New Jersey Real-Time News
The Republican lawmaker represents a district that backed Hillary Clinton last November.
WASHINGTON -- The House Democrats' political arm, which has put four New Jersey House Republicans on its initial target list, has begun running digital ads against one of them, Rep. Leonard Lance, over a committee vote on the GOP's unsuccessful health care bill.
Lance (R-7th Dist.) was the first House Republican in the state to oppose the American Health Care Act, which would ensure 500,000 fewer New Jersey residents, according to New Jersey Policy Perspective.
Lance voted yes when the House Energy and Commerce Committee drafted its sections of the measure and opposed any amendments offered by committee Democrats led by Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-6th Dist.), the ranking minority member.
"Representative Lance's vote for this devastating Republican repeal bill will not be forgotten," said Rep, Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.), chairman of the DCCC.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said it would spend five figures on the ad buy, which is designed to target residents of the district through YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, including swing voters over age 34 and those who have talked about "health care" on social media. The DCCC is running similar ads against 13 other House Republicans.
Lance represents one of just 23 GOP-held House districts carried by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton last fall.
Eventually, four of the five House GOP lawmakers from the Garden State said they would vote against the measure, contributing to the Republican opposition that forced House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to pull the measure and hand President Donald Trump an embarrassing legislative defeat.
"The DCCC online ad is inaccurate and dishonest," said Lance's chief of staff, Todd Mitchell.. "Seventh District voters know that Congressman Leonard Lance was the first New Jersey Republican to oppose the AHCA publicly. And Leonard Lance never voted for or supported a tax break for health care executives. Internet users should just hit the delete button on the DCCC's patently false attacks."
The Democratic committee's list of possible vulnerable GOP lawmakers also includes Reps. Frank LoBiondo (R-2nd Dist.) and Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th Dist.), both of whom announced their opposition to the legislation, and Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-3rd Dist.), the only member of the state's congressional delegation in favor of the measure.
The GOP health care bill would have cut Medicaid by more than $800 billion over 10 years and resulted in 24 million fewer Americans receiving health care within a decade than under current law. Most of the savings would have gone to eliminate taxes that fell only on corporations and wealthy Americans.
An ex-Elizabeth firefighter who was fired following his arrests on lewdness and possessing child pornography is seeking a pension.
ELIZABETH -- A former Elizabeth firefighter who was fired after separate convictions for child pornography and lewdness may collect a partial pension for his years of service prior to his first arrest, an appeals court ruled Tuesday.A 2010 photo of Timothy Clarke, a former Elizabeth firefighter who was fired after his arrest for possessing distributing child pornography. He is seeking his pension for his nearly 20 years on the fire department. (NJ Advance Media file photo)
Timothy Clarke can receive the pension, but not until 2021, when he would be 55.
Clarke, who joined the fire department 1991, was fired in 2010 following his arrest on a charge of endangering the welfare of child by distributing pornography.
Police raided his home in Green Brook, Somerset County and found pornographic files on his computer, authorities said.
A judge sentenced him to five years in prison for the child endangerment charge.
Clarke had also pleaded guilty in 2008 to fourth-degree criminal trespass and a disorderly persons count for lewdness resulting from a March 2007 incident in which a neighbor saw him on her deck masturbating and peering in the window, according to court papers.
Clarke was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered him to undergo a year of psychiatric counseling.
As a result that court case, Clarke was suspended from the fire department without pay from February through June 2008, but then returned to duty full-time.
After his released from prison, Clarke applied for his pension, but the state Police and Firemen's Retirement System board determined forfeited his rights due to dishonorable service.
Clarke appealed and a state administrative law judge ruled that he was entitled to his pension from 1991 until his first arrest in 2007. Clarke again appealed the decision, seeking to get his pension through 2010.
The appeals court ruling on Tuesday rejected that argument and affirmed the administrative law judge's decision.
Attempts to reach Clarke's lawyer for a comment were unsuccessful.
Councilman Rich Boggiano is in talks to join Mayor Steve Fulop's slate.
