WESTFIELD, NJ — A Clark man who was issued a speeding ticket in Westfield 10 months ago got that summons dismissed after numerous court appearances, significant legal expense and the intervention of the Union County Prosecutor's Office.
Police pulled over Marek Kaplo, 37, on Jan. 13 for an alleged speeding violation — an offense he repeatedly claimed dash cam videos prove did not occur. While the officer is seen on the video telling Kaplo he was speeding while driving north on Central Avenue from the direction of Clark, Kaplo has argued he was driving east on South Avenue from Scotch Plains toward Garwood.
On the advice of Union County acting First Assistant Prosecutor Doreen Yanik, Municipal Court Judge Parag P. Patel ordered the case dismissed Oct. 29, a court administrator said Monday.
In an Oct. 22 letter to Patel, Yanik said that she was superseding the Westfield Municipal Prosecutor and that following her review of the front and rear facing dash cam videos, moved to dismiss the ticket.
“It is the state’s position that the prosecution cannot sustain its burden of proof,” Yanik stated.
Defense attorney Joshua McMahon had previously sought the intervention of the Westfield Town Council.
“Those dash camera videos make it incontrovertibly, crystal clear that the police officers charged the wrong person,” McMahon told the council in August.
The story continues below the video.
Mayor Shelley Brindle then deferred to the court's authority and again did so following the case’s completion. Brindle referred this reporter to the town’s spokeswoman, Kim Forde.
“Neither the Mayor nor the Council gets involved in any matter being adjudicated by the judicial system,” Forde said.
Police Chief Chris Battiloro in an Aug. 14 email had recommended the ticket be dismissed — something Yanik noted in her letter.
“The Westfield Police Department has previously requested that this summons be dismissed,” Yanik wrote.
NJ Advance Media had first reported that Kaplo was prepared to spend thousands of dollars to fight the summons. If he were found guilty that summons would carry a $220 fine and a penalty of four points.
Following McMahon’s appearance before the Town Council, Municipal Court Judge Patel ordered the case be transferred to another court — a transfer that did not occur.
Kaplo found himself back in the Westfield Municipal Court on Oct. 10 where a special prosecutor assigned to the case departed the courtroom before Kaplo’s attorney arrived.
Town Attorney Tom Jardim addressed the timing of the case.
“As always, the priority with any court case is to uphold the integrity of the judicial process,” Jardim said. “Timing delays are not uncommon as a case progresses, as was the situation here — due to issues that occurred on both sides of the case. I’m pleased to see that the system worked as it should and brought the case to conclusion.”
On Monday, McMahon expressed his appreciation to the Westfield Police Chief and Union County Prosecutor’s office.
“We … appreciate the Police Chief and Union County Prosecutor taking action to finally end this miscarriage of justice,” McMahon said.
Email Staff Writer Matt Kadosh at firstname.lastname@example.org; Follow him on Twitter: @MattKadosh
Click here to view the prosecutor's letter recommending the case be dismissed.
MORE: Was Clark Man Wrongly Given Speeding Ticket in Westfield?
MORE: Clark Man’s Speeding Ticket Case Again Delayed in Westfield
MORE: Contested Westfield Speeding Ticket Case Headed Out of Town, Judge Rules