Kenneth Vercammen & Associates, P.C.
2053 Woodbridge Avenue - Edison, NJ 08817
(732) 572-0500
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Friday, November 27, 2009

state v Williams

DOCKET NO. A-4530-07T4
Argued October 6, 2009 - Decided
Before Judges Skillman, Gilroy and
On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey,
Law Division, Union County, Indictment
No. 06-11-1044.
Alyssa Aiello, Assistant Deputy Public
Defender, argued the cause for appellant
(Yvonne Smith Segars, Public Defender,
attorney; Ms. Aiello, of counsel and on the
Steven A. Yomtov, Deputy Attorney General,
argued the cause for respondent (Anne
Milgram, Attorney General, attorney; Mr.
Yomtov, of counsel and on the brief).
November 23, 2009
November 23, 2009
2 A-4530-07T4
The opinion of the court was delivered by
The primary issue presented by this appeal is whether
flight from an unconstitutional investigatory stop that could
justify an arrest for obstruction automatically justifies the
admission of any evidence revealed during the course of that
flight. We conclude that such evidence is admissible only if
there is a significant attenuation between the unconstitutional
stop and the seizure of evidence and that commission of the
offense of obstruction is insufficient by itself to establish
significant attenuation.
On August 25, 2006, Officer Delaprida of the Elizabeth
Police Department was dispatched together with thirteen to
fifteen other officers to the courtyard of a large housing
complex located in a high-crime area. Delaprida and the other
officers were sent to the housing complex to deter, through a
"police presence," a possible retaliatory shooting for a
homicide committed several days earlier.
Officer Delaprida had no information concerning the basis
for the report of a possible retaliatory shooting. Delaprida
also had no description or other information concerning the
person or persons who might be planning the shooting.
3 A-4530-07T4
When Officer Delaprida arrived at the housing complex with
his partner around 8:30 p.m., they observed a large number of
people in the courtyard, including children and older people,
"just hanging out." One of the persons the officers observed
was defendant, who was riding a bicycle diagonally in front of
When defendant recognized the officers, who were dressed in
plain clothes, as police, he quickly started pedaling away and
also put his right hand in his pants pocket. The officers
ordered defendant to stop, but he kept pedaling "at a steady
pace," and the officers started to run after him. Defendant
then saw other officers entering the courtyard from the
direction he was headed and slowed down. At this point, Officer
Delaprida and his partner caught up with defendant, and grabbed
him while still on his bicycle. As the officers grabbed him,
defendant pulled his hand out of his pocket and threw a box to
the ground. The box was later determined to contain a
substantial amount of cocaine. Officer Delaprida estimated that
only four or five seconds elapsed between when he ordered
defendant to stop and when he grabbed him on his bicycle.
Defendant was indicted for possession of cocaine, in
violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)(1); possession of cocaine with
the intent to distribute, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5(a)(1)
4 A-4530-07T4
and N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5(b)(2); and possession of cocaine within 500
feet of a public housing facility with the intent to distribute,
in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7.1. Defendant subsequently
moved to suppress the evidence against him.
Based on the previously described testimony by Officer
Delaprida, the trial court concluded in a written opinion that
the report of a possible retaliatory shooting and the
observations by Officer Delaprida and his partner of defendant
pedaling his bicycle away from them and putting his hand in a
pocket did not provide the reasonable suspicion defendant was
engaged in criminal activity required for a Terry stop.1
Nevertheless, the court denied defendant's motion to suppress on
the ground that defendant's failure to immediately stop his
bicycle in response to Officer Delaprida's original command
established probable cause to arrest him for obstruction, in
violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:29-1(a), even though that command was
unconstitutional, and that defendant's apparent violation of the
obstruction statute provided sufficient grounds to justify the
stop that resulted in him discarding the cocaine hidden in his
1 Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 88 S. Ct. 1868, 20 L. Ed. 2d 889
5 A-4530-07T4
Defendant subsequently entered into a plea bargain under
which he pled guilty to the charge of possession of cocaine, and
the State dismissed the possession with intent to distribute
charges. The trial court sentenced defendant to a four-year
term of imprisonment, with two years of parole ineligibility.
Defendant appeals from the denial of his motion to
suppress. See R. 3:5-7(d) (preserving right to appeal denial of
motion to suppress notwithstanding guilty plea).
We first consider the validity under the Fourth Amendment
to the United States Constitution and Article I, paragraph 7 of
the New Jersey Constitution of the stop of defendant while he
was riding his bicycle in the housing complex courtyard.
A police encounter with a person constitutes an
investigatory stop subject to the protections of these
constitutional provisions if the facts objectively indicate that
"the police conduct would have communicated to a reasonable
person that the person was not free to decline the officers'
requests or otherwise terminate the encounter." State v.
Tucker, 136 N.J. 158, 166 (1994) (quoting Florida v. Bostick,
501 U.S. 429, 439, 111 S. Ct. 2382, 2389, 115 L. Ed. 2d 389, 402
(1991)). It is undisputed that defendant was subject to such a
6 A-4530-07T4
stop probably when Officer Delaprida ordered him to stop and
certainly when Officer Delaprida and his partner grabbed him on
his bicycle. See State v. Crawley, 187 N.J. 440, 450, cert.
denied, 549 U.S. 1078, 127 S. Ct. 740, 166 L. Ed. 2d 563 (2006);
Tucker, supra, 136 N.J. at 165-66; State in Interest of C.B.,
315 N.J. Super. 567, 572-73 (App. Div. 1998).
"[A]n investigatory stop is valid 'if it is based on
specific and articulable facts which, taken together with
