Law Enforcement and Administrative Functions (Part 4)

by | Jan 24, 2021 | Blog, Criminal Law, Monmouth County, New Jersey, Ocean County

The New Jersey Supreme Court concluded with the following in relevant part: The decisions of the MCPO defendants who considered whether Seidle could be re-armed and then remain armed were prosecutorial functions exercised on behalf of the State. As such, those determinations, as well as the claims of improper training and supervision of Neptune law enforcement with respect to implementation of the Directive, were entitled to defense and indemnification by the State.

The second error permeating the decisions under review is the manner in which the Attorney General parsed each iteration of the complaint, scouring them paragraph by paragraph, at times within a paragraph, to eliminate bases for defense and indemnification. That crabbed approach toward the provision of defense and indemnification is not in keeping with the thrust of Wright.

The prosecutorial function should be covered, and the State is given control over the whole defense to ensure that it is not compromised by lack of coordination, or worse, inconsistency in position. The Attorney General’s inconsistency in its review of these sequentially filed complaints renders the decisions arbitrary and unreasonable. The Court agrees with the Appellate Division that on remand a trial court should assess the reimbursement due to petitioners. The judgment of the Appellate Division is reversed and this matter is remanded to the Law Division for proceedings consistent with this opinion.

This conclusion lends further support to the inference that the Attorney General’s approach was influenced by politics as opposed to logic. Ironically, the approach taken in an effort to pass the cost of the lawsuit away from the taxpayer and to the individual parties back-fired. The public financed the Attorney General’s contesting of this case. Because of the Attorney General’s unsound position, the public will now have to pay for the private parties’ attorneys’ fees. These fees are significant in any case that makes it all the way to the New Jersey Supreme Court.