Officer pleads not guilty in Moriarty traffic stop

A still from police footage of Assemblyman Paul Moriarty's arrest. Moriarty had the video shown in his lawyer's office to support his case against Officer Joseph DiBuonaventura.
A still from police footage of Assemblyman Paul Moriarty's arrest. Moriarty had the video shown in his lawyer's office to support his case against Officer Joseph DiBuonaventura.
Posted: June 19, 2013

A Washington Township police officer pleaded not guilty Monday to official misconduct, falsifying records, and other offenses stemming from a traffic stop last summer of Assemblyman Paul D. Moriarty (D., Gloucester).

Joseph DiBuonaventura, a 17-year veteran of the force, wrote in a police report that he stopped Moriarty on July 31 on the Black Horse Pike in Turnersville after the legislator cut him off. He said he smelled alcohol on Moriarty's breath and ordered him out of the car.

Video footage from DiBuonaventura's car showed his vehicle parked on the median and then his chasing Moriarty.

Moriarty, a former Washington Township mayor, showed the footage at a news conference days after the arrest. He said that he was driving lawfully in the right lane and did not change lanes without signaling.

Last month, a grand jury indicted DiBuonaventura. Shortly afterward, a Superior Court judge dropped the charges against Moriarty of driving while intoxicated, refusal to submit to a chemical test, and driving on marked lanes.

DiBuonaventura entered his plea in Superior Court in Gloucester County, said Bernie Weisenfeld, a spokesman for the county Prosecutor's Office.

Weisenfeld said Michael Curwin, an assistant prosector, told the court that if DiBuonaventura agreed to plead guilty, the Prosecutor's Office would recommend the mandatory official misconduct sentence of five years in state prison.

If convicted on all the charges, including tampering with records, DiBuonaventura would face decades in prison.

He has been suspended without pay since Nov. 26.

A spokesman for Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, the Haddon Heights law firm representing the officer, could not reached.

In the video from DiBuonaventura's car, Moriarty appears to pass field sobriety tests. He declined to submit to a breath test, later saying he did not think he could trust the process.

In October, he filed a criminal complaint against DiBuonaventura, accusing him of official misconduct, perjury, and other infractions.


Contact Darran Simon at 856-779-3829 or at dsimon@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @darransimon.

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