STATE OF NEW JERSEY VS. MICHAEL RICHARD POWERS
Defendant was convicted after a trial in municipal court, and again on appeal to the Law Division, of obstruction based on both physical interference and an "independently unlawful act." N.J.S.A. 2C:29-1(a). The court remanded for findings that might illuminate the judge's conclusory determination that defendant physically interfered with a state trooper in the issuance of a parking ticket at a highway rest stop. The court, however, also held that defendant, in these circumstances, could not be
convicted of obstruction by means of "an independently unlawful act" that was based solely on N.J.S.A. 39:4-57, which provides that "[d]rivers of vehicles . . . shall at all times comply with any direction . . . of a member of a police department" when the officer is in the course of "enforcing a provision of this chapter." Defendant was outside his vehicle and, therefore not a driver, and the trooper was not enforcing Chapter 39 because he was only issuing a parking ticket.