LAKEWOOD, NJ (OCEAN)–Around noon the Lakewood Fire Department responded to a garbage truck fire at Ocean Avenue and Congress Street. It was reported that an electric scooter caught fire in the garbage truck and the truck had to dump the load so firefighters could extinguish the fire. The garbage truck also hit wires when the contents that were on fire had to be unloaded quickly.
TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today announced that the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability has established standard operating procedures (“SOPs”) to ensure that grand jury presentations of investigations involving fatal police encounters are conducted in a neutral, objective manner, and with appropriate transparency regarding the process.
In December 2019, Attorney General Grewal issued Directive 2019-4, also known as the “Independent Prosecutor Directive,” which established a mandatory 10-step process for conducting independent criminal investigations in cases involving fatal police encounters. By state law, such investigations must be handled by the Attorney General’s Office. The Independent Prosecutor Directive established clear procedures to ensure thorough, impartial, and transparent investigations in such cases.
As set forth in the SOPs, there are three types of cases where, under both state law and the Independent Prosecutor Directive, the investigation must be presented to a grand jury, once complete, to make the ultimate decision about whether criminal charges will be filed: (1) use of force by a law enforcement officer resulting in death; (2) death of a civilian during an encounter with a law enforcement officer; and (3) death of a civilian in law enforcement custody where the death can be plausibly linked to the actions of an officer, whether through intentional use of force or reckless indifference to human life.
The Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (“OPIA”) handles such investigations and grand jury presentations on behalf of the Attorney General’s Office. The SOPs established today by OPIA are designed to ensure that such grand jury presentations will be conducted in accordance with the principles established by the Independent Prosecutor Directive.
“Investigations of fatal police encounters are among the most complex and sensitive matters that our office handles, and it is absolutely critical that we present these cases to the grand jury in a thorough, fair, and transparent manner,” said Attorney General Grewal. “Now that the courts have authorized in-person grand juries, we are prepared to begin presenting these cases. The policies and procedures we put in place today reflect our commitment to conduct these proceedings in accordance with the highest standards and principles of justice.”
“In the months ahead, we will be presenting many cases involving fatal police encounters to the state grand jury, as we deal with the volume of pending cases that resulted from the COVID pandemic and the lengthy moratorium on in-person grand juries,” said OPIA Executive Director Thomas Eicher. “Despite the challenges we are facing, we are taking every step necessary to ensure that these grand jury presentations are handled with the utmost thoroughness, impartiality, and professionalism.”
The SOPs provide that before presenting a fatal police encounter to a grand jury, prosecutors should instruct the grand jurors on all criminal statutes potentially implicated by such incidents. These instructions must include a description of the legal elements of the following:
Aggravated Assault (bodily injury with deadly weapon, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)(2))
Official Misconduct (N.J.S.A. 2C:30-2)
In addition, the SOPs state that the grand jury should receive instructions on the following justification defenses:
Use of Force in Self-Protection (N.J.S.A. 2C:3-4)
Use of Force for the Protection of Other Persons (N.J.S.A. 2C:3-5)
Use of Force in Law Enforcement (N.J.S.A. 2C:3-7)
The SOPs set forth key principles that must be applied before the grand jury. The first principle is “neutrality”—evidence must be presented in a neutral, objective manner that gives no indication as to the assigned prosecutor’s personal views about whether the subject-officer’s conduct was justified or whether an indictment is warranted. The SOPs further state that, to the extent possible, for the most relevant evidence, the grand jury should be presented with “direct evidence,” including body-worn camera footage and videotaped statements, rather than witness testimony summarizing such evidence.
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–The COVID-19 pandemic has left blood bank inventories dangerously low. Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton is asking its employees and community members to donate blood or platelets to help replenish the blood supply in New Jersey.
All donors will receive a lunch voucher, a tee shirt and be entered into a raffle to win a$100 gift card. Platelet donors also receive a $10 Shop Rite gift card. All donors are required to wear a mask. You are NOT currently eligible to donate blood if you have been exposed to or cared for someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days. Social distancing guidelines and additional disinfecting procedures are in effect. Bring a photo ID and be sure to eat and drink prior to donating.
Medical eligibility questions should be referred to RWJUH Donor Services at 732-235-8100 ext. 248. Appointments are ENCOURAGED and available at rwjuhdonorclub.org or by calling 732-235-8100 ext. 221.
WHAT: Blood & Platelet Drive
WHO: Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton
WHEN: Tuesday, August 24, 2021 from 11:30 am – 5:30 pm
WHERE: Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton Roma Bank Café, 1 Hamilton Health Place, Hamilton, NJ 08690
Attorneys Bhaveen R. Jani and Max L. Schatzow elevated to shareholders
July 13, 2021
LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–Stark & Stark announced that Bhaveen R. Jani and Max L. Schatzow have been elected as shareholders of the firm.