Can two Jersey City politicians who have sparred for four years share a ticket without driving each other crazy?
Sources tell The Jersey Journal that an "Odd Couple" pairing may be in the works for the Nov. 7 city election, with Councilman Rich Boggiano in talks to join Mayor Steve Fulop's council slate. The mayoralty and all nine council seats are up for grabs in the fall.
The potential partnership would represent a sharp turn for Boggiano, who has built his political brand largely by opposing major Fulop initiatives, and Fulop, whose council allies have shown near-unanimous fealty to Fulop since his election as mayor four years ago.
Boggiano, 73, a retired police detective, hasn't confirmed his plans for November but insiders expect him to pursue re-election to his seat representing Ward C, which includes Journal Square and portions of the Heights and McGinley Square. Boggiano was first elected to the council in July 2013, running on a shoestring budget to defeat a Fulop ally.
Fulop, 40, who is seeking a second term, continues to assemble a full council slate, with four out of nine slots filled so far.
Sources close to both men say Fulop wants Boggiano on his ticket because the mayor's allies believe Boggiano is a lock to win re-election, while Boggiano's family believes the councilman's path to re-election would be easier if he doesn't have to face a well-funded challenger aligned with Fulop.
Neither man would discuss the potential alliance with The Jersey Journal.
Boggiano's actions have irritated the mayor since the first day of the Fulop administration, when the councilman abstained from voting for the appointment of Jeremy Farrell, a Fulop campaign worker, as the city's top attorney. Boggiano opposed Fulop's merging of the fire and police departments into a public safety division and the mayor's aborted push to bring in a concert promoter to manage the city-owned Landmark Loew's Jersey Theater, and he regularly criticized the mayor's now-abandoned gubernatorial run.
Fulop initially reacted to Boggiano's opposition by labeling him an obstructionist. In October 2013, Fulop said Boggiano opposes his initiatives "just for the sake of saying no." But in recent months Fulop's public statements on Boggiano have softened. In his Ward C state of the city speech, Fulop pledged to work with Boggiano on one of the councilman's pet issues, revising the Journal Square redevelopment plan to discourage high-density developments in residential neighborhoods.
The Ward C council race has two declared candidates, city worker John Hanussak and Rekha Nandwani. November's mayoral and council races are nonpartisan.
He sustained a concussion, multiple injuries to his spine and several broken bones.
Harry Hinshilwood, now 70, was seriously injured while riding on Elbo Lane in Mount Laurel in August of 2013. The last in a line of cyclists, Hinshilwood was struck by a vehicle from behind. The driver of the vehicle, Elijah Thielman, claimed he did not see Hinshilwood due to sun glare, the law journal reported.
After being knocked from his bike, Hinshilwood hit the windshield and then the ground. As a result of the crash, he had a concussion, several injuries to his spine, numerous broken bones and abrasions on the right side of his body, the journal reported. His injuries left him with no memory of the accident.
Hinshilwood filed a lawsuit in Camden County and it was settled before the case received a trial date.
Hinshillwood agreed to the $800,000 settlement on Dec. 20, 2016 and was paid the funds from Allstate Insurance Co., the carrier for Thielman, on Jan. 6, the report said.
Employees at the Avis rental counter wouldn't let the Brooklyn resident use a credit card that didn't match his ID, police said
NEWARK -- A New York City man was found with drugs after trying to use a stolen credit card at a Newark airport car rental counter early Tuesday, authorities said.David MarkovPort Authority police
David Markov, 34, of Brooklyn, tried to run off after employees at Avis confronted him when he tried to use a credit card with name that didn't match his identification, Port Authority police said in a news release.
When police found Markov around 1:30 a.m., he was "breathing heavily and sweating," according to police.
In addition to three credit cards with different names, Markov had four hypodermic needles, 46 decks of suspected heroin, 25 tablets of suspected Methadone, 20 suspected Xanax pills and a silver spoon with suspected drug residue.
