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Open Government Advocacy Project:
Hearing today in North Plainfield lawsuit

Issue Detail:

At 9 a.m. this morning, April 29, 2011, Somerset County Superior Court Judge Margaret Goodzeit will hear cross-motions for summary judgment on a Plainfield's man lawsuit against the Borough, the police department, Police Officer Joseph Mazza and Municipal Court Administrator Jodi Hansen-Rodriguez. In his suit, Stephen Lancaster, of Franklin Place, claims that Mazza, when issuing him some traffic tickets in April 2009, failed to include Lancaster's apartment number on the tickets even though that number allegedly "appears on [Lancaster's] motor vehicle registration and insurance identification card." Lancaster claims that the incomplete address caused him to not receive court notices, resulting in him not appearing in court and a bench warrant being issued for his arrest and his driver license being suspended. He claims that after being stopped in Bernards Township in August 2009, and being informed of the warrant, he visited the Court and Hansen-Rodriguez gave him "a letter requesting the Motor Vehicle Commission to reinstate [his driving privileges]." But, he alleges that Hansen-Rodriguez "failed to rescind the bench warrant." Since the warrant was still active, Lancaster claims that he was stopped a week later by Irvington Police "due to a random computer search of his license plate" which revealed North Plainfield's outstanding bench warrant. He claims that he was arrested and held in the Essex County Correctional Center for three days until the $250 cash bail was posted. His suit demands compensatory and punitive damages since he was "greatly humiliated and disgraced" by his arrest and incarceration. Lancaster is represented in the suit by Joel I. Rachmiel, Esq. of Springfield. A copy of the lawsuit, Lancaster v. North Plainfield, Docket No. SOM-L-1164-10, is on-line here. This message is posted courtesy of the New Jersey Libertarian Party's Open Government Advocacy Project. John Paff, Project Chairman




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