Day: June 5, 2020

Breaking: Hamilton Firefighters Rescue Person From Multi-Vehicle Accident

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Around 6:45 pm. Hamilton Township Police and Firefighters were dispatched to Route 130 and North FedEx Drive for a multi-vehicle accident. One person was trapped in their vehicle and had to be extricated by the Hamilton Township Fire Department. At least two people were transported to the hospital for their injuries.

Hamilton Township Police are investigating.

Breaking news report, reporting what is known about the accident at the scene. Will update story with official information when it becomes available.

Also just before 9 pm. tonight Hamilton Township Firefighters responded to the Walmart on Marketplace Boulevard for a well involved car fire in front of the main entrance. Firefighters quickly knocked down the fire within a few minutes. No other information was available.

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Hamilton Township and Public Unions Reach Agreement on Furloughs

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Hamilton Township has reached an agreement with public unions to help address the extraordinary financial situation the Township faces as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Already facing a budget deficit left by the previous administration, the Township must address a significant budgetary hole caused by decreased revenues before it introduces its 2020 budget later this month. Public union leaders and Township administrators worked collaboratively in recent weeks to reach an agreement on a furlough proposal that will save the Township approximately $500,000 over the next two months. Union members voted overwhelmingly in favor of the proposal late last week.

Under the approved agreement, Township employees earning less than $65,000 per year will have a furlough of two days per week for the next nine weeks. Furloughed employees will continue to receive their same level of health insurance and pension credits.

Under the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program, employees may qualify for additional unemployment benefits. The local Hamilton community will potentially realize an infusion of approximately $800,000 in federal monies from the FPUC program. This provision, along with other portions of the agreement, should prevent the Township from initiating any layoffs.

“This is obviously not something that we wanted to do, but it is a necessary step to ensure that we are in a solid financial position heading into 2021,” says Mayor Jeff Martin. “The provisions of the agreement will allow our employees to collect payments without losing any income.”

“I sincerely thank our collective bargaining unions for their continued partnership and understanding of shared sacrifices during these uncertain times. I also want to thank the residents in advance for their understanding as this may result in a temporary disruption in services.”

Uniformed police officers, emergency dispatchers, and Water Pollution Control (sewer) employees are exempt from the furlough, which began on Monday, June 1st.

NJ State Trooper Charged With Unlawful Stopping And Following A Female Motorist In His Patrol Vehicle

June 5, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–A New Jersey state trooper was criminally charged today for allegedly stalking a female motorist in his patrol vehicle while on duty. Trooper Michael Patterson, 28, of Bayonne, N.J., was charged today by complaint-summons with the following criminal offenses: 

  • Crime of Deprivation of Civil Rights (3rd degree)
  • Stalking (4th degree)
  • Tampering with Public Records (4th degree)

 The New Jersey State Police Office of Professional Standards initially investigated this matter and referred it to the Corruption Bureau within the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability, which filed the criminal charges today and is prosecuting the case. The investigation revealed that on January 28, 2020, Trooper Patterson conducted a motor vehicle stop of a female motorist on the New Jersey Turnpike at approximately 9:30 p.m.  Patterson let the woman go with a warning, but he allegedly conducted a second, unwarranted stop of her vehicle a few minutes later when she exited the Turnpike at Exit 11. Patterson allegedly conducted the second motor vehicle stop in order to make unwanted advances on the woman.  Patterson allegedly disabled the Digital In-Vehicle Recorder (DIVR) in his vehicle to prevent his conduct from being recorded during this second stop.  It is further alleged that Patterson subsequently put the victim in fear by following her to her home in his patrol vehicle. Third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000, while fourth degree charges carry a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of $10,000.  

The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Trooper Stops Retired Police Officer Who Delivered Him 27 Years Ago

We’re not sure what the odds are of this happening—maybe they’re close to the odds of a hole-in-one, winning the lottery, or being struck by lightning—but it happened.

