Police & Fire

Sparta Councilman Murphy's DWI Charges Still Not Settled After One Year

5e6ca01eaae22b46e4e2_IMG_1457.JPG
Sparta Township Councilman Jerry Murphy takes his oath of office Jan 2017 Credits: Jennifer Dericks
5e6ca01eaae22b46e4e2_IMG_1457.JPG

SPARTA, NJ – More than a year after being charged with driving while intoxicated, Sparta Councilman Jerry Murphy has still not had his day in court, but that could soon change.

Murphy’s case, being heard in Hopatcong Municipal Court, is scheduled to be heard Feb. 22. A representative from the court said they did not have any information about why it is taking so long to settle the matter, although a court administrator said there were “a number of issues” at play and suggested Sparta Municipal Court might provide more details.

An Open Public Meetings Act request to the Sparta Municipal Court revealed only one order related Murphy’s case. Dated Nov. 12, 2016, it granted the state’s motion to quash or stop Murphy’s attorney, George Daggett, from obtaining documentation through a subpoena. However, the order allowed Daggett to subpoena a police dispatcher to provide testimony. 

Sign Up for E-News

When asked why the matter has not yet been settled, Daggett - through a representative from his office - said he would not comment on an active case.

Part of the delay has been related to finding a court to hear the case. The court date and venue have changed several times. The case was moved at least twice from Sparta; was briefly assigned to Wantage and finally landed in Hopatcong. The Hopatcong court reported several hearing dates including June 20, 2016 and Nov. 21, 2016.

Sparta Police Public Information Officer Detective Dennis Proctor's only comment was that the Sparta Police had completed their required paperwork "within days of the arrest."  Proctor said that was the extent of their involvement in the matter.

Murphy was arrested Feb. 13, 2016 after being pulled over by Sparta Police Officer Dan Elig. Elig was conducting “speed enforcement,” on Mohawk Avenue when he observed Murphy speeding and driving erratically as he followed him down the road and onto Route 517, police said. 

Elig’s report says Murphy’s 2007 Toyota was clocked at 34 mph in a 25 mph zone.  The report further says Murphy’s car “continuously drifted right straddling at times the white fog line.”

Murphy was stopped at the Ogdensburg border, police said.  According to the arrest report, Murphy showed Elig an “open bi-fold wallet” that “was displaying a gold badge that read ‘Mayor Sparta Township’”

In addition to Elig, Sparta Police Sgt. Joseph Pensado and Ogdensburg Police Officer David Cowdrick were on the scene when Murphy, suspected of being intoxicated, was asked to perform field sobriety tests. 

Several Sparta Township Council members said they have no knowledge of the court proceedings or issues with Murphy’s DWI charges. Initially they released a statement through the Sparta Police Department that read, in part, “The Mayor and Council are troubled and extremely concerned by this event and view it as a very serious matter.”

Murphy was reelected to the council in November 2016, having run unopposed. He continues to sit on the Sparta Planning Board as well.

According to state law, a person convicted of DWI with a blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit of 0.08 percent will be fined between $250 and $400, require 12 to 48 hours in an Intoxicated Driver Resource Center, spend up to 30 days in jail and be forced to turn in their driver’s license for three months. 

Penalties are tougher on motorists found with higher blood alcohol concentrations, previous DWI convictions and having been convicted of DWI in a school zone. 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Sparta

Sparta Police: Blocked Plate Ends with Drug Charges

April 16, 2018

SPARTA, NJ – A Phillipsburg man pulled over for a traffic stop, ended up facing drug charges on April 11.  Around 7:55 p.m. on Route 15 Sparta Police Officer Steven Guido stopped a silver Saturn Ion for having an obstructed license plate, police report.

Charles Williams, 29, was driving with two passengers in the car.  When speaking with Williams, Guido smelled marijuana in the ...

Sparta Police: Running a Red Light ends with Drug Charges

SPARTA, NJ – A man stopped for driving through a red light on Route 15 wound up facing drug charges.  On March 30 Sparta Police Officer Thomas Herd pulled over Steven Lassends, 27in a black Infinity, on Route 15, police say.

When the officer spoke with the Montague resident, Herd smelled raw marijuana.  Herd, with the assistance of Sgt. Pensado, Cpl. Antonello and Police ...

Sparta Police: Traffic Stop Ends in Pot Arrest

SPARTA, NJ – A man from Ogdensburg is facing pot charges after a traffic stop on April 4 around 11 p.m. Police Office Thomas Herd pulled over a green Honda driven by John Malone, 23 for failing to move to the right lane, police report.

Herd smelled marijuana when speaking with Malone.  Malone admitted there was a “small marijuana roach” left in his car by a friend.

