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3 N.J.A.R. 371

Spence, Sandrus v. Public Employees' Retirement System, Board of Trustees of the
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Citation: 3 N.J.A.R. 371
Decision Date: 1981
Agency: PUBLIC EMPLOYEES' RETIREMENT SYSTEM
Synopsis: Petitioner appealed from a determination of the Board of Trustees of the Public Employees' Retirement System denying his application for retirement benefits on the basis that the petitioner did not meet the prerequisite of honorable service because he had been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude. The petitioner was convicted in 1978 for possession of papers pertaining to the business of lottery. The administrative law judge noted that honorable service is a prerequisite for the receipt of public employment retirement benefits and that dishonorable service could result from a conviction of a crime totally unrelated to public employment if the crime involved moral turpitude. Finding no New Jersey decisional authority dealing with the concept of whether the crime of possession of lottery slips constitutes a crime involving moral turpitude, the judge cited U.S.v. Carrollo, 30F. Supp. 3 (D.W.D. Mo. 1939) in support of the proposi- tion that although involvement with a lottery operation was illegal, it ß did not involve moral turpitude. Lottery involvement was not viewed as an act of baseness, vileness or depravity--qualities which would be necessary for the act to be one of moral turpitude. The judge concluded that it was inconceivable that the Legislature intended that such a conviction should result in the extreme sanction of forfeiture of pension rights. Accordingly, the administrative law judge ordered that the petitioner was eligible for pension benefits. John E. Myron, Esqß for Petitioner (Union County Legal Service, Attorney) Robert K. Walsh, Deputy Attorney General for Respondent (James R. Zazzali, Attorney General of New Jersey, Attorney)