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Bibaud v. Hoffman

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

September 27, 2018

DANIEL J. BIBAUD, Petitioner,
JOHN J. HOFFMAN et al., Respondents.




         Petitioner, Daniel J. Bibaud (“Bibaud” or “Petitioner”), is proceeding by counsel in this habeas proceeding under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Respondents, John J. Hoffman, Raymond P. Martinez, and Jennifer Velez (collectively, “Respondents”), filed an answer to the Petition. (Ans., ECF No. 10.) Bibaud has filed no timely reply. Having considered the parties' submissions, and for the following reasons, the petition is denied.


         1. Underlying Facts and Proceedings

         The Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, summarized the underlying facts as follows:

On January 17, 2012, defendant was stopped by police while operating a motor vehicle in Manchester Township. As a result of the stop and a subsequent field investigation, defendant was arrested and transported to police headquarters where he submitted to an Alcotest breath examination. The Alcotest recorded defendant's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at 0.10 percent.
Defendant was charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI), reckless driving, failure to maintain lane, and speeding, in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50, N.J.S.A. 39:4-96, N.J.S.A. 39:4-88(b), and N.J.S.A. 39:4-98, respectively. Defendant pled guilty to N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 [Driving While Intoxicated]. The remaining charges were dismissed.

(Ans., Ex. I, Op. (Feb. 3, 2015), State v. Bibaud, No. A-0753-13T3 ( N.J.Super. Ct. App. Div.), ECF No. 10-9, at 1-2 (available at State v. Bibaud, 2014 WL 7735817).

         Although Bibaud pleaded guilty to Driving While Intoxicated (“DWI”) before the Manchester Township Municipal Court, his plea was “conditioned on his right to appeal the issue of the denial of the jury trial . . ., the issue concerning whether the digital data was complete, ” and various other issues. (See Response to Order to Show Cause, Ex., Tr. of Hr'g (Jan. 23, 2013), State v. Bibaud, Docket Nos. MTC 083884, MTC 083885, MTC 083886, & MTC 083887 (Manchester Twp. Mun. Ct.), ECF No. 3-4, at 8-9.) Bibaud's admission to the offense was also made “with the proviso it's based on the per se reading [of the Alcotest], not on that he was under the influence.” (See ECF No. 3-4 at 10-12.) The Municipal Court imposed the minimum sentence for a third or subsequent offense, comprising a $1006 fine, various fees totaling $358, a ten-year license suspension, 12 hours of Intoxicated Driving Resource Center (IDRC) education, use of an interlock device, and 180 days in jail, 90 of which could be served in in-patient alcohol rehabilitation treatment. (Id. at 12-13.) The Municipal Court granted a request to stay the sentence, except for the license suspension, pending appeal. (Id. at 13-15.)

         Bibaud then appealed the Municipal Court's decisions on pretrial motions and his conviction to the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Ocean County, raising the issues he had reserved. (See Ans., Ex. B, Br. & App'x, ECF No. 10-2; Ans., Ex. D, Letter Br., ECF No. 10-4.) That court denied the appeal upon de novo review, but granted an additional stay of Bibaud's jail sentence. (Ans., Ex. E, Order Denying Mun. App. (Aug. 27, 2013), State v. Bibaud, Mun. App. No. 07-13 ( N.J.Super. Ct., Law Div., Ocean Cty.), ECF No. 10-5.)

         Bibaud then appealed this decision to the Appellate Division, raising three issues: (1) that Bibaud's Alcotest results should have been excluded as the State failed to show that he was continuously observed for the preceding 20 minutes; (2) that Bibaud was denied his right to explore the reliability of the Alcotest because the State did not provide him comprehensive Alcotest data and repair records; and (3) that Bibaud was entitled to a jury trial due to the severity of penalties for a third or subsequent DWI. (See Ans., Ex. F, Br. & App'x, ECF No. 10-6.) On February 3, 2015, the Appellate Division affirmed the Law Division's order and vacated the stay of the sentence. (See ECF No. 10-9.) The Supreme Court of New Jersey subsequently denied certification.[1] (Ans., Ex. J., Denial of Certif. (May 22, 2015), State v. Bibaud, No. C-936 Sept. Term 2014, 075555 (N.J. Sup. Ct.), ECF No. 10-10 (available at State v. Bibaud, 221 N.J. 566)).

         2. The Habeas Petition

         Bibaud, by counsel, filed a habeas petition with this Court on July 28, 2015, which raises two grounds for relief:

- GROUND ONE - that “the penalties faced by plaintiff-petitioner demonstrate a legislative intent to treat a third of [sic] subsequent offense of operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol as a serious offense mandating the protections of a jury trial”; and -
GROUND TWO - that “by failing to provide downloadable data for all functions run on the Alcotest instrument used to test plaintiff-petitioner's breath, the State breached its duty to protect plaintiff-petitioner's right to assure the reliability of his breath test result and violated plaintiff-petitioner's rights to due process and a fair trial.”

(Pet., ECF No. 1, ¶ 12 (capitalization rectified).)

         As the Petition did not explicitly address the question, the Court ordered Bibaud to show cause why the Petition should not be dismissed for failure to satisfy the custody requirement of 28 U.S.C. § 2254. (Order to Show Cause, ECF No. 2.) In response, Bibaud filed a declaration recounting his 180-day jail sentence and indicating that he had not yet completed the required 12 hours of IDRC programs.[2] (ECF No. 3 ¶¶ 6-7.) The Court thereafter, without finding that Bibaud had conclusively established that he satisfied the in-custody requirement, permitted the action to proceed and directed Respondents to answer the Petition. (Mem. & Order, ECF No. 5.) Respondents filed an Answer on June 14, 2018. (ECF No. 10.) Bibaud has not filed any reply to the Answer.

         III. STAN ...

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