NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE
APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
This opinion shall not "constitute precedent or be binding upon any court."
Although it is posted on the internet, this opinion is binding only on the
parties in the case and its use in other cases is limited. R. 1:36-3.
SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY
DOCKET NO. A-3660-16T2
STATE OF NEW JERSEY,
Argued August 14, 2018 – Decided September 7, 2018
Before Judges Sumners and Gilson.
On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey,
Law Division, Monmouth County, Municipal
Appeal No. 17-004.
Thomas M. Cannavo argued the cause for
appellant (The Hernandez Law Firm, attorneys;
Thomas M. Cannavo, of counsel and on the
Monica do Outeiro, Assistant Prosecutor,
argued the cause for respondent (Christopher
J. Gramiccioni, Monmouth County Prosecutor,
attorney; Monica do Outeiro, of counsel and
on the brief).
Following a trial de novo in the Law Division, defendant
Dylan Ogden was convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI) per
se, N.J.S.A. 39:4-50, based upon the Alcotest results of 0.14
percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC). On appeal, defendant
argues that the State's failure to move into evidence the Alcotest
operator card and coordinator certification card for the state
trooper who calibrated the Alcotest device constituted a failure
to prove that the Alcotest was in proper working order. We affirm
because we conclude that the admission of documents, which
contained the trooper's certification regarding the calibration
of the Alcotest, satisfied the requirement of State v. Chun, 194 N.J. 54, 154 (2008), that "foundational documents" be admitted
into evidence to show the Alcotest was in proper working order.
We set forth the limited facts presented at the two-witness
municipal court trial that are necessary to resolve this appeal.
On June 18, 2016, defendant was stopped by a Manasquan police
officer for driving with a taillight that was not illuminated.
The officer testified that upon speaking to defendant, he believed
defendant had been drinking due to the odor of alcohol emanating
from the vehicle and his observation that defendant's eyes were
"bloodshot and watery." To confirm his suspicions, the officer
had defendant perform roadside sobriety tests, which were recorded
on a motor vehicle recording device (MVR). The officer determined
that defendant failed the test and arrested him for DWI. At the
police station, the officer administered the Alcotest, resulting
in a BAC of 0.14 percent. Defendant was charged with DWI, reckless
driving, N.J.S.A. 39:4-96, and failure to maintain lamps, N.J.S.A.
39:3-66. Defendant's expert, a retired state trooper, testified
that, based upon his observation of the MVR, defendant did not
operate his vehicle while intoxicated, and that the officer's
operation of the Alcotest was inconsistent with Chun.
Following the trial, the municipal court issued a reserved
oral decision finding defendant guilty per se of DWI based upon
the BAC results, guilty of failure to maintain lamps, but not
guilty of reckless driving. The court rejected defendant's
argument that the State's decision not to admit into evidence
State Trooper David W. Klimak's Alcotest operator card and the
coordinator card – which were provided in discovery – prevented
it from adducing the "foundational documents" required by Chun,
194 N.J. at 154, to sustain a per se DWI violation, and thereby
found the BAC results admissible. The court held that the
foundational documents required were satisfied by Klimak's
signatures below the certifications at the bottom of the Alcotest
7110 Calibration Record and the Alcotest 7110 Calibration
Certificate Part I Control Tests (collectively, the calibration
documents). Klimak's certifications on April 22, 2016 provided:1
Pursuant to law, and the "Chemical Breath
Testing Regulations" N.J.A.C. 13:51, I am a
duly appointed Breath Test
Coordinator/Instructor. In my official
capacity, and consistent with "Calibration
Check Procedure for Alcotest 7110," as
established by the Chief Forensic Scientist
of the Division of State Police, I perform
calibration checks on approved instruments
employing infrared analysis and
electrochemical analysis, when utilized in a
single approved instrument as a dual system
of chemical breath testing. Pursuant to, and
consistent with, the current "Calibration
Check Procedure for Alcotest 7110," as
established by the Chief Forensic Scientist,
I performed a Calibration Check on the
approved instrument identified on this
certificate. The results of my Calibration
Check are recorded on this certificate, which
consists of two parts on two pages: Part I -
Control Tests; and Part II - Linearity Tests.
I certify that the foregoing statements made
by me are true. I am aware that if any of the
foregoing statements made by me are willfully
false, I am subject to punishment.
The court further found that the officer, who operated the
Alcotest, did so in conformance with Chun's requirements. The
court, however, did not make a ruling whether the State proved
defendant was guilty based on the officer's observations.
The calibration documents depicted the seal of the New Jersey
State Police printed under or over the text of the certifications.
