Cresse v. Parsekian, s. A--24

Decision Date02 November 1964
Docket NumberNos. A--24,A--25,s. A--24
Citation204 A.2d 348,43 N.J. 326
PartiesWadsworth CRESSE, Jr., Respondent-Cross-Appellant, v. Ned J. PARSEKIAN, Director of the Division of Motor Vehicles in the Department of Law and Public Safety of the State of New Jersey, Appellant.
CourtNew Jersey Supreme Court

Morris Yamner, Deputy Atty. Gen., for appellant (Arthur J. Sills, Atty. Gen., attorney).

Sam Denstman, Newark, for respondent-cross-appellant (Simon, Jaffe & Denstman, Newark, attorneys).


Wadsworth Cresse, Jr. and Charles Bailey were drivers of cars involved in a collision. A passenger in the Bailey car was killed in the accident. The Director of the Division of Motor Vehicles, after a hearing (see 75 N.J.Super. 405, 183 A.2d 426 (App.Div.1962)), found Cresse had violated N.J.S.A. 39:4--144 and suspended his driving privileges for one year. On appeal, the Appellate Division agreed that Cresse had violated the statute but made factual findings which differed from those made by the Director. It found that Bailey was negligent and that his negligence was the chief cause of the accident; in contrast, the Director had determined that the accident was Cresse's fault alone and had occurred while Bailey was proceeding lawfuly. In a comprehensive opinion by Judge Gaulkin, the Appellate Division remanded the matter to the Director for further hearing and determination. See 81 N.J.Super. 536, 196 A.2d 256 (1963). Thereafter cross-petitions for certification were granted. See 41 N.J. 587, 197 A.2d 874 (1964).

The record amply supports the Appellate Division's factual determinations and its legal conclusion that Cresse had violated N.J.S.A. 39:4--144 by his failure to make further observation as he moved into the intersection where the collision occurred. Accordingly, we find no error in its action remanding the matter for a hearing to be confined to the issue of suspension and its duration. See 81 N.J.Super., at p. 552, 196 A.2d 256. Indeed, we certified not because of any doubts as to the foregoing but because of an expressed fear that the Appellate Division's statement (81 N.J.Super., at p. 549, 196 A.2d 256) that it would be improper for the Director to fix minimum suspensions for violations which contribute to fatalities would endanger other policies of the Division of Motor Vehicles.

In Hough v. McCarthy, 54 Cal.2d 273, 5 Cal.Rptr. 668, 353 P.2d 276 (1960), the California Supreme Court had occasion to deal with a departmental policy of automatic suspension. Unlike our statutory provision imposing a mandatory suspension on conviction of drunken driving (N.J.S.A. 39:4--50), California gives the convicting magistrate discretionary power to suspend. Its motor vehicle department's policy was to impose a suspension in every case of a drunken driving conviction and this policy was sustained by the court in its application to a case where no suspension had been imposed by the magistrate. The court found that the discretionary authority vested in the motor vehicle director, comparable to that granted in our State by N.J.S.A. 39:5--30, had been properly exercised and was broad enough to sustain the departmental policy. Although there was no indication as to the prescribed minimum period for the automatic suspension, the court's opinion leaves little doubt that it would sustain any reasonable minimum. 353 P.2d, at pp. 284--285.

While motor vehicle license revocations and suspensions are mainly designed to protect the public by removing the offenders from the road (Atkinson v. Parsekian, 37 N.J. 143, 155, 179 A.2d 732, 96 A.L.R.2d 602 (1962)) th...

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9 cases
  • State v. Jamerson
    • United States
    • New Jersey Supreme Court
    • March 25, 1998
    ...the intersection, but also is required to make further observation while proceeding through the intersection. Cresse v. Parsekian, 43 N.J. 326, 328, 204 A.2d 348 (1964). ...
  • State v. Wenof
    • United States
    • New Jersey County Court
    • July 17, 1968
    ...v. Parsekian, 36 N.J. 242, 176 A.2d 470 (1961); Cresse v. Parsekian, 81 N.J.Super. 536, 196 A.2d 256 (App.Div.163), affirmed 43 N.J. 326, 204 A.2d 348 (1964); State v. Martin, 75 N.J.Super. 413, 183 A.2d 431 (App.Div.1962). Rather, it is contended that 'due notice' requires actual It is no ......
  • State v. Hammond
    • United States
    • New Jersey County Court
    • July 16, 1971
    ...The Director must specify which violation he charges. Parsekian v. Cresse, 75 N.J.Super. 405, 183 A.2d 426 (App.Div.1962), aff'd 43 N.J. 326, 204 A.2d 348 (1964). The statute and case law emphasize the necessity of notice. This is consistent with the procedural due process and fundamental f......
  • Howe v. Strelecki
    • United States
    • New Jersey Superior Court — Appellate Division
    • January 12, 1968
    ...power the Director may prescribe reasonable automatic license suspensions upon conviction of designated offenses. Cresse v. Parsekian, 43 N.J. 326, 204 A.2d 348 (1964). The regulation has the same effect as a like statutory provision. State v. Resnick, 17 N.J.Super. 419, 86 A.2d 143 (Law Di......
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