rational inferences from those facts, give rise to a reasonable
suspicion of criminal activity.'" State v. Williams, 192 N.J.
1, 9 (2007) (quoting State v. Pineiro, 181 N.J. 13, 20 (2004)).
A suspicion of criminal activity will be found to be reasonable
only if it is based on "some objective manifestation that the
person [detained] is, or is about to be engaged in criminal
activity." Pineiro, supra, 181 N.J. at 22 (quoting United
States v. Cortez, 449 U.S. 411, 417-18, 101 S. Ct. 690, 695, 66
L. Ed. 2d 621, 629 (1981)). In making this determination, a
court must consider "[t]he totality of the circumstances."
It is firmly established in this State that "flight alone
does not create reasonable suspicion for a stop[.]" State v.
Dangerfield, 171 N.J. 446, 457 (2002); see Pineiro, supra, 181
N.J. at 26; Tucker, supra, 136 N.J. at 168-70. However, flight
7 A-4530-07T4
"in combination with other circumstances . . . may support [the]
reasonable and articulable suspicion" required to justify a
stop. Pineiro, supra, 181 N.J. at 26; see State v. Citarella,
154 N.J. 272, 280-81 (1998); State v. Ruiz, 286 N.J. Super. 155,
163 (App. Div. 1995).
Applying these principles, the trial court correctly
concluded that Officer Delaprida and his partner did not have a
reasonable suspicion that defendant was engaged or about to
engage in criminal activity. These police officers had been
dispatched to the housing complex based on a report of a
possible retaliatory shooting in the area. The State did not
present any evidence regarding the source of the information
upon which the report was based. Consequently, the record does
not indicate whether the information came from a police officer,
a confidential informant, or merely a rumor in the neighborhood.
The report also did not include any specific information
regarding where in the housing complex or when the shooting
might occur, or who the possible perpetrator or perpetrators
might be. In addition, the officers admittedly did not have any
prior contact with defendant and thus had no reason to believe
he might be involved in the possible retaliatory shooting or
other criminal activity.
8 A-4530-07T4
In these circumstances, the police had no reason to focus
upon defendant as a possible perpetrator of the reported
possible retaliatory shooting. Defendant did not, for example,
match a description of a suspect, because the report did not
include such a description, and there is nothing intrinsically
suspicious about a person riding a bicycle in a housing complex
courtyard at 8:30 p.m. Thus, defendant's conduct when the
police first arrived at the scene was no more suspicious than
that of the numerous other persons congregated in the courtyard.
Moreover, defendant's conduct after he saw the officers
enter the courtyard did not provide an objectively reasonable
basis for suspecting that he had engaged in or was about to
engage in criminal activity. Defendant simply started quickly
pedaling away from the officers and put his hand in his pocket.
We question whether this conduct should even be considered
flight because the officers did not initially indicate to
defendant that he should stop. Defendant could have believed
that he should simply get out of the officers' way. In any
event, even if defendant's conduct in pedaling away from the
officers could be viewed as flight once they ordered him to
stop, as previously stated, "flight alone does not create [the]
reasonable suspicion [required] for a stop[.]" Dangerfield,
supra, 171 N.J. at 457.
9 A-4530-07T4
The fact that defendant also put his hand in his pocket did
not provide any additional foundation for an objectively
reasonable suspicion that defendant had engaged or was about to
engage in criminal activity. Putting a hand in a pocket is
fairly common human conduct that does not generally involve the
commission of a crime. Although Officer Delaprida testified
that he had a "concern maybe [defendant] was trying to hide a
weapon of some sort" in his pocket, he did not articulate any
basis for this alleged concern, and since defendant was pedaling
his bicycle in the opposite direction from the officers, the
officers could not have had any reasonable concern for their own
This case is similar to State v. L.F., 316 N.J. Super. 174
(App. Div. 1998), in which the State argued that defendant's act
of walking away when the police approached and also putting his
hand in his pocket created the reasonable suspicion of criminal
activity required for a Terry stop. In rejecting this argument,
we observed that "the mere act of putting something from one's
hand into one's own pocket while departing alone signifies
nothing additional by way of reasonable suspicion." Id. at 179.
This observation is equally applicable to the present case.
The State argues that the dispatch of police officers to
the housing complex to deter the commission of a retaliatory
10 A-4530-07T4
shooting constituted an exercise of the police department's
community caretaking responsibilities and that the prerequisites
for an investigatory stop should be applied less strictly in
that circumstance. "The 'community caretaker doctrine' . . .
applies when the 'police are engaged in functions, [which are]
totally divorced from the detection, investigation, or
acquisition of evidence relating to the violation of a
[criminal] statute.'" State v. Diloreto, 180 N.J. 264, 275
(2004) (quoting State v. Cassidy, 179 N.J. 150, 161 n.4 (2004)).
Examples of police community caretaking activities include
"search[ing] for missing persons, . . . mediat[ing] disputes,
and . . . aid[ing] the ill or injured[.]" Id. at 281 (quoting
Debra Livingston, Police, Police Community Caretaking, and the
Fourth Amendment, 1998 U. Chi. Legal F. 261, 302 (1998)); see
also State v. Bogan, 200 N.J. 61, 73-81 (2009).
We do not believe that the dispatch of police officers to
an area to deter the commission of a crime constitutes an
exercise of the police's community caretaking responsibilities.
Indeed, the deterrence of criminal conduct is a significant
component of much police work, including routine foot and car
patrols. Thus, such police activity is not "totally divorced"
from the detection, investigation and acquisition of evidence
relating to criminal conduct. Diloreto, supra, 180 N.J. at 275.
11 A-4530-07T4
Therefore, the expansion of the community caretaking doctrine to
