We now apply these general principles to the specific circumstances of this case. The record presented to us unfortunately is quite limited. The factual portions relevant to OPA immunity in our record are set forth in only a few paragraphs of grand jury testimony by a New Jersey Transit police officer, Leonard Romano, Jr. It is undisputed that Officer Romano was dispatched to the Long Branch train station on the evening of November 4, 2016.
The “quite limited” recorded was likely by the prosecution’s design. The Monmouth County trial prosecutors work together with the appellate prosecutors in dealing with issues that are likely to be raised on appeal. Here, a “limited record” inures to the State’s benefit because it will likely lead to a remand with guidance from our appellate courts regarding what needs to be done to prevail during any subsequent appeal.
Here is how the officer described the circumstances to the grand jurors, in questioning by an assistant prosecutor:
Q Did you have occasion to go to the Long Branch Police – I’m sorry, the Long Branch Train Station?
Q Okay. And that was for a report of an intoxicated subject in the waiting area.
Q Did you go to that location?
A Yes I did.
Q Did you see somebody that you would later identify as [W.S.B.]?
Q All right. And can you please describe for the members of the Grand Jury, his demeanor. How was he acting when you came across him?
A He was in the waiting room, it looked like he fell off the bench and he was on the floor. He looked like he was, at first, drunk, but then once I was able – he wasn’t really responsive. Then once he opened his eyes and knew what was going on, I could tell, I could see the pinpoint eyes. Which is common with narcotics use, specifically heroin.
I notified EMS right away because I was going to sit there and talk to him, but he didn’t really know what was going on. He didn’t even know he was in Long Branch.
Q Okay. But although it was initially intoxicated, somebody thought potentially alcohol. From your training [and] experience it looked more like drugs.
Q Okay. But you called EMS and [W.S.B.] was taken to the local hospital, is that correct?