A state appellate court on Wednsesday upheld former Hamilton Township Deputy Mayor Charles Cain’s January 2011 arrest on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, the third time state courts have ruled against him.
“Neither the municipal court nor the Law Division found defendant (Cain)’s proof sufficient to undermine the credibility of (Hamilton Township Police Officers Peter) Burns and (Christopher) Gehring,” the court found in its 10-page ruling. “Granting the considerable deference the two-court rule demands, we see nothing in the record that causes us to disturb the findings of the Law Division.”
The two-court rule generally requires that when two lower courts agree, state appellate courts should uphold their rulings barring “a very obvious and exceptional” error. Cain pleaded guilty in February 2012, and the Law Division upheld the conviction in August 2012.
“I fully expected this, so it’s no shock to me,” Cain said. He was unclear about what he planned to do now but pledged he would “pursue any and all measures” for justice. Cain had alleged township police targeted him for retribution following his January 2011 vote on police layoffs.
Cain had also filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the township Police Department and officers, making similar claims. That suit was dismissed for lack of prosecution in August 2013 after his attorney, Conrad J. Benedetto, failed to file an amended complaint. Cain declined to comment Wednesday on Benedetto’s actions, and Benedetto said he was not at liberty to discuss the case.
Benedetto had also represented Nicholas and Jason Dare, a pair of brothers who had sued township police alleging harassment and retaliation. Jason Dare’s suit was dropped following inaction, while Nicholas Dare’s suit was reinstated last month and remains active.
Hamilton Police Chief Stacy Tappeiner announced the Cain decision in a statement. Tappeiner said he found Cain’s public comments about the arresting officers “very disturbing.”
However, “I have spoken with the officers who made the arrest. One officer was laid off shortly after arresting Deputy Mayor Cain, and it appears they are not going to file a civil action against Hamilton Township or Deputy Mayor Cain at this time,” Tappeiner wrote. “The court has found that the officers clearly acted professionally.”
Staff Writer Steve Hughes contributed to this report.
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