apply in circumstances where the police are undertaking to deter
crime would significantly dilute the protections against
unreasonable searches and seizures provided by the United States
and New Jersey Constitutions.
For all these reasons, the trial court correctly concluded
that Officer Delaprida and his partner did not have the
reasonable suspicion of criminal activity required to stop
We now consider the trial court's ruling that even though
the initial stop of defendant was unconstitutional, defendant's
failure to comply with Officer Delaprida's command to stop
constituted obstruction, which provided the probable cause
required to justify defendant's arrest and justified admission
of the evidence of the cocaine defendant discarded when the
police apprehended him. This requires a review of the Supreme
Court's recent decisions in Crawley, supra, 187 N.J. 440, and
Williams, supra, 192 N.J. 1. In Crawley, the Court held that a
person who flees from an investigatory stop may be convicted of
obstruction under N.J.S.A. 2C:29-1 even though the stop is later
found to have been unconstitutional if the police officer making
12 A-4530-07T4
the stop was "acting in objective good faith, under color of law
in the execution of his duties." 187 N.J. at 460-61. In
Williams, the Court held that evidence the police obtained in
apprehending a person who has obstructed an unconstitutional
investigatory stop may be admissible if the evidence is
"sufficiently attenuated from the taint" of the unconstitutional
stop. 192 N.J. at 15.
Defendant argues that his failure to immediately stop his
bicycle in response to Officer Delaprida's command could not be
found to constitute obstruction within the intent of N.J.S.A.
2C:29-1(a) as interpreted in Crawley. We have no need to
address this argument because we conclude that even if
defendant's failure to obey Officer Delaprida's command to stop
would have provided an adequate basis to arrest him for
obstruction, the evidence obtained when Officer Delaprida and
his partner grabbed defendant was not "sufficiently attenuated"
from the taint of the unconstitutional stop to justify its
admission into evidence.
The Court in Williams held that the determination of
whether the police "have obtained the evidence by means that are
sufficiently independent to dissipate the taint of their illegal
conduct" requires consideration of three factors: "(1) the
temporal proximity between the illegal conduct and the
13 A-4530-07T4
challenged evidence; (2) the presence of intervening
circumstances; and (3) the flagrancy and purpose of the police
misconduct." 192 N.J. at 15 (quoting State v. Johnson, 118 N.J.
639, 653 (1990)).
In Williams, the defendant responded to a police command
that he place his hands on his head to enable the officers to
pat him down by pushing one of the officers and fleeing from the
scene. Id. at 5. When the police caught the defendant, he was
found with a handgun in his possession. Ibid. The Court
concluded that the most significant factor in determining the
admissibility of the handgun was "the presence of intervening
circumstances," id. at 16, specifically defendant's pushing of
one of the officers involved in the stop and fleeing from the
scene, thus requiring the officers to engage in a police
pursuit. Id. at 18. Based primarily on this factor, the Court
concluded that the seizure of a handgun from the defendant
following his obstruction of an unconstitutional investigatory
stop was sufficiently attenuated from the stop to support
admission of the evidence. Id. at 15-18.
The State argues that any flight or other conduct by a
person subject to an unconstitutional stop that would provide a
basis to arrest for obstruction also automatically requires
denial of a motion to suppress any evidence obtained as a result
14 A-4530-07T4
of that person's apprehension, unless there is a showing of bad
faith on the part of the police. However, as pointed out in the
leading treatise in the field of search and seizure law, the
question whether a person may be prosecuted for a new crime
committed in response to an unconstitutional stop or other
police misconduct is a different question than "whether an
arrest for the new crime should be deemed so substantially
'purified' by that new crime as to provide a lawful basis for
admitting evidence of some other offense . . . found in a search
incident to that arrest." 6 Wayne R. LaFave, Search & Seizure:
A Treatise on the Fourth Amendment § 11.4(j), at 66 (4th ed.
Supp. 2009).
Consistent with this view, our Supreme Court in Williams
did not say that any conduct that could be found to constitute
obstruction automatically constitutes "an intervening act . . .
that completely purge[s] the taint from the unconstitutional
investigatory stop." 192 N.J. at 18. Instead, the Court
indicated that the determination "whether evidence is
sufficiently attenuated from the taint of a constitutional
violation" must be made on a case-by-case basis in light of the
three-factor test set forth in Johnson, supra, 118 N.J. 639, and
reaffirmed in Williams, 192 N.J. at 15.
15 A-4530-07T4
In concluding that the recovery of the handgun at the end
of the police pursuit in Williams was sufficiently attenuated
from the taint of the unconstitutional stop to justify the
admission of that evidence, the Court pointed to State v.
Seymour, 289 N.J. Super. 80 (App. Div. 1996) and State v.
Casimono, 250 N.J. Super. 173 (App. Div. 1991), certif. denied,
127 N.J. 558, cert. denied, 504 U.S. 924, 112 S. Ct. 1978, 118
L. Ed. 2d 577 (1992), as other examples of cases in which the
taint of unlawful police conduct had sufficiently dissipated as
a result of intervening criminal acts to justify admission of
evidence recovered after the defendant's apprehension. Id. at
16. Therefore, it is illuminating to consider the factual
circumstances that this court found to establish a sufficient
attenuation between an unconstitutional stop and subsequent
seizure of evidence to justify admission of that evidence in
those cases.
In Seymour, the defendant disobeyed a police signal to stop
his car, which resulted in a mile and a quarter police pursuit
during which defendant increased his speed from forty to fifty
miles per hour and swerved onto the shoulder of the road several
times. 289 N.J. Super. at 83-85. In the course of this police
pursuit, the defendant discarded cocaine out the window of his
