Arising out of DWI and refusal charges levied against him in Washington Township on July 31, Assemblyman Paul Moriarty filed 27 criminal complaints against the arresting officer, Joseph DiBuonaventura. Of those, the officer has been charged with 13 of them, including
- Official Misconduct
- Submitting a False Report to Law Enforcement
- Harassment, and
- Tampering with Public Records
Those charges, along with those against Moriarty, are being sent to the Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office for further evaluation on how to proceed.
Moriarty has maintained all along that the charges were false and that he had been targeted by this officer. Interestingly enough, the more this is investigated by his attorney, John Eastlack, the more the case against him starts to fall apart.
Inconsistencies on the Video
Review of the dashboard camera video in the officer's patrol car is showing things that do not support statements he made in his official report. For example, he said that his probable cause for stopping Moriarty was because Moriarty cut him off when the Assemblyman changed lanes before entering a jughandle. The video, however, shows that the patrol car was parked on a grassy median when he saw Moriarty's car (which has special legislative plates) go past, traveling in the opposite direction.
The officer then pursued Moriarty, reaching speeds of 80mph and going through a red light, all before activating his lights and siren. During this time, Moriarty's car stayed in the same lane. He later says on the video that Moriarty cut him off "coming out of the jughandle," not changing lanes to go into it.
How the Video Could Weaken the Case Against Moriarty
The video, in addition to showing inconsistencies in the officer's police report, which supports the charges Moriarty brought against him, may also be successful in establishing that the officer did not have probable cause to pull him over in the first place! Once that is proven, he can ask a judge to throw out all evidence that was gathered after the stop, including his refusal to take the breathalyzer.
Moriarty's case shows the importance of reviewing all of the evidence in a DWI (especially video) and challenging every aspect of the case, including probable cause to stop, probable cause to arrest, and the accuracy of the Alcotest breath test readings. Sometimes the state's own evidence can vindicate you. It will be interesting to see how this case pans out.
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