STATE OF NEW JERSEY v. VICTOR MONDELLI
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE
APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY
DOCKET NO. A-6061-04T56061-04T5
STATE OF NEW JERSEY,
Argued May 10, 2006 - Decided June 7, 2006
Before Judges Fuentes and Graves.
On appeal from Superior Court of
New Jersey, Law Division, Union
County, Docket No. 5746.
Herbert Levenson argued the cause
Sara B. Liebman, Assistant Prosecutor,
argued the cause for respondent
(Theodore J. Romankow, Union County
Prosecutor, attorney; Steven J. Kaflowitz,
Assistant Prosecutor, of counsel and
on the brief).
Defendant was tried before the Municipal Court of the Township of Berkeley Heights and convicted of jaywalking in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-34. He was ordered to pay a twenty-one dollar fine and twenty-one dollars in court costs. He was convicted again in a trial de novo in the Law Division, R. 3:23-8, and ordered to pay the same fine and costs. He now appeals the judgment of the Law Division, arguing the trial court failed to make sufficient factual findings to support the conviction. We reject this argument and affirm.
N.J.S.A. 39:4-34 provides, in pertinent part, that "[w]here traffic is not controlled and directed either by a police officer or a traffic control signal, pedestrians shall cross the roadway within a crosswalk or, in the absence of a crosswalk, and where not otherwise prohibited, at right angles to the roadway." Here, the police officer who issued defendant the jaywalking summons testified that he observed defendant twice walk diagonally across Springfield Avenue and Daisy Avenue. Where defendant crossed Springfield Avenue, there are no crosswalks or signs indicating where a pedestrian should cross the road.
In reviewing the record developed before the municipal court, the Law Division judge made the following findings:
At the date and time that the officer testified before the Judge[,] the Judge found him to be credible. I don't see that that is a finding that is violated by my review of the particular transcript before me. So on a trial de novo, which is what this is, on a transcript before me, giving the Judge below the right that he had to determine credibility and finding that that credibility call is supported by the evidence before me, I find anew that [defendant], indeed, did violate the failure to cross safely, [N.J.S.A.] 39:4-34, in that he did not cross [i]n a perpendicular manner in a right angle manner. He choose [sic] to cross on a diagonal. That was his choice. We make choices and we are responsible for the results thereof. So he is guilty again before me.
In light of these findings, we discern no legal basis to set aside the conviction. State v. Locurto, 157 N.J. 463, 470-71 (1999).
June 7, 2006