On trial de novo appeal to the Law Division, defendant renewed
his contention that the foundational documents to admit the
Alcotest results were not satisfied.2 In a thorough oral decision,
Judge Leslie-Ann M. Justus found that, based upon her own
independent assessment of the record, there was insufficient proof
that defendant was guilty of DWI based upon observation, but that
he was guilty per se of DWI due to his 0.14 percent BAC. The
judge stated she was bound by the evidentiary record from the
municipal court in accordance with State v. Thomas, 372 N.J. Super.
29, 31 (Law. Div. 2002), but recognized under State v. Kashi, 180 N.J. 45, 48 (2004), that she could make her own "assessment of the
sufficiency of the evidence contained within the record." The
judge found that the admitted calibration documents with the
trooper's certification established his "requisite ability,
qualifications and authority to operate and calibrate the
Alcotest" such that it was not necessary for the State to admit
into evidence his credentials – the Alcotest operator card and
coordinator certification card. Thus, Judge Justus ruled that
Chun's documentation requirements were satisfied. Moreover, the
judge determined that defendant's reliance upon State v.
The municipal court also denied defendant's pretrial motion to
suppress the Alcotest results, and defendant agreed to incorporate
the testimony from the suppression hearing into the trial.
Defendant did not challenge the denial of the suppression motion.
Kuropchak, 221 N.J. 368, 384-85 (2015), was misplaced because
there the Court found that the State's evidence of the wrong
certificate for the semi-annual calibration, instead of the recent
Calibrating Unit New Standards Solution Report, was contrary to
Chun; thereby making the Alcotest results inadmissible and the
finding that the defendant was guilty per se of DWI invalid. She
further found as not credible the testimony of defendant's expert
that the officer's operation of the Alcotest was inconsistent with
Before us, defendant again argues that the State did not have
the necessary foundational documents under Chun to admit the
Alcotest results into evidence to sustain his per se DWI
conviction.3 He contends that, without the testimony of the
trooper coordinator or a letter from the Attorney General as to
the qualifications of the coordinator, the Alcotest Coordinator
Instructor card or replica certificate must be entered into
evidence to presumptively satisfy Chun's credentials requirement.
In reviewing a trial court's decision on a municipal appeal,
we determine whether sufficient credible evidence in the record
supports the Law Division's decision. State v. Johnson, 42 N.J.
146, 162 (1964). Unlike the Law Division, which conducts a trial
Defendant takes no issue with Judge Justus' ruling that the
officer operated the Alcotest in accordance with Chun.
de novo on the record, Rule 3:23-8(a), we do not independently
assess the evidence. State v. Locurto, 157 N.J. 463, 471 (1999).
In addition, under the two-court rule, only "a very obvious and
exceptional showing of error" will support setting aside the Law
Division and municipal court's "concurrent findings of facts."
Id. at 474. However, we exercise plenary review of the trial
court's legal conclusions that flow from established facts. State
v. Handy, 206 N.J. 39, 45 (2011).
The results from Alcotests have been deemed scientifically
reliable. Chun, 194 N.J. at 66. Furthermore, Alcotest results
are admissible to prove a per se violation of DWI. Ibid. In
Chun, the Court held that a condition precedent to the
admissibility of Alcotest results is proof that (1) the Alcotest
was in working order and inspected prior to the procedure in
question, (2) the operator was certified, and (3) the operator
administered the test according to official procedure. Id. at
134. The first Chun factor requires the State to produce and
admit three foundational documents:
(1) the most recent Calibration Report prior
to a defendant's test, including control
tests, linearity tests, and the credentials
of the coordinator who performed the
(2) the most recent New Standard Solution
Report prior to a defendant's test; and
(3) the Certificate of Analysis of the 0.10
Simulator Solution used in a defendant's
[Id. at 154.]
The Court has also directed the State to disclose in discovery
twelve other foundational documents. Id. at 153.
There is no dispute that the State produced in discovery the
core foundational documents required under Chun, ibid., to show
that the Alcotest used for defendant's breathalyzer samples was
in working order and inspected prior to defendant's test. We
agree with Judge Justus' reasoning that the calibration documents
were sufficient proof that Klimak had the ability, qualifications,
and authority to operate and calibrate the Alcotest. Klimak's
certifications in the calibration documents provide the foundation
required for admission of the calibration documents as business
records pursuant to N.J.R.E. 803(c)(6). They establish that Klimak
tested the device and reported the results on April 22, 2016, in
the regular course of his duties as a duly authorized Alcotest
coordinator and based on what he did and observed. And, in Chun,
194 N.J. at 142, the Court plainly stated that all of the
"foundational documents" it recognized "qualify as business
records." Accordingly, we discern no error in Judge Justus'
decision finding defendant guilty per se of DWI.