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In re Expungement Application of P.H.

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

July 17, 2014

IN THE MATTER OF THE EXPUNGEMENT APPLICATION OF P.H. PURSUANT TO N.J.S.A. 2C:52-1 to -32

Argued June 4, 2014

Approved for Publication July 17, 2014

On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Monmouth County, Municipal Appeal No. 12-5375.

Mary R. Juliano, Special Deputy Attorney General/Acting Assistant Prosecutor, argued the cause for appellant State of New Jersey ( Christopher J. Gramiccioni, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor, attorney; Ms. Juliano, of counsel and on the brief).

Edward C. Bertucio argued the cause for respondent P.H. ( Hobbie, Corrigan & Bertucio, P.C., attorneys; Mr. Bertucio, of counsel; Justin Lee Klein, on the brief).

Before Judges LIHOTZ, MAVEN and HOFFMAN.

Page 915

[436 N.J.Super. 430] OPINION

LIHOTZ, J.A.D.

In this appeal we consider the impact of the expungement statute upon charged indictable and disorderly persons offenses ultimately resolved through imposition of a civil penalty, which is ineligible for expungement. The State appeals from an October 31, 2013 order granting P.H.'s petition for expungement of all records relating to a criminal complaint charging P.H. with animal cruelty in the death of a dog. The order required expungement of the original complaint, records of P.H.'s arrest and detention, and the indictment and decision to downgrade the charges, which were ultimately dismissed. The order did not expunge the final disposition resulting from P.H.'s admission to a civil violation. The State argues:

POINT I
THE PETITION FOR EXPUNGEMENT SHOULD HAVE BEEN DENIED BECAUSE PETITIONER'S ANIMAL CRUELTY PROCEEDINGS RESULTED IN AN UNEXPUNGEABLE CIVIL DISPOSITION.
POINT II
ALTERNATIVELY, EXPUNGEMENT WAS BARRED PURSUANT TO N.J.S.A. 2C:52-14(c).

We affirm.

The facts essentially are not disputed. In 2012, P.H.'s dog died of asphyxiation after being hanged from a door by its leash. P.H. was arrested and charged with fourth-degree animal cruelty, N.J.S.A. 4:22-17(b)(2) (amended 2013), and

Page 916

the disorderly persons offense of animal cruelty, N.J.S.A. 4:22-17(b)(1) (amended 2013).[1] [436 N.J.Super. 431] Bail was set at $1,500, no ten ...


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