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State v. Dobison

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

August 27, 2013

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
PAUL DOBISON, Defendant-Appellant.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued August 21, 2013

On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Atlantic County, Municipal Appeal No. 0071-11.

Jerry H. Steiner argued the cause for appellant (Cooper Levenson April Niedelman & Wagenheim, P.A., attorneys; Fredric L. Shenkman, on the briefs).

Courtney M. Cittadini, Special Deputy Attorney General/Acting Assistant Prosecutor, argued the cause for respondent (James P. McClain, Acting Atlantic County Prosecutor, attorney; Ms. Cittadini, on the brief).

Before Judges Waugh and Haas.

PER CURIAM.

Defendant Paul Dobison appeals the Law Division's April 18, 2012 denial of his motion to suppress evidence in connection with a motor vehicle stop. We affirm.

I.

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

On March 25, 2011, Atlantic County Sheriff's Officer Jay Sheets ran a random computer search on the license plate of a vehicle on Route 50 in Weymouth Township. The vehicle was a Chevrolet pickup truck owned and operated by Dobison. There was nothing unusual about the truck or the driver that prompted Sheets to run the license plate.

The computer screen in Sheets' vehicle indicated a "hit" and then "suspended." Without looking further by scrolling down on the screen, Sheets activated his emergency lights and eventually stopped Dobison. Sheets subsequently issued Dobison summonses for driving while intoxicated (DWI), N.J.S.A. 39:4-50, and reckless driving, N.J.S.A. 39:4-96.

Had Sheets scrolled down the screen, he would have seen that it was only Dobison's commercial driver's license that had been suspended. At the time, Dobison was not driving a vehicle with commercial plates, and so was not in violation of that suspension.

Dobison moved to suppress the evidence resulting from the stop, arguing that Sheets had no basis to stop him at the time and that he should have completed looking at the search result before initiating the stop. The municipal judge denied the motion following a trial on ...


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