He was charged with credit card theft, fraudulent use of a credit card and drug possession.
The 58-year-old Bucks County man gave up his right to a preliminary hearing, authorities said.
A Bucks County, Pa., trailer-park handyman, who authorities call a "serial child rapist," faces 26 new charges involving a sixth victim, Falls Township police said.
William Charles Thomas, 58, of the 1600 block of Bristol Pike in Morrisville, previously faced 51 charges, including five counts of child rape. The amended court papers, filed Monday, show another count of child rape and 10 counts of sexual abuse of children, among other offenses.
Thomas remains in Bucks County jail in lieu of 10 percent of $750,000 bail.
He gave up his right to a preliminary hearing on the charges and faces trial in Bucks County Court, authorities said. A formal arraignment date wasn't immediately available.
Police spoke to the sixth victim in late January, according to court records. Thomas began grooming her when she was a young child, talking to her about sex, showing her Barbie dolls with "aftermarket genitalia attached" and watching her take baths and sleep, she told authorities.
When she "reached adolescence," Thomas "professed his love for her" and told her he wanted to marry her, police said.
When police searched Thomas' home, they found photographs of the child, including one with her head "superimposed over the naked body of another," police said. "In illustrations and writings, drawn and authored by Thomas" ... "he explicitly described sexually assaulting (the child) while she was prepubescent," police said.
The crimes took place in Falls Township and Yardley, according to authorities.
Thomas is represented by Public Defender Kenneth Barry Hone.
The 20-year-old started yelling at the officers and was threatening to "get my dogs to bite you," police said.
BAYONNE -- A city man was arrested last week after threatening to sic his dogs on police officers who were responding to a domestic incident at his home, authorities said.
Nickolas Dilone, 20, of West 28th Street, was arrested and charged with several offenses after he threatened to have his pit bull and rottweiler attack the officers, said police Capt. Janine Foy.
Police found Dilone and his brother in a fight in their home shortly after midnight on March 19 after a neighbor reported the fracas, Foy said.
The two men became hostile toward the officers being interviewing at the front door of their home, Foy said. The 20-year-old then started yelling at the officers and was threatening to "get my dogs to bite you," Foy added.
Police said the pit bull was "visibly agitated and aggressive" and on its hind legs, while Dilone was holding the dog's collar and threatening the officers.
Dilone let go of the collar, encouraging the dog to attack, but his mother grabbed hold of the collar and was able to gain control of the dog, Foy said.
After being told he was under arrest, Dilone retreated into his home and locked the door to evade custody, Foy said. The officers left the scene to get an arrest warrant and returned to the residence at 2 p.m., Foy added.
Dilone was charged with two counts of aggravated assault, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and resisting arrest.
Charles Stango, 73, of Henderson, Nevada, was sentenced to 10 years for planning the plotting the killing, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Charles Stango, of Henderson, Nev., was trying to arrange a hit on a mob rival who he believed insulted a high-ranking family member. But the two assassins he offered $50,000 for the killing were actually undercover FBI agents, authorities said.
Stango is a captain in the Elizabeth-based DeCavalcante crime family, authorities said. State investigators believe the group is currently operating under the Gambino crime family, one of New York's infamous "Five Families," authorities said.
Stango also pleaded guilty Tuesday to violating terms of his supervised release after serving time for racketeering charges in New York.
Six other people associated with the DeCavalcante family, including Stango's son Anthony, have pleaded guilty to a number of crimes following a roundup in 2015. The undercover investigation began in 2012, according to court documents.
Immigration law expert : President Trump is playing games by pretending that a big problem is being solved with a temporary fix that in reality exacerbates existing defects while creating even worse new ones.
By Stacy Caplow
Immigration Courts have been in crisis for several years as their case backlog has been steadily skyrocketing to the current last-reported level of an astonishing 542,411 cases. At the same time that the court's backlog is mounting, its efficiency is declining.
Recently, the Justice Department asked immigration judges to volunteer for temporary reassignment to the 12 most overloaded courts. The latest news is that the transfers are likely to be detailed to detention centers, mostly in Texas and California.
