On June 21, 2007, the New Jersey Supreme Court decided a case that can be very helpful to police administrations in making administrative, disciplinary charges stick following a criminal investigation which results in acquittal or a decision not to prosecute.
I have observed a common misconception among police administrations that often believe that when an officer is the subject of a criminal investigation, and the determination is made not to prosecute the officer criminally (often through what is commonly known as a “check-off letter”), there is then forty-five days from that determination in which administrative disciplinary charges must be brought. I have argued for years that the forty-five (45) day rule of N.J.S.A.40A:14-147 allows time to continue investigation after receipt of a check-off letter or acquittal in most if not all cases, and the forty-five (45) day “clock” starts ticking only when such an internal administrative investigation is complete, rather than on the date of the check-off letter or acquittal.
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