“Stark & Stark is very proud of our new 2021 shareholders,” said Managing Shareholder Michael Donahue of Stark & Stark. “Bhaveen and Max are leaders in their practice areas and communities, and I have no doubt that their expertise and dedication will serve our clients well for years to come.”
Bhaveen Jani, Esq., a resident of Flemington, is a trial attorney in the Accident & Personal Injury Group at Stark & Stark. He focuses his practice in the areas of motor vehicle and tractor-trailer crashes which result in catastrophic injuries, construction accidents, and premises liability matters. Mr. Jani, who joined the firm in 2018, appears frequently in federal, state, and appellate courts in New Jersey.
Max Schatzow, Esq., who joined Stark & Stark in 2013 and resides in Robbinsville, is a member of the firm’s Investment Management & Securities Group. Mr. Schatzow concentrates his practice on counseling financial service entities including investment advisers, broker-dealers, and private investment companies (e.g., hedge funds, private equity funds, real estate funds, and “fund of funds”) on registration, compliance, liability, and litigation issues.
WILMINGTON, NC — Army goes undefeated to win their second consecutive title at the 2021 Armed Forces Women’s Rugby Championship held in conjunction with the Cape Fear 7’s Rugby Tournament in Wilmington, N.C. from June 25-27, 2021. U.S. Army Sgt. MaryCatherine Innace of Eatontown, New Jersey is part of the team.
Army 2nd lt. Samantha Sullivan of Fort Carson, Colo. led the championship with 24 total points, scoring two trys and a conversion against Air Force, and Army’s only try against Marine Corps to solidify the gold.
In the opening night, Army defeated Air Force 17-5 despite a torrential downpour right at kickoff.
“It felt a little like déjà vu on Friday night”, said Army coach Capt. Kaitlyn Kelly of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. referencing their 19-5 win over Air Force in the rain in 2019.
“Air Force always brings top caliber athletes. We came together as a squad and played our system and game.”
On opening night, Marine Corps dominated Coast Guard and Navy winning 25-0 and 38-0 respectively. In the opening minutes against Army, a key injury slowed down the Marines, with Army taking advantage to win 5-0.
Army defeated Coast Guard and Navy to seal the deal and take the gold.
Despite their opening loss to Army, Air Force women beat Navy 26-0 and followed up with a hard fought win over Marine Corps 14-5 and Coast Guard (26-7) to capture the silver medal.
Marine Corps finished the tournament 2-2 for third place. Coast Guard went 1-3 for fourth, followed by Navy placing fifth (0-4).
At the end of the Championship, seven of the best players were selected to the All-Armed Forces Tournament Team. They are:
Capt Gianna Khoudary, Creech AFB, NV – USAF LCpl Ubaida Ahmed, MCAS Cherry Point, NC – USMC Maj Stephanie Iacobucci, MCB Camp Pendleton, CA – USMC PO2 Michal Williams, NIOC Texas – Navy 2LT Samantha Sullivan, Fort Carson, CO – Army CPT Lauran Glover, Army Reserves – Army CPT Danielle Deshaies – Fort Stewart, GA – Army
Armed Forces Women’s Rugby is the newest Armed Forces Championship beginning in 2019 and is the only sport to feature a women’s team from the Coast Guard. Coast Guard typically combines with the Navy, with the exception of rugby.
HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–The Mercer County Park Commission has released its draft Master Plan for the Moores Station Quarry, located in Hopewell Township adjacent to Baldpate Mountain. The plan can be found on the Park Commission’s website here.
Over the past year, the Mercer County Park Commission and a team of consultants performed environmental research on the Moores Station Quarry and hosted a series of public meetings to gather ideas for potential improvements to convert the industrial quarry site into a new park. Those interested in providing further feedback regarding the draft plan are invited to submit their comments over the next 60 days. The feedback form will close on Wednesday, Sept. 15. At the conclusion of the public comment period, the Master Plan will be revised and finalized for adoption by the Park Commission.
The 166-acre site is located adjacent to the County-managed Ted Stiles Preserve at Baldpate Mountain. The quarry pit measures approximately 2,000 feet by 1,500 feet with numerous cliff walls, and some as high as 100 feet. Also within the quarry property are two small ponds, a large rock-crushing and processing plant, and associated outbuildings.
The industrial history and associated topographic features offer a unique opportunity to provide new recreational experiences to County residents while also offering opportunities to restore and improve the natural ecology of the property. The Draft Master Plan proposes a variety of new recreational facilities, as well as detailed rehabilitation recommendations that aim to establish native plant communities and to protect natural habitat in many parts of the site.
The Park Commission has retained a multi-disciplinary team to help develop the master plan, led by Simone Collins Landscape Architecture of Norristown, Pa. The team includes landscape architects, geologists, engineers, ecologists, wildlife biologists, architects, sustainability experts and real estate market analysts.