Release* Date: May 15, 2013
County Prosecutor’s Office
*News Release* Date: May 15, 2013
State Supreme Court rejects defense arguments in auto fatality
Middlesex County Acting Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey announced today that prosecutors are preparing for trial following a state Supreme Court ruling that bars the defense from making irrelevant legal arguments during the trial of a police lieutenant who is charged with causing a fatal car crash.
unanimous decision, the high court’s ruling clears the way for the trial of Lt.
Keith R. Buckley, a
The 25-page decision, written by Justice Anne M. Patterson, overturned an earlier decision by the Appellate Division of Superior Court which upheld a trial court ruling that determined a jury could consider whether the location of a utility pole and Lt. Zerby’s failure to wear a seat belt contributed to his death.
The Supreme Court ruled those defense contentions were irrelevant to the cause of Lt. Zerby’s death.
The ruling marks the first time the state Supreme Court has ruled on whether the failure to wear a seatbelt is relevant to the cause of a victim’s death in a car crash.
The ruling was handed down following arguments that were
presented to the high court on November 5, 2012, by Middlesex County Assistant
Prosecutor Joie D. Piderit.
The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office is
scheduled to appear before Superior Court Judge Bradley Ferencz
Lt. Buckley was charged with vehicular homicide and official misconduct after it was determined that he drove Lt. Zerby in a rented sports car on Route 130 in North Brunswick during work hours and crashed into the utility pole at 11:06 a.m. on August 12, 2008.
Lt. Zerby was pronounced dead at
As is the case with all criminal defendants, Lt. Buckley is presumed innocent until proven guilty.