Shuffling judges around the country is a shell game for Immigration Courts and a raw deal for immigrants that allows the administration to claim it's taking steps to make good on its get tough promises to deport "bad hombres," but actually sells a false bill of goods to the public.
It is simply not true that this temporary reallocation of resources is mandated based on the situation today.
Rather, it serves the "criminal immigrant" rhetoric of the new administration. Just because an individual is detained does not mean that he or she is being deported on criminal grounds.
Take New York, for example. Only 3,326 people are in removal proceedings on criminal grounds. Of those only 522 are detained. This represents only 4.4 percent of the 74,841 case backlog involving a wide range of non-criminal related cases such as asylum seekers and people applying for other immigration benefits.
This scheme perverts an adjudication system that already doesn't even match norms of the criminal process (it lacks the guarantee of counsel or speedy trial and can be conducted via closed-circuit videoconferencing rather than in person). Some individuals in immigration court actually will qualify for relief from removal-if a judge could ever hear their cases. But their cases are languishing for years, and, with this reshuffling, will drag on even longer without resolution.
This latest example of smoke and mirrors creates more problems than it solves. Every time a judge is unavailable to handle his or her regular docket, those cases are delayed, now often for two to three years. Or longer.
One of my asylum-seeking clients, a Newark resident, was recently the victim of this failing system. After fleeing to the United States following her detention and torture, she first appeared in New York Immigration Court in December 2013. Her case was adjourned for a hearing to April 2016. When she returned to court in April, over my objection, instead of a hearing, the case was transferred to the court in Newark where she had moved for its more affordable housing.
It took a year for her case to be set on the Newark court's calendar -- March 14 --last week's snow day when the court was closed. Yesterday, she received a notice with her new court date -- not for her hearing but for yet another calendar call in June. At first I thought, not too bad, only a few month's delay. Then, I read the notice again. Her next court date is June 18, 2019!
And then two plus years from now it's likely there will be another extended delay until her individual hearing. In Newark, it takes an average of 948 days to complete a case. Do the math and try to figure out when she will be re-united with her daughter stranded in Africa.
Backlog is an understatement; dysfunctional nightmare is more accurate.
The problem needs more than a flimsy redistribution of already stretched-to-the-limit resources to stop the deterioration of due process into a mockery.
Get new judges appointed and working, and return the reassigned judges to their caseloads. But don't play games with a gullible public by pretending that a big problem is being solved with a temporary fix that in reality exacerbates existing defects while creating even worse new ones.
Stacy Caplow is a law professor at Brooklyn Law School, specializing in immigration and criminal law.
A medical examiner testified today that a North Bergen man stabbed to death in Jersey City in 2014 had the equivalent of six to seven beers prior to the attack and there was little evidence he had put up a fight or was moving much at all.
JERSEY CITY -- A North Bergen man was drunk and did not put up a fight when he was stabbed to death, the state regional medical examiner testified this morning in the trial of two men accused of his murder.
Kerry Amparo-Berroa, 22, had the equivalent of six to seven beers and his blood-alcohol level was .144 prior to the Aug. 17, 2014 attack that left him dead and a friend injured, Dr. Andrew Falzone said on the witness stand.
"Very often, with stab wounds you see evidence of movement," Falzone testified. "He wasn't able to put up a fight. He is young and healthy appearing. You would expect to see some defense."
Tommy Pham, of Van Wagenen Avenue, and Kevin Aviles, of Pavonia Avenue in the Marion section, both 22, are being tried for the murder. They face up to life in prison if convicted.
The doctor testified that Amparo-Berroa suffered no significant defensive wounds in the incident outside a house party on Manhattan Avenue near Pershing Field. He noted that with a BAC of .144, Amparo-Berroa would have had impaired muscle coordination, slow reaction time and he may have been drowsy.