On Friday, June 1, Trooper Michael Patterson stopped Matthew Bailly for a minor motor vehicle violation in Kingwood Township. During the initial conversation, Mr. Bailly told Trooper Patterson that he was a retired Piscataway police officer. Trooper Patterson, being a Piscataway native, told Mr. Bailly that he is from the same town. Now here’s where things get interesting…

Mr. Bailly asked Trooper Patterson where he used to live. When Trooper Patterson told him that he grew up on Poe Place, Mr. Bailly said that he remembered that street, because he helped deliver a baby there 27 years ago when he was a rookie cop. He was even able to describe the color, style of house, and the baby’s name, Michael.

Trooper Patterson extended his hand and replied, “My name is Michael Patterson, sir. Thank you for delivering me.”

Whatever the odds were, it happened. Trooper Michael Patterson stopped the police officer who delivered him 27 years ago in Piscataway. Mr. Bailly had four years on the job when he responded to a home on Poe Place in Piscataway. The date was October 5, 1991. Trooper Patterson’s mother, Karen Patterson, was out shopping when she went into labor. She barely made it home. Bobby Patterson, Trooper Patterson’s father, rushed outside, picked up his wife, and carried her inside the house. He then called the doctor who talked Officer Bailly through the birth.
Needless to say, Trooper Patterson, Matthew Bailly, and both of their families were ecstatic about the reunion.

So, Trooper Patterson and his mother visited Mr. Bailly and his wife at their home where they took these photos! They all felt this story was so uplifting, it needed to be shared, and we agree! After all, as a police officer, you don’t always get a chance to have a moment like this with people you once helped in your career!

Second Fatal Train Accident In Less Than 24 Hours, This Time On the RiverLine

LAST NIGHT’S MIDJERSEY.NEWS STORY HERE: Breaking: Person Struck And Killed By Train In Trenton

June 5, 2020

Photos by: Brian McCarthy OnScene News

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–At approximately 2:10 p.m. a RiverLine light rail vehicle traveling northbound toward Trenton Transit Center struck and fatally injured a female pedestrian near Cass Street in Trenton. The age of the female is unknown at this time.

There were no injuries to the approximate 20 customers and crew on board the light rail vehicle. Riverline service is suspended between Bordentown and Trenton Transit Center in both directions due to this incident.

New Jersey Transit Police are leading the investigation, with Trenton police and EMS on the scene.

Dancer, Clifton blast Murphy’s $14 billion borrowing and statewide property tax scheme as “unconstitutional and unconscionable”

SEE MIDJERSEY.NEWS RELATED STORY HERE: $$$ Paying More – Proposed State Tax On Real Estate And Personal Property Is In The Works Included In Assembly # 4175

June 5, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Reacting to the party-line passage of an unprecedented statewide property tax and borrowing scheme that could add $14 billion to the state’s debt, Assemblymen Ron Dancer and Rob Clifton blasted Gov. Phil Murphy and Assembly Democrats for their out of touch devotion to raising taxes on the backs of ordinary residents.
“We opposed the bill because it is plainly unconstitutional under previous rulings by the New Jersey state Supreme Court,” said the pair of Jersey Shore legislators. “It is also unconscionable to borrow, spend and tax prior to even considering any realistic and achievable cost savings.”
The Assembly passed  A-4175 by a vote of 51- 28, which would authorize more than $14 billion in borrowing without voter approval and create a three decade long “statewide property tax Increase” to pay for that borrowing.
Dancer and Clifton along with their 26 Republican colleagues all opposed the bill while assembly Democrats fell into lockstep behind Murphy’s money grab.
“This unconstitutional act, as well as the financially irresponsible imposition of a statewide property tax, cannot be permitted to stand and I am proud to have stood for our taxpayers opposing it,” said Dancer (R- Ocean).
“Fish need to swim and birds need to fly, and Phil Murphy and Democrats need to raise taxes,” said Clifton (R-Monmouth). “Once again, Phil Murphy has shown himself to be a one-trick pony and that trick only harms New Jersey taxpayers.”
It is expected that the bill will draw a court challenge over its constitutionality citing a 2004 N.J. Supreme Court decision against a similar borrowing attempt by then Democrat Gov. Jim McGreevey.

