48 A.3d 1213 (N.J.Mun.Ct. 2011), State v. Ayton

Citation:48 A.3d 1213, 427 N.J.Super. 493
Opinion Judge:BOWE, J.M.C.
Party Name:STATE of New Jersey, Plaintiff, v. Thomas R. AYTON, Defendant.
Attorney:Anthony M. Arbore, Byram Township Prosecutor, for plaintiff. Daniel A. Colfax, Byram Township Public Defender, for defendant.
Case Date:September 13, 2011
Court:Municipal Court of New Jersey
 
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Page 1213

48 A.3d 1213 (N.J.Mun.Ct. 2011)

427 N.J.Super. 493

STATE of New Jersey, Plaintiff,

v.

Thomas R. AYTON, Defendant.

Municipal Court, Byram Township, Sussex County, New Jersey.

September 13, 2011

Anthony M. Arbore, Byram Township Prosecutor, for plaintiff.

Daniel A. Colfax, Byram Township Public Defender, for defendant.

BOWE, J.M.C.

[427 N.J.Super. 494] On February 23, 2011, defendant in this matter, Thomas R. Ayton (Ayton), was issued a summons for driving with a suspended license, a violation of N.J.S.A. 39:3-40, and a summons for disregarding a traffic control device at a public-private intersection, a violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-120.9. Ayton appeared in Byram Township Municipal Court on April 26, 2011, for a first appearance on his summonses. He claimed indigence and completed an application for the services of a public defender. His application was granted and trial was scheduled for June 14, 2011. On that date, Ayton appeared in court and presented a letter that said:

June 14, 2011

I, Thomas R. Ayton, will be filing an Article 59 against the Byram Police Department for violation of my civil rights at the time of tickets issued on February 23, 2011.

Ticket # s BT035828

Page 1214

BT035829

The letter was signed by Ayton and notarized on June 14, 2011, by Doris Flynn, Byram Township Municipal Clerk.

The court concluded that, by " filing an Article 59", Ayton was referring to the Notice of Tort Claim (notice) required by the New Jersey Tort Claims Act, N.J.S.A. 59:1-1 to :12-3 to be filed in cases of alleged municipal torts. A notice must be filed not later than ninety days following the incident that precipitated the claim. N.J.S.A. 59:8-8. That time period may be extended by the Superior Court. N.J.S.A. 59:8-9.

When a defendant in a municipal court files a notice in the municipality in which his matter is to be heard, the prevailing practice is to transfer the matter to be heard in another municipality's court. Had Ayton actually filed a notice, his matter would have been transferred in keeping with that practice. Because at the time he presented his letter of intent to file a notice to the [427 N.J.Super. 495] court he had not yet filed a notice, the court adjourned the matter to allow him ample opportunity to do so. Ayton was advised to file his notice promptly because his matter would be coming up on the trial calendar again shortly. Subsequently, the matter was scheduled to be tried on August 16, 2011. When he appeared on that date, with his public defender, Ayton advised the court that he still had not filed a notice. He alleged that he had plans to discuss the matter with an attorney other than his public defender...

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