Judge Orders Woman To Pay Her Attorney

Posted: May 15, 1994

WOODBURY — A Turnersville woman who was ticketed in 1988 by Glassboro police for driving her motorized wheelchair at dusk without lights has been ordered to pay her attorney for defending her.

On May 5, Superior Court Judge Ernest L. Alvino overruled Monica Himes' objection to an order that allows her husband's wages to be garnisheed to help pay the $2,213.59 she owes. Alvino ordered that Himes pay her former Woodbury attorney, Dale Lundquist, $60 every two weeks.

Himes, 40, has multiple sclerosis. The case that contributed to her debt to Lundquist arose Dec. 19, 1988, when she was ticketed after picking up a prescription at a drugstore.

According to Himes, she was crossing Main Street at Heston Road in Glassboro in her wheelchair about 5:45 p.m. when a car nearly ran her over. Himes took down the license number and called police as soon as she got home.

When Glassboro Patrolman John DeHart arrived, he issued a summons against the driver and one against Himes for not having a light on her wheelchair or enough reflectors.

Glassboro Municipal Court Judge Jay R. Powell threw out the charge against Himes in March 1989. He determined that the wheelchair was not subject to the restrictions or requirements of a motor vehicle.

Lundquist, who said he had charged Himes only half his hourly wage, said he lost patience with the slow payment schedule last year upon learning that Himes had sold the family house for a profit and still not repaid him. He said the Himeses then offered to pay $25 a month, but he refused.

The current repayment schedule does not completely satisfy Lundquist, who noted that he would not be paid in full until several years after he did the work. However, he had some sympathy for Himes.

"They're not wealthy people, and they're not having an easy time of things," Lundquist said. "But neither am I."

In court papers filed in April, Himes said garnisheeing the wage would have dire consequences on her family, which includes two children. She said her husband, Thomas, who works in the Gloucester County probation department, could not afford to lose any more of his $24,000 annual salary.

Reached after the ruling, Himes said she did not know how her family would manage to pay Lundquist.

"I'm trying to figure out how to feed our children," she said.

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