car. Id. at 83. Although the court assumed that the initial
16 A-4530-07T4
police signal to defendant to stop his car was unlawful, id. at
84, it nevertheless concluded that defendant's failure to comply
with that command constituted eluding, in violation of N.J.S.A.
2C:29-2(b), id. at 85, and affirmed the denial of the
defendant's motion to suppress evidence of the cocaine discarded
during the course of the police pursuit. Id. at 86-89. In
reaching this conclusion, the court observed: "Fleeing from the
police in a motor vehicle with the police in vehicular pursuit
could endanger defendant, the officer, other motorist, or
pedestrians." Id. at 87.
In Casimono, the police directed a car to pull over to the
shoulder of the road because the driver had made several lane
changes without signaling. 250 N.J. Super. at 177. As the car
pulled over, the police observed the defendant, who was a
passenger, make a "furtive" movement. Ibid. Based on this
observation, the police subjected both the driver and the
defendant to pat down searches. Id. at 178. The driver
resisted the search, first refusing to take his hand out of his
pocket and then throwing something over the guardrail located
along the shoulder of the roadway, which was subsequently
determined to be a dollar bill containing cocaine residue.
Ibid. At this point, defendant returned to the car where he
retrieved a paper bag, which was subsequently determined to
17 A-4530-07T4
contain a substantial amount of cocaine, and also threw it over
the guardrail. Ibid. The defendant and the driver then had to
be physically subdued. Ibid.
We concluded that even though the stop of the car in which
defendant had been riding was lawful, the pat down searches of
the driver and the defendant had been unlawful. Id. at 178-82.
Applying the three-factor test adopted in Johnson and later
reaffirmed in Williams, we held that evidence of the cocaine in
the dollar bill should have been suppressed because the driver
"threw [the] dollar bill containing cocaine residue over the
guardrail during and in direct response to the illegal pat down
search[.]" Id. at 186. On the other hand, we held that the
trial court had properly denied the motion to suppress the
cocaine contained in the paper bag because the unlawful pat down
search of defendant had been completed before he voluntarily
returned to the car, in violation of the police officer's
directions, and retrieved the paper bag that he threw over the
guardrail. Ibid. We noted that the only unlawful police
conduct was the pat down searches of the defendant and the
driver, that the bag of cocaine was not located on their persons
but rather in the car, and that defendant had gained access to
the bag only by disobeying a lawful police order to remain
outside the car. Id. at 186-87. Under these circumstances, we
18 A-4530-07T4
concluded that "there was a significant break in the chain of
causation between the illegal searches and the discovery of the
cocaine." Id. at 187.
Under the three-factor test for determining significant
attenuation between unlawful police conduct and seizure of
evidence reaffirmed in Williams, we perceive no basis for
concluding that the unconstitutional stop of defendant
constituted "flagran[t] . . . police misconduct." Williams,
supra, 192 N.J. at 15 (quoting Johnson, supra, 118 N.J. at 653).
However, the other Williams factors militate against the
conclusion that there was a significant attenuation between the
stop and the seizure of the cocaine discarded by defendant.
Only four or five seconds elapsed between when Officer Delaprida
directed defendant to stop his bicycle and defendant discarded
the cocaine. Consequently, there was a very close "temporal
proximity between the illegal conduct and the [recovery of] the
challenged evidence[.]" Ibid. (quoting Johnson, supra, 118 N.J.
at 653).
Most importantly, there were no significant "intervening
circumstances" between the unlawful police command to defendant
to stop his bicycle and defendant's discard of the box that
resulted in the seizure of cocaine. Ibid. Defendant did not
push a police officer, as in Williams, flee in a car resulting
19 A-4530-07T4
in a mile and a quarter police pursuit, as in Seymour, or seek
to avoid apprehension by returning to a lawfully stopped car
after the police had removed him from the car, as in Casimono.
In those cases the defendant's intervening criminal acts not
only constituted a break in the chain of causation between the
unlawful police conduct and seizure of evidence but also posed a
risk of physical injury to police officers and, at least in
Seymour, members of the public. In contrast, defendant did not
force the officers to engage in a lengthy and dangerous pursuit
to apprehend him or engage in any act of physical aggression
against Officer Delaprida and his partner. In fact, the
officers physically accosted defendant by grabbing him on his
bicycle. Therefore, there is no basis for concluding that the
police seized the cocaine discarded by defendant "by means that
[were] sufficiently independent to dissipate the taint of their
[prior] illegal conduct." Williams, supra, 192 N.J. at 15
(quoting Johnson, supra, 118 N.J. at 653).
"The purpose of the exclusionary rule is to deter police
misconduct and to preserve the integrity of the courts."
Johnson, supra, 118 N.J. at 651. The attenuation exception
applied in Williams, Seymour and Casimono was established in
recognition of the fact that the seizure of evidence following
police misconduct is in some circumstances so "far removed from
20 A-4530-07T4
the constitutional breach" that suppression "is a cost [that is]
not justified" by the purposes of the exclusionary rule. State
v. Badessa, 185 N.J. 303, 311 (2005). However, it is equally
true that an overly expansive application of the attenuation
exception can undermine the salutary objectives of the
exclusionary rule. In New Jersey, the three-factor test
reaffirmed in Williams delineates the circumstances in which the
attenuation exception may be properly applied. Under those
factors, the State failed to establish a "significant
attenuation" between the unconstitutional stop of defendant and
the seizure of the drugs he discarded following that stop.
Accordingly, the order denying defendant's motion to
suppress is reversed and the judgment of conviction is vacated.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009