In his opening statement, Hudson County Assistant Prosecutor John Mulkeen said prior to the incident Amparo-Berroa and friends had gone to a barbecue and then to a Hoboken bar where they stayed until last call.
Mulkeen said there was tension at the party in Jersey City when Amparo-Berroa arrived at 4 a.m., because he showed up with a woman and also had an interest in the woman who hosted the party.
Stares and words were exchanged -- and then violence erupted among groups of friends -- leading to Amparo-Berroa's stabbing death, Mulkeen said.
A friend of Ampero-Berroa was stabbed in the melee, but survived. Two people charged with stabbing him are on the witness list for the trial.
Amparo-Berroa grew up in West New York and played basketball at Memorial High School. He was a junior at New Jersey City University at the time of his death.
When autopsy pictures were shown today, members of Amparo-Berroa's family began crying and some left the courtroom. Falzone said Amparo-Berroa suffered a stab wound to his chest and two to his abdomen. He said the knife thrust to his chest penetrated his heart.
A man has been arrested for allegedly stealing more than $700,000 from his plumbing company.Robert Keith, 46, of West Orange(Courtesy of the South Plainfield Police Department)
SOUTH PLAINFIELD -- A bookkeeper for a borough company has been arrested and charged with stealing more than $700,000 from the firm.
Robert Keith, 46, of West Orange, was charged with credit card theft, money laundering, forgery, theft by unlawful taking and unlawful use of a credit card, according to a statement from the county prosecutor's office.
While working as a bookkeeper for RupCoe Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning, in South Plainfield, Keith allegedly stole $715,000 from the company "through forged checks and credit card purchases within a two-year period," according to a statement from the South Plainfield Police Department.
Authorities were alerted after officials from the company learned of the missing funds and contacted police.
Keith also served as a minister at a house of worship, though the name and location of the religious institution were not released by authorities. Though Keith was not a licensed certified public accountant, he allegedly had "sought to add legitimacy to his bookkeeping services by describing himself as a religious leader," according to the prosecutor's office.
He was arrested on Saturday, according to officials, who noted that he was also wanted for a probation violation from Essex County.
Keith is being held at the Middlesex County Adult Correctional Facility pending a hearing.
The investigation remains ongoing.
Anyone with information can contact the South Plainfield Police Department at 908-755-0700 or the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office at 732-745-4328.
A father dropped his three kids off a second-floor balcony into the waiting arms of two civilians, a cop and a firefighter
WILDWOOD CREST -- Police, firefighters and civilians were able to rescue eight people from a blaze in multi-family house in Wildwood Crest on Monday, officials said.
A woman and her dog were pulled from a second-floor apartment on the 5500 block of Park Boulevard. Then three adults and a dog were rescued from the first floor.
A father also dropped his two of his three children off a second-floor balcony into the waiting arms of a civilian and firefighter. The father then jumped onto a garage roof to escape, the report said. The third child also got out unhurt.
The fire broke out at 6:20 p.m. and took 20 minutes to bring under control. The blaze re-ignited early Tuesday but was extinguished in about 30 minutes.
The Cape May County Fire Marshal's Office determined the fire was accidental.
Drivers will be able to comment about adding an exact change lane to a proposed new cashless, E-Z Pass only exit Ramp from the Garden State Parkway which could cost $1 million and several months to add.
Drivers will have a chance to convince officials at an April 4 hearing why they should be allowed to pay tolls with cash at a new Exit 125 ramp from Garden State Parkway south in Sayreville, which is proposed as E-ZPass only.
But building an exact change lane and coin basket to the cashless toll plaza will add $1 million to the $73 million project to build a complete Exit 125 and could delay completion by several months, officials said.
Officially the 6 p.m., April 4 hearing is about adding a $1.50 toll to the new ramp from the Parkway south. But comments about the exact change option will be taken, said John O'Hern, Chief Operating Officer of the Turnpike Authority, which runs the Parkway.
"We want to be responsive to the concerns, but we want to balance that against the cost and project delays," O'Hern said.
