STATE OF NEW JERSEY VS. JAMES DENMAN
In this case, we conclude the prosecutor and trial judge erroneously applied the presumption of PTI ineligibility to defendant's pending charge of third-degree attempted misapplication of funds from the Scotch Plains Police Athletic League (PAL), N.J.S.A. 2C:21-15 and 2C:5-1. Defendant, a Scotch Plains police officer, also served as the PAL treasurer. Faced with a financial crisis, he improperly borrowed $18,000 from PAL, but repaid the loan with interest four months later. The following month, the prosecutor learned of the loan and charged defendant. The prosecutor rejected defendant's PTI application, concluding defendant's unauthorized use of PAL's funds constituted a "breach of the public trust," contrary to PTI Guideline 3(i), because "defendant, a police officer, was Treasurer" of PAL, "an organization with a goal of uniting the local police and the local community through youth sports programs." Defendant appealed his PTI denial to the Law
Division, which also concluded defendant committed a breach of the public trust. We reverse, concluding the record does not show a breach of public trust, and remand for the prosecutor to consider defendant's PTI application ab initio.