A conviction for refusal to submit to a breath examination cannot be merged with a DWI conviction. Such a plea agreement
violated applicable merger principles as well as the Court's Guidelines for Operation of Plea Agreements in the Municipal Courts of New Jersey.

Assistant Editor: Umair Hussain



We consider deviations from the model jury instructions on further deliberations approved in State v. Czachor, 82 N.J. 392, 400 (1980) and adopted in Model Jury Charge (Criminal), Final Charge: Further Jury Deliberations at 24 (2004) and conclude that a judge may not outline the evidence in delivering that supplemental charge. We also address the State's privilege to withhold the identity of a citizen who provides information about the concealment of evidence of a crime and conclude that the State is not required to establish an ongoing arrangement with the informer in order to invoke the privilege provided in N.J.R.E. 516.

Assistant Editor: Umair Hussain

Saturday, November 14, 2009

KENNETH VERCAMMEN – resume and community involvement

KENNETH VERCAMMEN – resume and community involvement
Attorney at Law
2053 Woodbridge Ave.
Edison, NJ 08817
Kenneth Vercammen is an Edison, Middlesex County, NJ trial attorney who has published 125 articles in national and New Jersey publications on probate, estate planning, criminal and litigation topics. He often lectures to trial lawyers of the American Bar Association, New Jersey State Bar Association and Middlesex County Bar Association.
Kenneth Vercammen was the NJ State Bar Municipal Court Attorney of the Year and past president of the Middlesex County Municipal Prosecutor's Association.

 He is the past chair of the NJ State Bar Association Municipal Court Section. He is the Deputy chair of the ABA Criminal Law committee, GP Division. Kenneth Vercammen was selected one of only three attorneys as a Super Lawyer 2009 in NJ Monthly in the Criminal - DWI.
He is a highly regarded lecturer on litigation issues for the American Bar Association, ICLE, New Jersey State Bar Association and Middlesex County Bar Association. His articles have been published by New Jersey Law Journal, ABA Law Practice Management Magazine, and New Jersey Lawyer. He is the Editor in Chief of the New Jersey Municipal Court Law Review. Mr. Vercammen is a recipient of the NJSBA- YLD Service to the Bar Award. He has successfully handled over One thousand Municipal Court and Superior Court matters in the past 18 years.

Since 1985, his primary concentration has been on litigation matters. Mr. Vercammen gained other legal experiences as the Confidential Law Clerk to the Court of Appeals of Maryland (Supreme Court),with the Delaware County, PA District Attorney Office handling Probable Cause Hearings, Middlesex County Probation Dept as a Probation Officer, and an Executive Assistant to Scranton District Magistrate, Thomas Hart, in Scranton, PA. He started his career as a trial attorney for Drazin & Warshaw in Hazlet and Red Bank, NJ, and Borrus, Goldin, Foley, Vignuolo, Hyman & Stahl in North Brunswick.

ADMISSIONS: Admitted In NJ, NY, PA, US Supreme Court and Federal District Court

MANAGING ATTORNEY Kenneth Vercammen & Associates, PC March 1990-Present
Full service Law practice with offices in Edison and Cranbury.

PROSECUTOR Township of Cranbury, Middlesex County, NJ 1991-1999
Municipal Prosecutor for criminal and traffic cases involving Township and State Police
-Acting Assoc. Prosecutor: Carteret Municipal Court, Middlesex County, NJ 2000


Middlesex County Bar Association 2008 Municipal Court Attorney of the Year

NJ State Bar Association- 2005-2006 Municipal Court Attorney of the Year Award

New Jersey Super Lawyers selection 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006

Who's Who in America 2004

NJ State Bar Association- 2002 General Practitioner of the Year Award

1993 AWARD WINNER "Service to the Bar Award"- New Jersey State Bar Association YLD

-Criminal, DWI and Drug Cases- NJ State Bar Annual Meeting 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 01, 00, 99
-Civil Trial Practice- Middlesex Bar 2004
-Personal Injury Litigation- NJ Institute for Continuing Legal Education/ NJ State Bar
2001, 2000,1999,1998,1997,1996,1995,1994,1993,1991
-Municipal Court Handling Serious Cases ICLE/NJSBA-2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002,2001,2000,1998,1997,1995,1994
-NJ Association of Municipal Court Administrators 2002
-Edison Police Auxiliary- Search and Seizure 2002
-New Jersey Network TV- Due Process TV show 2000
-Cablevision TV- Law on the Line 2003, 2001
-Elder Law and Probate NJSBA/ ICLE 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 03,02,01,99,98,97,96

