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Vol. 2, No. 31 DECISIONS RELEASED FEBRUARY 23, 1994 CONSUMER PROTECTION – AUTOMOBILES 09-2-2676 Wilson E. Flowers v. Robert John Fox, App. Div. (4 pp.) Where car owner — who first brought his car to an auto mechanic for installation of a transmission and larger engine, and was charged an added cost for additional parts not included in original agreement — sued auto mechanic pro se for cost of repairs, trial court erred (1) in awarding damages to car owner, since there was no support for his contentions in record and (2) in raising consumer fraud act, which neither party alleged, because there was no testimony about work orders in evidence to ascertain whether there was compliance with consumer fraud regulations. ENVIRONMENT 17-2-2677 New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and Energy (DEPE) v. T.E. Warren, Inc., App. Div. (5 pp.) Where DEPE sued defendant for placing “deleterious … substances” into fresh or tidal waters of the state, in violation of N.J.S.A. 23:5-28(a), when defendant excavated a small lake out of a stream bed that emptied into Delaware Bay, trial judge properly dismissed DEPE’s complaint, (1) since sediment occurs naturally, DEPE had to prove that defendant’s actions actually harmed fish and wildlife, and (2) this activity is governed by the soil erosion and sediment control act, N.J.S.A. 4:24-39 et seq., which provides that an enforcement action is brought by the local municipality or the local soil conservation district. FAMILY LAW 20-2-2678 Paul V. Kanitra v. Michele M. Kanitra, App. Div. (6 pp.) Where husband sued wife for termination of alimony payments because he contended that pursuant to divorce agreement he only had to pay alimony for seven years, and wife contended that she could not work because she had epilepsy, case was remanded for a plenary hearing, since trial court must interpret the inherent meaning of parties’ agreement — that is, did they intend at agreement’s inception that in seven years the alimony obligation would cease or simply be reconsidered? CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE 14-2-2679 State v. M.B., App. Div. (11 pp.) Where defendant confessed to police officers that he had sexual relations with his minor daughter several times and during trial testimony denied everything, trial court properly held that defendant’s confession was voluntary, since defendant was read his rights and trial judge determined that police officer’s account of defendant’s interrogation was accurate. 14-2-2680 State v. John Caratella, App. Div. (5 pp.) Even though trial court erred in admitting defendant’s telephone number from witness’s caller identification machine — because no foundation was laid for admission of the caller identification and no testimony was elicited that witness’s machine was in proper working order — admission was harmless, since police are entitled to use caller identification number as an investigative tool, which is what they did. 14-2-2681 State v. Christopher Foster, App. Div. (7 pp.) Where defendant had gotten out of his pickup truck at a rest stop and left truck door ajar, and police officer, believing truck was abandoned, observed through open driver’s side door an ashtray that contained partially smoked marijuana cigarettes and then searched truck further, finding marijuana in a shoe box on truck floor, trial court properly admitted evidence of truck search, since finding of marijuana cigarettes constituted probable cause to conduct warrantless search of defendant’s truck. 14-2-2682 State v. Ramon Melo, App. Div. (4 pp.) Where state did not know about defendant’s prior conviction until it received pre-sentence report, trial court erred in denying state’s motion to extend defendant’s prison term — where prosecutor stated that no basis existed for waiving an extended term, but did not give reasons why an extended term was warranted — since prosecutor presented a sufficient basis to require a judge to consider the merits of a motion for an extended term. 14-4-2683 State in the interest of J.S., Ch. Div. (10 pp.) Where juvenile was judged delinquent several times for sexually assaulting female juveniles and state moved for referral hearing several times pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:4A-26, which judge prolonged for two years because he did not want to disrupt the juvenile’s rehabilitation progress, judge erred in prolonging the timing of juvenile’s referral hearing, since when a juvenile is placed in a rehabilitation program before a referral hearing, that juvenile can no longer meet his burden under N.J.S.A 2A:4A- 26 if he fails the program; still, the court ruled that it was harmless error because the juvenile in the case was 17 years old and he could not meet referral age requirements. [Approved for publication on Feb. 23, 1994]. 14-2-2684 State v. Carl Taylor, Jr., App. Div. (10 pp.) Where daughter — who accused father of sexually abusing her — at beginning of videotaped statement indicated that vaginal bleeding was caused by mother inserting medicine and mother made her blame father, and interview continued for two more hours until daughter accused father, despite daughter’s requests to stop interview, trial judge erred in admitting videotape, since interviewers sought answers that would accuse father and critical part of interview took place off-camera.

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