify. Green did not present any witnesses.

Herner testified that he stopped Green for "[c]areless operation of the vehicle, " based on "acceleration through the traffic signal trying to beat the red light, " as well as "driving over the curb" when he entered the gas station. On cross-examination, however, Herner conceded he had turned on his vehicle's flashing lights before Green's vehicle drove over the curb.

The State also offered the video from the recording device in Herner's police vehicle, viewed multiple times at the evidentiary hearing. Green's attorney argued that the video demonstrated that the light was not red when Green left ...


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