Published 150 separate Law Review and Legal Periodical articles in legal journals such as New Jersey Law Journal, American Bar Association Barrister, New Jersey Lawyer, ABA Law Practice Management, and New Jersey State Bar Association's Dictum. Listed on


East Brunswick Adult School 2009, 2008
Middlesex County Police Chiefs 2009- Living Wills
Middlesex County College- Wills & Probate 2007
Edison Adult School -Wills, Elder Law & Probate- 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002 [inc Edison TV], 2001, 2000,1999,1998,1997
- Nuts & Bolts of Elder Law - NJ Institute for Continuing Legal Education/ NJ State Bar ICLE/NJSBA 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2000, 1999, 1996
-Elder Law and Estate Planning- American Bar Association New York City 2008, Miami 2007
South Plainfield Seniors- New Probate Law 2005, East Brunswick Seniors- New Probate Law 2005
Old Bridge AARP 2002; Guardian Angeles/ Edison 2002; St. Cecilia/ Woodbridge Seniors 2002;
East Brunswick/ Hall's Corner 2002;
-Linden AARP 2002
-Woodbridge Adult School -Wills and Estate Administration -2001, 2000,1999,1998,1997,1996
Woodbridge Housing 2001; Metuchen Seniors & Metuchen TV 2001; Frigidare/ Local 401 Edison 2001; Chelsea/ East Brunswick 2001, Village Court/ Edison 2001; Old Bridge Rotary 2001; Sacred Heart/ South Amboy 2001; Livingston Manor/ New Brunswick 2001; Sunrise East Brunswick 2001; Strawberry Hill/ Woodbridge 2001;
-Wills and Elder Law - Metuchen Adult School 1999,1997,1996,1995,1994,1993
-Clara Barton Senior Citizens- Wills & Elder Law-Edison 2002, 1995
-AARP Participating Attorney in Legal Plan for NJ AARP members 1999-2005
-Senior Legal Points University of Medicine & Dentistry UMDNJ & St. Peter's-2000, 1999,1998
-East Brunswick AARP Wills 2001; -Iselin/ Woodbridge AARP Wills 2000
-Metuchen Reformed Church; Franklin/ Somerset/ Quailbrook Seniors 2001
-North Brunswick Senior Day 2001
-Wills, Elder Law and Probate-South Brunswick Adult School & Channel 28 TV 1999, 1997,1993
-Wills and Estate Planning-Old Bridge Adult School 1998,1997,1995
-Senior Citizen Law-Perth Amboy YMHA 1995; Temple Beth Or 2002;
-Wills, Living Wills and Probate-Spotswood Community School 1995,1994,1993
-Wills and Probate-Sayreville Adult School 1997, 1996,1995,1994
-Living Wills-New Jersey State Bar Foundation and St. Demetrius, Carteret 1994
-Wills and Estate Planning-Edison Elks and Senior Citizens January 1994
-"Legal Questions Clinic" Metuchen Adult School March 1995,1994,1993
-Estate Planning to Protect Families-Metuchen Chamber of Commerce April 1993

SPECIAL ACTING PROSECUTOR: Woodbridge, East Brunswick, Metuchen, South Brunswick, Perth Amboy, Cranbury, South Plainfield, Clark, South River, Hightstown, Carteret, Jamesburg, Berkeley Heights on conflict matters. Past President- Middlesex Municipal Prosecutor's Association. Previous experience with the Delaware County, Pennsylvania District Attorney Office, Middlesex County Probation Department and Scranton District Magistrate Office.

Metuchen Public Defender 2001- present Edison Public Defender 1990-1991

KENNETH VERCAMMEN- Community Service

NON- PROFIT: -Edison Elks-Presiding Justice 1993- Present
-Y.B. CHOI TAE KWON DO (Korean Karate)- 4th degree Black Belt awarded 2008 3rd degree 2004 ; 2nd degree December 1993, 1st degree Black Belt December 2001
-Raritan Valley Road Runners- Comeback of the Year Award 2002 and ranked Master Distance Runner; state champion 20,000 meter team 2005

New Jersey State Age Group Champion Garden State Games 5,000 meter run 1993
-Bishop Ahr/St. Thomas Aquinas H.S. Alumni Society
Elected Vice-President 1989-1990; Class of 1977- 25 year Reunion Chair
-Edison 14th District Committeeman Elected 1988-1994
-St. Francis Cathedral- Church Lector 1990-1994
-University of Scranton, North Jersey Alumni Chapter Co-Chair, Fall Social 1988
-Knights of Columbus-Fourth Degree Knight, Edison Council
Edison NJ Essay Contest Chair 1992,1993
Metuchen Chamber of Commerce, Past member Edison Chamber of Commerce;
Raritan Valley Road Runners RVRR Rumson HashHouse Harriers
Central Jersey Road Runners CJRR Jersey Shore Triathlon Club JSTC
Freehold Area Running Club FARC Scranton Area Organization Runners SOAR
Jersey Shore Running Club JSRC USATF- US Athletic Track & Field
Sandy Hook Triathlon Club First Place- Bergen Bar 5k Law Day Run May 2001 South Brunswick Running Group- President First Place- CJRR Summer 5K 2002
First Place: Cocoa Beach 2 mile 2008, 2007; Cranford Run for Lupus 4 mile 2006, JSRC Twilight run 2006. Indian Trials Middletown 3m 2005,2004; Stroudsburg 5k 2005, 2004; Wildwood 5k, Ocean Winter 4 mile, Edison Lannie 5k, 2004; Washington DC Run for Justice 5K 2002
CJRR Age group champ 2005,2004, 2002, 1996, 1995
New York Marathon top 100 NJ Finisher