MVC Announces Plans to Reopen in Stages

In-Person Transactions Will be Limited; Customers Encouraged to Use

June 5, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Governor Phil Murphy and Chief Administrator Sue Fulton of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) today announced plans for a phased reopening of MVC facilities to the public following closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The reopening will proceed in a way that safeguards public health and safety, bringing many changes and improved efficiencies to Commission operations.
“With the phased reopening of the Motor Vehicle Commission, we’re passing another important milestone on the Road Back,’’ said Governor Murphy. “The MVC is implementing smart, innovative plans to safely deliver motor vehicle services to New Jerseyans as we continue the fight against COVID-19.’’
“The old MVC crowded a lot of people into a lot of small spaces. We can’t operate like that in a COVID-19 world,” said Chief Administrator Sue Fulton. “Our reopening plan re-imagines MVC workflows, with streamlined processes to clear the backlog and ensure that you spend as little time as possible at MVC.”
“Our first priority is to ensure the health and safety of our employees and customers,” continued Fulton. “We will be reopening in phases, aligning with the principles of the Governor’s statewide reopening plan.”
MVC workspaces have been extensively overhauled during the COVID-19 closure to add Plexiglas barriers and other social distancing measures. MVC employees are returning to the agencies next week, for Health & Safety briefings, hardware and software reboots, and training on new protocols.
Going forward, everyone who enters the MVC agency will be required to wear a face covering. That includes customers as well as employees. If a customer cannot wear a face covering, MVC will make other arrangements for their transaction.
In order to limit crowds and speed services during the phased reopening, some agencies have been designated as Licensing Centers and some as Vehicle Centers. Lists of Licensing Centers and Vehicle Centers (attached), as well as information on transactions, will be posted soon at
Drop-off and pick-up transactions will be processed starting June 15, but only the following:

  • At designated Licensing Centers, MVC will be processing and validating permits from driving schools and high schools on a drop-off basis. 
  • At designated Vehicle Centers, MVC will be processing registration and title work from dealers. License plates can also be surrendered by drop-off at these agencies in a designated area.

MVC will also be processing registration/title transfers for private sales by a new combination online and mail-in procedure. Customers will be able to sign up for this option at More detail will be provided in the next few days. 
These activities will clear a three-month backlog from our March 15 closure.
Road tests and the issuing of new licenses and permits are tentatively expected to start on June 29 (subject to change), with some additional transactions like out-of-state transfers and private sales registrations, but still on a limited basis to prevent crowding. 
The Commission has tripled road-testing capacity, adding 11 courses and reassigning over 100 Safety Specialists to serve as road test examiners for 30 to 60 days. This takes MVC from an average of 5,800 road tests per week to about 16,300. MVC expects the backlog to be cleared by the end of the 60 days.
Those whose road tests were canceled during the shut-down will be contacted by MVC and provided a secure link to get the first appointments.
At designated Licensing Centers starting June 29 (tentative), MVC will be processing new licenses and permits, out-of-state transfers, and REAL ID for those whose appointments were canceled.
At designated Vehicle Centers starting June 29 (tentative), MVC will be adding individual registration and title transactions.
Transactions that can be done online will not be available in person at this time.
The Commission continues to urge customers to use to renew or replace licenses, renew or replace registrations, or change their address. Customers can also contact MVC by email for help with a suspension.
“We have more innovations coming to speed our service, while keeping our customers and employees safe,” concluded Fulton. “We look forward to sharing further plans as they are finalized.”   

Governor Murphy Announces Intention to Nominate Fabiana Pierre-Louis to Serve on the New Jersey Supreme Court

Upon confirmation by the state Senate, Pierre-Louis would be the first Black woman to serve on the state’s highest court.

June 5, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Governor Phil Murphy today announced his intention to nominate Fabiana Pierre-Louis to the New Jersey Supreme Court to fill the seat of Associate Justice Walter F. Timpone, who will reach the mandatory retirement age of 70 later this year. The appointment will first be sent to the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Judicial and Prosecutorial Appointments Committee. With the Committee’s approval, the Governor will proceed with a formal nomination. Upon confirmation by the state Senate, Pierre-Louis would be the first Black woman to serve on the state’s highest court.

“A core tenet of my Administration is a commitment to an independent, fair-minded judiciary that reflects the immense diversity of our great state,” said Governor Murphy. “As a first-generation American, Fabiana brings both a sharp legal acumen and the perspective of her own past that will greatly benefit the proceedings of our state’s highest court. In addition to her esteemed legal career, Fabiana’s humility, empathy, and character are all traits that make her well-suited to become the next Associate Justice and the first Black woman to serve on New Jersey’s Supreme Court.”