The hearing will be held in the Turnpike Authority's offices in the former Hess building on Mutton Hollow Road, off Route 9 south in Woodbridge.
Adding an exact change lane would increase the cost by $1 million and add three to four months to the July 15 completion date, O'Hern said. Officials ruled out building a full toll plaza with cash lanes because there isn't enough property at the bottom of the ramp.
Missing that date could cost the authority $200,000 deducted from $15 million put up by a developer of a shopping complex toward the new exit, O'Hern said.
"It was never part of the plan and will result in delays opening the ramp because it has to be re-engineered," O'Hern said. "We designed it for the majority of our customers."
About 81 percent of Parkway drivers pay tolls with E-Z Pass, he said. Under the cashless plan, cash customers would be directed to use the Raritan Toll plaza, O'Hern said. Drivers who use the new exit without an E-ZPass would receive a violation notice.
The authority's board of commissioners could decide at the April 25 meeting.
State Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli is battling Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno for the Republican nomination for New Jersey governor.
On Saturday, Ciattarelli (R-Somerset) beat Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, considered the early favorite in the GOP primary, for the endorsement of the local party in Middlesex County, the second-most populous county in the state.
Six of the 21 county Republican committees in the state have now endorsed Ciattarell, an accountant and six-year state lawmaker, ahead of the June 6 primary in the race to succeed Gov. Chris Christie, a term-limited Republican in his final year.
But on Sunday, Guadagno -- who has been Christie's second-in-command for seven years -- easily won the endorsement of the GOP in Atlantic County, the 13th county party to back her candidacy.
County endorsements are key in New Jersey because whoever wins earns top-of-the-ballot placement on the primary ballot.
Ciattarelli and Guadagno are among a few Republican candidates in the race, along with Nutley township commissioner Steve Rogers, Ocean County businessman Joseph Rullo, and Atlantic County engineer Hirsh Singh.
The Middlesex GOP convention draws extra attention in the election because it's arguably the most democratic in the state. Any registered Republican from the county is allowed to pay a $10 fee to vote in the convention. In many other counties, voting is limited to elected county committee members or executive committees.
About 800 people voted in Saturday's convention, held at the auditorium in Old Bridge High School, according to a report by Politico New Jersey. Many had their entry fees paid for by the candidates, which is allowed.
Ciattarelli won, 331-170 over Guadagno -- even though the county's chairwoman, Lucille Panos, had personally endorsed Guadagno earlier this year.
Rick Rosenberg, Ciattarelli's campaign manager, said the victory is a sign of Ciattarelli's growing momentum.
"Our victory in Middlesex County proves that rank and file Republicans are ready for a new message and new messenger," Rosenberg told NJ Advance Media.
Rogers got 36 votes, followed by Rullo with 10, and Singh with 1.
Still, a day later, Guadagno scored a decisive victory in Atlantic, where she received 917 votes. Singh, who grew up in the county, took 157 votes, and Ciattarelli finished third with 49 votes.
"This important win shows that our campaign has the grassroots energy and momentum behind us as the June 6 Republican primary quickly approaches," Guadagno said in a statement.
Ciattarelli has also won endorsements from the GOP in Burlington, Essex, Mercer, and Union counties.
Guadagno has taken Bergen, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Hudson, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, and Warren counties.
A Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll released Tuesday showed Guadagno has the clear advantage, with 24 percent of Republican voters in the state picking her, while Ciattarelli drew 4 percent. A lawyer from Bergen County, Dana Wefer, polled at 2 percent. Rogers and Rullo both got 1 percent each.
An accident has closed Route 31 in both directions in Glen Gardner on March 28, 2017, according to the state Department of Transportation.
GLEN GARDNER - An accident has closed Route 31 in both directions on Tuesday, according to the state Department of Transportation.
All lanes are closed and traffic is being detoured onto Main Street. The accident was reported shortly after 11:30 a.m. Traffic is backed up a mile in both directions. As of 1 p.m. an accident investigation continues to keep the highway closed.
Additional information will be reported as it becomes available.