ACTIVITIES: Married 1989, one son born 1991, daughter born 1994
Weekend Road Running Races, Triathlons, Soccer
Tae Kwon Do Karate

Summer Blast/Ireland Brook Neighborhood Sponsor
So. Brunswick Soccer Asst. Coach Travel 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 98
So. Brunswick Athletic Assoc.-Team Sponsor and helper with son's team
So. Brunswick Viking 5k- volunteer
South Brunswick 5K running Race volunteer
So. Brunswick Bicentennial Volunteer
Neighborhood Picnic Sponsor 1998-2009
So. Brunswick 50 Mile Bike Volunteer and 50 mile Finisher
Holt for Congress Volunteer

CHARITABLE: American Cancer Society-Chairman
Annual Summer Fundraiser Picnic- 1987,88,89,90,91,92
Chairman, Annual Christmas Fundraiser- 1987,88,89,90,911,92
Recipient-Young Professionals Award-Sept. 1988, Sept. 1989
Board of Manager's - 1989-1994 Founder and Chair-Young Professionals Group

KENNETH VERCAMMEN, ESQ. Education & Awards

LEGAL EDUCATION: The Widener/ Delaware Law School, J.D., May 1985
Class Rank: Top Ten Percent
Awards: Honor Grades: Federal Income Tax, Business Organization, Criminal Law, Advanced Advocacy, Family Law, New Jersey Practice, Unfair Trade Practices, Professional Liability.
Outstanding Service Award Recipient in Graduation Ceremony
Delaware Merit Scholarship - 1983, 1984
Provincial Winner - Phi Delta Phi Legal Honor Fraternity Graduate of the Year Award
Who's Who in American Law Schools

Law Review- Senior Staff-Member
Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Senior Editor 1984-1985
Winner - Sixth Annual Trial Advocacy Competition
First Prize - Delaware Law School/ATLA Environmental Law Essay Contest
Delaware Law Forum, Casenote Editor

Working Scholar- Hon. Philip Gruccio, Assignment Judge of Atlantic, Cumberland, Cape May, Salem Counties
Association of Trial Lawyers of America, Delaware Chapter Treasurer
Law School Running Club - President
Research Assistant - Dean Arthur Weeks
Publications- Published in Law Review and wrote more articles than 75% of law faculty members

PRELEGAL EDUCATION: University of Scranton B.S., January 1981
Major: Political Science: Graduated Cum Laude in 3-1/2 years
- Cited in Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities;
- Dean's List; Pi Gamma Mu Honor Society; Pi Sigma Alpha Honor Society.
- Varsity Cross- Country - Team Captain and Record Holder of Indoor Half-Mile
- District Magistrate Thomas Hart- Paid Law Clerk/ Executive Assistant
- Pre-Law Society Public Relations Director
- Voter Registration Drive Coordinator
- Internship with Pa. Representative Hon. Fred Belardi
- School Newspaper Staff and Sportswriter
- WYRE radio station sports caster
- 3rd Place Wrestling Tournament
- Campus Bowl Intellectual Competition (Team Captain)
- Trustee Day Volunteer, Red Cross Blood Drive Volunteer
- Senior Class - Hard Rockers Social Committee Chair
-Alumni Society-Estate Planning Council 1997-Present
- Class of 1981 20 year Reunion Executive Committee member 2001 -25 Year Reunion Co-chair

Attorney at Law
2053 Woodbridge Ave.
Edison, NJ 08817
The American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional organization in the world with more than 400,000 members

AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION - National Appointments:

General Practice Solo & Small Firm Division
-Estate Planning, Probate & Trust Committee- Chair 2008-2009, 2006-2007
-Elder Law Committee Chair 2005- present, Vice Chair 1996-1999
- Criminal Law Committee Deputy Chair 2006-present
- Tort, Personal Injury and Insurance Committee Chair 2005- 2006
-Deputy Chair and Newsletter Editor-GP Marketing Legal Services Committee 1993 -1996
- Probate & Estate Planning Committee- Newsletter Editor & Vice Chair 1997-1999, Vice Chair 2005
-Litigation Committee Member 1993 - present

