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Catch, Release: Franklin Lakes PD Keeps Nabbing Court Skippers

Franklin Lakes police continue to pick off drivers with outstanding warrants.
Franklin Lakes police continue to pick off drivers with outstanding warrants. Photo Credit: Boyd A. Loving

FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J. – One of the staples of police work, the traffic stop, continues to produce a bounty of arrests in Franklin Lakes – often of people arrested elsewhere who then skipped court.

The only "catch," though is that all had to be released, courtesy of under New Jersey’s 2017 bail reform law.

Two were stopped Wednesday morning – both from Mahwah.

Christopher Atwood, 36, was wanted out of Howell Township and Trenton, Franklin Lakes police said they discovered after he was stopped on Ewing Avenue just after 7:30 a.m.

Atwood also was driving with a suspended license, Capt. John Bakelaar said.

Fellow Mahwah resident Brani Martinez-Bueno, 25, also was driving on a suspended license when he was stopped just after 11:15 a.m. on Route 208, Bakelaar said.

Martinez-Bueno was wanted for skipping court in Wyckoff, the captain said.

As with their previous arrests, both drivers were released on summonses.

So were several others stopped and arrested by Franklin Lakes officers.

Civil libertarians who convinced New Jersey's Legislature to approve the Bail Reform & Speedy Trial Act -- signed into law by Gov. Christie -- say the jails are now being used for high-risk offenders.

Before, they said, dangerous criminals were able to produce bail money, while poorer defendants who posed less of a danger had to sit in jail.

Law enforcement officers and prosecutors say all the reform has done is flood the streets with repeat offenders, some of whom become more dangerous as a result.

SEE: NJ Bail Reform Slashes Jail Population: Good Or Bad?

Most simply produce more work for courts and law enforcement, knowing there are no immediate penalties for not going to court. No sooner are they processed than they're back on the street, with no plans to show up in court to answer however many summonses the officer who arrested them wrote out.

Naval Ormsby, 22, of Paterson was charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia after a Route 208 stop in Franklin Lakes just after 10:30 a.m. Monday.

The day before, another suspended driver, 34-year-old Steven Mason of Fostoria, OH, was caught with a hypodermic needle and drug paraphernalia after he was stopped for speeding on Route 287 stop, Bakelaar said.

Saturday brought a pair of traffic-stop arrests.

Deenip Chatterjee, 56, of Franklin Lakes was charged with DWI, reckless driving and failing to keep right on Colonial Road just before 8 p.m.

Pablo Gioriando, 32, of Oakland was arrested on a warrant out of Haledon after a stop on Franklin Avenue just after 12:30 a.m.

All were released under the state’s bail reform law.

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