“Across this country, there are 33 states which do not have a woman of color on their highest court,” said Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver. “I cannot wait to see New Jersey leave that list with Fabiana’s confirmation to the Supreme Court.”

“I have spent my entire legal career in New Jersey, both private practice, and in government service as an Assistant United States Attorney at the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” said Fabiana Pierre-Louis. “It is extremely humbling to have the opportunity to continue the proud tradition of the New Jersey Supreme Court’s commitment to justice, equality, and fairness. I would like to thank Governor Murphy for this honor, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve the people of New Jersey.”

Pierre-Louis is currently is a partner at Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads, where she previously worked as an associate in her first three years out of law school.

Prior to her return to Montgomery McCracken in 2019, Pierre-Louis served for nine years in the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey as an Assistant U.S. Attorney and the Attorney-in-Charge of the Camden Office, the first woman of color to hold that position in the history of the District. 

Prior to serving as the Attorney-in-Charge of the Camden Office, Pierre-Louis also served as the Attorney-in-Charge of the Trenton Office from November 2016 to December 2018 and was the first woman of color to hold that position as well. While serving in this capacity, Pierre-Louis participated in the creation of Trenton Reentry Court, a program that provides support services to newly released federal offenders. 

In addition to working in both Trenton and Camden, Pierre-Louis previously worked in the Newark Office in the General Crimes Unit and the Organized Crime and Gang Unit.

Currently a resident of Mount Laurel, Pierre-Louis was raised in Irvington for most of her childhood. She received a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University-New Brunswick and graduated from Rutgers Law School-Camden with High Honors. Immediately following law school, Pierre-Louis served as a law clerk for the Honorable John E. Wallace, Jr. of the Supreme Court of New Jersey, who occupied the seat for which she will be nominated.

Pierre-Louis is a board member of the Rutgers Law School-Camden Alumni Association and a trustee with the Association of the Federal Bar of New Jersey. She is a prior board member of the Haitian American Lawyers Association of New Jersey, and a member of the Garden State Bar Association, and the Association of Black Women Lawyers of New Jersey. 

Fabiana Pierre-Louis

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Press Pool Photo by: Rich Hundley, III.

Governor Murphy’s full remarks on the nomination:

Good morning.

Before I begin, I wish to quickly acknowledge that today is Gun Violence Awareness Day, and, in solidarity with all victims of gun violence, and the surviving families of those we have lost, we are all wearing our orange. And, to them, we commit that New Jersey will continue to be a leader in the national fight to end senseless gun violence.

Today, it is my distinct honor to announce my intention to nominate Fabiana Pierre-Louis to serve as an Associate Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court.

I will pause to recognize the family members who are here with us – starting with Fabiana’s husband, Robert Reeves, and sons Robbie and Marc; her parents, Joseph and Claire Pierre-Louis; her sister Véronique and her significant other, Randy; her brother Irving Saget and sister-in-law Enide, and their daughter, Fabiana’s niece, Alyssa.

Tomorrow, I will submit Fabiana’s name to the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Judicial and Prosecutorial Appointments Committee, and I look forward to their review, and upon their approval, to Fabiana’s formal nomination.

Upon confirmation by the state Senate, Fabiana would be the first Black woman to serve on our state’s highest court, and only its third Black jurist – and, the first in a decade.

I intend for Fabiana to assume the seat of Associate Justice Walter Timpone, who will reach the mandatory retirement age of 70 this November.

But, Fabiana would also assume the seat of former Justice John Wallace – our state’s second African American justice – for whom she clerked, who became one of her mentors as she embarked on her legal career, and who remains a mentor to this day.

Before I get to Fabiana’s qualifications, I want to make it clear where my values, and that of this administration, stand with regard to our justice system and, in particular, the Supreme Court. 

First, our Supreme Court must be independent. 

One of the hallmarks of our state’s judicial system – and one of the reasons why, for the past 73 years, it has been held up as a national model for excellence – has been the recognition by the overwhelming number of past governors of the importance of the Supreme Court’s independence.