-Elder Law, Estate and Probate ABA Chicago Annual Meeting
-Elder Law and Probate New York City 2008 Annual Meeting
- Improving Your Elder Law & Estate Practice San Francisco, CA 2007
-Elder Law and Estate Planning- ABA Miami 2007
-Elder Law Practice, New Ethical Ideas to Improve Your Practice for Clients ABA Hawaii 2006
-Marketing Success Stories ABA Toronto 1998
-Opening a Business-Sayreville Adult School 1997,1996,1995
-Olympians of Marketing- ABA Annual Meeting-Orlando, Florida 1996
-Unique Marketing Techniques & Client Relations III ABA Annual Meeting-Chicago 1995
-Starting a Business-Brooklyn Bar Association 1995,1994
-Personal Marketing & Relations - 1995 Miami ABA meeting LPM Personal Marketing Skills IG
co-sponsored by four Major National Bar Sections and committees
-How to Start a Practice-1994 New Orleans ABA Annual Meeting LPM primary sponsor
-1993 New York Annual Meeting "Marketing for Small Firms"

-Co-Chair with Jay Foonberg-ABA LPM Personal Marketing Skills Group 1998,1997,1996,1995,1994
-Speaker at many ABA Annual Meetings
-National Liaison and ex-officio member of Law Practice Management Section Council 1993 - 1995
-National Chair - Law Practice Management Committee YLD 1992-1993
-Chair and Newsletter Editor-Marketing Legal Services Committee 1996-1997,1999-2000
ABA Attendance at Leadership Conferences and participation at following Annual and Sectional meetings: Chicago 2009, New York 2008, Philadelphia GP 2007, San Francisco 2007, Washington GP 2007, Miami 2007, Hawaii 2006, Philadelphia LPM 2005; Washington DC 2002; Philadelphia 2002; London 2000, New York 2000, Atlanta 1999, Beverly Hills 1999, Cancun LPM 1998, Naples-LPM 1997; Captiva 1996, Orlando 1996, Coronado LPM 1995, Chicago 1995, Miami 1995, Washington D.C. GP 1995, Vancouver LPM 1995, New Orleans 1995, Napa, CA LPM 1994, Colorado LPM 1993, New York 1993, Boston 1993, San Francisco 1992, Cleveland GP 1992, Scottsdale AZ 1991, Los Angeles 1990, Hawaii 1989, Philadelphia 1988, Toronto 1988, New York City 1986, Washington DC 1985

Attorney at Law
2053 Woodbridge Ave.
Edison, NJ 08817
New Jersey State Bar Association- Municipal Court Section Chair 2003-2004, Vice Chair 1999-2002; Chair of Municipal Court Education Committee 1996-Present
Middlesex County Bar Association Chair Municipal Court Practice Committee 1997-2008
County Bar Board of Trustees 2000- 2006

New Jersey State Bar Association -General Practice Section-Board of Directors 1995- Present

ADJUNCT PROFESSOR Middlesex County College
Edison, NJ February, 2001-April, 2001; Jan. 1990-May, 1991
Instructor of "Criminal Law and Procedure" and Business Law. Taught college students the elements of crime and the criminal procedure system. Explained the incidents before and after trial and analyzed the impact of the Constitution on crimes and criminal procedures.

New Jersey Superior Court - Certified Mediator 1997-

New Jersey Supreme Court Committee on Municipal Courts 2000-2005

Other Speaking
-Update of Municipal Court-NJSBA Annual Meeting Atlantic City 1999,1997, 95, 94
- Cranbury Twp Municipal Alliance Against Substance Abuse 2004, 2002
-ATLA-NJ - New Jersey Courts 1991
-Intoxicated Driver Resource Center/IDRC - DUI Law 1999, 1991
-Preventing the Impaired Driver-Coalition Against Impaired Drivers 1992
-Winning Lawsuit Threshold Cases NJSBA 1992
-WCTC Radio Mid-Day Legal Advisor - Criminal and Traffic Laws 1991 and 1990
-Computers in Litigation-NJSBA Law Office Management 1994
-Self Defense Law in New Jersey - Cranbury Police Dept. 1997,1993,1992

Self Defense and Home Protection - Speaker - New Brunswick Crime Watch - 1989
-Wills and Power of Attorney 1991 Edison Democratic Association
Defending Speeding Cases - New Jersey State Bar Association/NJSBA - 1989
-Family Law & Domestic Violence Trial Practice NJ State Bar Association 1995,1994,1993
-Automobile Insurance - Middlesex County College - 1990
-Criminal & Juvenile Courts Piscataway Vo Tech – 1990
-Living Wills-Dean Witter and Nordstroms, Menlo Park Mall October 1992; Trusts and Living Wills-Dean Witter, Metro Park, June 1992; Estate Planning-North Brunswick Republican Club May 1992;

Make a Wish Foundation- Co Chair 19th Annual Summer Blast 1994 in Belmar, NJ
Co Chair Christmas Fundraiser 1993
Jersey Shore Medical Center Chair-18th Annual Summer Blast to Benefit the Jersey Shore Regional
Trauma Center at Bar Anticipation, Belmar 1993
American Red Cross Elected to Board of Directors 1988-1991

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

11-10-09 Patel v. New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission

11-10-09 Hina K. Patel v. New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission

Under N.J.S.A. 39:4-97.2(e), the exemption provision for assessing motor vehicle penalty points for an unsafe driving offense that occurs more than five years after “the prior offense,” “the prior offense” refers only to the most recent preceding offense based on both a plain reading of the statute and a review of the legislative history. Thus, the Motor Vehicle Commission correctly imposed motor vehicle points on Patel for having a fourth unsafe driving conviction in 2007, only one year after thher prior, third, unsafe driving offense.

Assistant Editor: Umair Hussain