Non-Governmental Employment Official Misconduct – State v. Perez

This morning’s per curiam Supreme Court decision in State v. Perez provides an important clarification and expansion of criminal liability for official misconduct. The defendant in Perez was charged with conspiracy to commit official misconduct (2nd degree) on the basis of an agreement he made with the head clerk of a DMV agency for the delivery of fraudulent DMV documents. The Agency in question had been previously “privatized” and was run by an independent entity that had no connection to the State. The defendant’s argument was that he could not be convicted of the conspiracy charge because the individual with whom he conspired was not an employee of any political subdivision of the State of New Jersey.

The Justices rejected this argument and held that because the DMV agency was performing an essential governmental function, the actions of the head clerk in agreeing to provide the documents, constituted official misconduct. Accordingly, the defendant could, as a matter of law, conspire with her to commit this crime.

Download a copy of State v. Perez

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