The Issue of Alternatives to Elected School Boards

April 14, 2018

The time of electing local school boards should come to an end. According to the National School Boards Association, “the local school board is a critical public link to public schools. Whether elected or appointed, school board members serve their communities in several important ways. First and foremost, school boards look out for students. Education is not a line item on the school ...

Upcoming Events

Sun, April 22, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River

Education

Sun, April 29, 3:30 PM

Codey Arena, West Orange

Girls Try Hockey Free Clinic

Sports

Fri, May 4, 7:00 PM

Sparta Evangelical Free Church, Sparta

Veritas Christian Academy presents The Music Man

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_1d32c56f1d9651d97a4d_4571683b0fc541ec405e_360_x_300_image_for_website_posts_copy

Sun, May 6, 7:00 AM

Liberty State Park, Jersey City

11th Annual Susan G. Komen North Jersey Race for ...

Health & Wellness

Sun, May 13, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River

Education

Sun, May 27, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River

Education

Sun, June 10, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River

Education

Sun, June 24, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River

Education

Newton Council Candidates Call for Elections to be Moved

April 12, 2018

NEWTON, NJ – Four candidates for the Town of Newton Council have the same idea; move the election for council members to the November general elections.  Candidates Matt Dickson and Jason Schlaffer and Ludmilla Mecaj and Wayne Levante just do not agree on how to make that happen.

As a Faulkner Act town, Newton originally established their non-partisan elections to be held separately ...

Six 11th Congressional District Candidates Attend 'Town Hall Project Morristown' to Answer Questions on Gun Control

April 9, 2018

MORRISTOWN, NJ - Following a massive turnout of over 13,000 people at last month’s March for Our Lives Morristown rally, the students behind the march organized an event called “The Town Hall for Our Lives.” This event brought together 11th Congressional District candidates who were questioned by student panelists about their views on gun control and how make schools ...

Home Buying Myths Slayed

Team Nest Builder wants YOU to know the truths about buying a New Jersey home!

Some Highlights:


The average down payment for first-time homebuyers is only 6%!


Despite mortgage interest rates being over 4%, rates are still below historic numbers.


88% of property managers raised their rents in the last 12 months!


The credit score requirements for mortgage ...

Buy A Home To Build Your Family's Wealth

Over the next five years, home prices are expected to appreciate, on average, by 3.6% per year and to grow by 18.2% cumulatively, according to Pulsenomics’ most recent Home Price Expectation Survey. Team Nest Builder wants you to understand what that means for homeowners and their equity positions.

As an example, let’s assume a young couple purchased and closed on a $250,000 home ...

Now’s the Time to Buy Your NJ Luxury Home

House no longer fits your needs? Planning on buying a New Jersey luxury home? Now is the time to do so!

Recently, the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing released its Luxury Market Report which showed that in today’s premium home market, buyers are in control.  The inventory of homes for sale in the luxury market far exceeds the number of people searching to purchase these ...

Buy a Home NOW Before Mortgage Rates Climb Higher

Whether you’re a buyer searching for your first home, or a homeowner looking to move up to your next home, Team Nest Builder knows you should pay attention to where mortgage interest rates are heading.

Over the course of 2018, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, rates increased from 3.95% in the first week of January to 4.40% in the first week of April.

At ...

6 Simple Decorating Tricks for Your NJ Home

Ever watched “Trading Spaces” and wondered, “How do they pull together a beautiful room so quickly?”  Team Nest Builder knows! Read on for these 6 simple decorating tricks from the newly relaunched “Trading Spaces” stars.  You’ll be amazed at what a difference they make in your New Jersey home!

Let Your Heart Choose Your Art

Laurie Smith ...

Clean Your Closet and Help Sussex County Children By Donating Shoes

You know those shoes in the back of your closet that scream.”I grew up watching “Friends”’? Team Nest Builder wants to help YOU get rid of them while doing good for Sussex County children, through the Sojihuggles Children’s Foundation.

Now through May 15th, donate your gently worn, used or new shoes to help underprivileged children in Sussex County while ...

Want to avoid gaining weight? Don’t diet!

Researchers aiming to identify lifestyle factors related to weight management followed more than 4,500 young adults (average age 24) for ten years. At the end of the study period, 77% of the men and 72% of the women had gained weight. The lifestyle factors associated with no weight gain among the remaining 23% of the men and 28% of women were regular eating patterns (not skipping meals) and no ...

Free Family Expo Offers Resources and Fun Activities

April 20, 2018

Northern New Jersey parents and children are invited to Project Self-Sufficiency’s annual Family Expo, Thursday, April 26th, 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.  Workshops for parents will be supplemented by children’s activities, dinner, gift card raffles and other events.  The Family Expo is sponsored by the Sussex County Family Success Center at Project Self-Sufficiency and Project ...