SPARTA, NJ – More than 21 months after his arrest for Driving While Intoxicated, Sparta Township Councilman Jerry Murphy’s court proceedings drag on.
The matter was moved to Hopatcong a few months after the arrest. According to Hopatcong Municipal Court Administrator Erin Geiger the court case has come to a “dead stop” while the Sussex County Prosecutor is conducting "an investigation." Further, while the investigation is ongoing there is little information available about the matter.
Several calls were placed to Sussex County Prosecutor Francis Koch’s office last week requesting information about the delays and the nature of the investigation. No one from that office has responded.
During the spring and summer months of 2017 the Hopatcong court held hearings to determine whether or not Sparta had probable cause to stop Murphy on the night of his arrest.
According to Geiger, the Sparta police department was found to have had probable cause to make the traffic stop. That decision was made shortly before the county prosecutor initiated his investigation according to the Hopatcong Municipal Court official.
Early on the morning of February 13, 2016 Sparta Police Officer Dan Elig followed Murphy as he left the White Deer Plaza because the officer saw Murphy was speeding and driving erratically on Mohawk Avenue and Main Street/ Route 517, according to the police report.
According to the police report at 1:05 a.m. Murphy was stopped at the Ogdensburg border, given a field sobriety test and arrested.
According to a New Jersey Courts Administrative Directive #07-84, DWI cases are recommended to be disposed of within 60 days.
The Sparta police department has had no comment since the matter was referred to a different jurisdiction shortly after Murphy’s arrest.