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1 N.J.A.R. 435

Speights, Ronald v. New Brunswick, City of
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Citation: 1 N.J.A.R. 435
Decision Date: 1980
Agency: CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION
Synopsis: A police officer was suspended and later removed from his position by the City of New Brunswick based on disciplinary charges pursuant to N.J.A.C. 4:1-16.9(a). The charges included possession of a sawed-off shotgun in violation of N.J.S.A. 2A: 151-16 and impersonating a police officer while suspended from the force. In criminal proceedings against the officer arising out of the same incidents, a Federal Court of Appeals determined that the search of the officer' s locker which revealed the shotgun was in violation of the Fourth Amendment and ruled that any evidence gained from the search should be suppressed in a subsequent criminal trial. On a motion to exclude evidence resulting from the same search in the administrative proceeding, the administrative law judge ruled that while disciplinary proceedings can result in suspension or the loss of a job, this cannot be equated with criminal sanctions which justify the application of stricter standards to safeguard fundamental rights. Such a distinction was particularly clear in this case where separate criminal proceedings were held first and effect was given to the deterrent goal of the exclusionary rule. Thus, the evidence should be admitted. The administrative law judge noted that failure to translate criminal code charges into specific violations of administrative rules and regulations was poor practice in an administrative proceeding. However, this would not require dismissal of the case since the officer was informed of the charges in sufficient detail to be prepared to meet and defend against them. Finding that the City had met its burden of proof, the administrative law judge concluded that removal of the officer was justi fled. Robert W. Gluck, Esq., for Appellant (Gluck & Kelso, Attorneys) Joseph E. Sadofski, Assistant City Attorney for Respondent