This independence has allowed our Court to issue numerous landmark decisions – decisions that have protected and guaranteed the rights of our most-vulnerable residents. These decisions have been studied and emulated across the country. 

And, precisely because of its independence, even in times when we may quibble with the Court’s conclusions, we can have no argument with the way in which those decisions are made.

Ten years ago, when Justice Wallace – a justice widely recognized for his fair-minded decision making – was denied tenure, that independence was threatened.

This administration is committed to returning the Court to its rightful place – independent of politics, where decisions are made based on what is right rather than what is popular or what is needed to secure re-nomination and tenure from any particular governor. 

That is why I was proud to restore the tradition of removing politics from this process when I re-nominated Associate Justice Anne Patterson for tenure in 2018 – a tradition I hope will once again endure through future Republican and Democratic administrations.

Second, our courts must reflect our state, in all its great diversity. 

It wasn’t until 1994 – 218 years since our state’s founding and 47 years after our current Constitution took effect – that Associate Justice James Coleman took his seat as the Court’s first Black jurist. It took only 16 years, when Justice Wallace was removed, before the African American experience and perspective was again absent.

Justice cannot be blind if those who sit on our highest and most powerful bench are not surrounded by colleagues who encompass the full range of the American experience, whether it be racially or generationally, or both.

And, so, today, we are making a powerful statement of where and how these values guide us.

Fabiana brings with her a sharp legal mind and a perspective which will be greatly beneficial to the proceedings of our Supreme Court.

Her parents, Joseph and Claire, came to this country from Haiti for the same reason generations of immigrants have looked to our shores – to make a better life for themselves, and for their children to be able to live the American Dream.

Raised largely in Irvington, Fabiana received her bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University-New Brunswick, then proceeded to graduate from Rutgers Law School-Camden with high honors.

Fabiana currently is a partner in the Cherry Hill office of Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads, where she worked as an associate in her first three years out of law school, until 2010, and where she returned to last year.

However, during the nine years in-between stints, Fabiana served with distinction in the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey. Over those nine years, she would work in each of the District’s three offices, in Newark, Trenton, and Camden. 

With practically every step, she broke new ground.

In 2016, she was appointed Attorney-in-Charge of the Trenton Office, the first woman of color to ever hold that position.

In 2018, she was appointed Attorney-in-Charge of the Camden Office, again the first woman of color to hold that position.

In addition to overseeing the work of the attorneys in Trenton and Camden, Fabiana investigated and prosecuted her own cases, including those dealing with public corruption, defense contracting fraud and national security, narcotics offenses, child sexual exploitation, and allegations of racial bias by law enforcement. And, in Trenton, she played a central role in the creation of the Trenton Reentry Court, which provides additional assistance to recently released federal offenders to further aid their reentry into society.

Among her many affiliations, Fabiana is a board member of the Rutgers Law School-Camden Alumni Association and a trustee with the Association of the Federal Bar of New Jersey. She is a prior board member of the Haitian American Lawyers Association of New Jersey, and a member of the Garden State Bar Association, and the Association of Black Women Lawyers of New Jersey, among others.

I have selected Fabiana after an exhaustive process. She has earned unanimous support and respect from her peers, from her colleagues, from our judicial advisory panel, and importantly, from the trailblazers who made today possible. 

She has been described glowingly as both a “superstar” and “a unique blend of intellect and humility.” To a person, everyone with whom I or my team talked to about Fabiana spoke about her humanity, her empathy, and her character. They spoke about the kind of person she is – the kind of person who always seeks to serve others and always carries with her the pride and perspective of her own past.

There is simply no better set of traits that I could hope for in a nominee – especially one who has the potential to serve our residents for a generation, ensuring that the perspectives of those who our laws and courts too often ignore are given a voice on the most prominent court in our state.

I have not chosen Fabiana because of the current national discussion around race and systemic bias that is unfolding before our very eyes, and in our very streets. In fact, anyone who knows how these processes work knows that they begin many months, if not years, before an announcement is made.

However, given the challenges which are being brought to the forefront of our society, and the questions which will undoubtedly rise to reach our Supreme Court – core issues of socioeconomic equality and equity – there is no better meeting of an individual and the times. 

And, with that, before I bring up Fabiana, I would like to invite Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver to say a few words.