Legal Ethics

Judge Scolds N.J. Town Fighting 14 Tickets From Own Police Dept.

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A New Jersey judge yesterday scolded a lawyer for a town that is fighting 14 tickets issued by its own police department.

An attorney for Middletown, which is in the unaccustomed position of defending itself from its own tickets, was apparently confused about the municipality’s role in the case. But Judge Mary H. Casey told Richard Leahey Jr. that the answer is clear, reports the Asbury Park Press.

“If you can’t figure out whether you’re the prosecution or the defense, perhaps you’re not the person who should be here,” the judge told Leahey during a court hearing. “Clearly, you’re the defendant.”

To avoid a conflict of interest, the prosecution of the case has been turned over to the city of Holmdel. Because Middletown hasn’t yet provided Holmdel with copies of the 14 summonses, yesterday’s hearing wasn’t conclusive and will be rescheduled.

Cpl. Frank Holden issued 14 summonses to Middletown for expired inspection stickers on police vehicles in December, one day before he retired. He says he was concerned about safety risks posed to police officers.

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