WESTFIELD, NJ — A municipal court appearance set for Thursday was adjourned when the attorney for a Clark man accused of exceeding the speed limit 10 months ago showed up to the courtroom just as a special prosecutor assigned to the case was leaving the building.
Municipal Court Judge Parag P. Patel approved special prosecutor Desha Jackson’s request for an adjournment when the defense attorney representing 37-year-old Marek Kaplo was not in court for the trial’s start.
“It’s reasonable for this prosecutor to ask for an adjournment,” Patel said around 5:50 p.m. Although delayed, the court session had been scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m.
Defense attorney Joshua F. McMahon, who argues dash cam video proves his client’s innocence, arrived just as Jackson was exiting the building, and he called out for her to return.
“I’ve been here since 4 o’clock, sir,” Jackson replied to McMahon as she walked into the parking lot.
Officers issued Kaplo the speeding ticket on Jan. 13.
While an officer is seen on the video telling Kaplo he was speeding while driving north on Central Avenue from the direction of Clark, McMahon argues his client was driving east on South Avenue from Scotch Plains toward Garwood and was not in the place where police allege he is accused of speeding. The video proves it, he says.
Story continues below video.
As for the defense attorney’s ill-timed arrival at the court session Thursday, McMahon told a reporter there that trials in the Westfield Municipal Court typically do not start until later in the evening.
“We’re here for a trial,” McMahon told TAPinto Westfield. “The trials are at the end of the session.”
That the case was being heard at all in Westfield came as an unexpected turn. In August, Patel had ordered Kaplo’s case be moved to a municipal court outside of Westfield after McMahon took his case to the Town Council in an effort expedite a judicial decision for his client.
When Patel issued his decision to move the case outside of Westfield, McMahon then argued that court rules do not allow for a case to be moved to another jurisdiction eight months after the charges were lodged.
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Kaplo’s ticket would carry a $220 fine and four points if he were found guilty. But after reviewing the video, Westfield Police Chief in an email recommended that not happen.
“The video provided does create reasonable doubt as to whether the speeding violator observed by Officer [Samuel] Fourre was properly identified, and in the interest of justice, a recommendation for dismissal of the summons shall be made,” Battiloro stated.
Email Staff Writer Matt Kadosh at email@example.com; Follow him on Twitter: @MattKadosh
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