12/11/2007New Jersey: Meter Maid Helps Criminal Escape Justice
Police in Bayonne, New Jersey charge an overzealous meter maid with allowing a criminal to escape justice.
A stubborn meter maid in Bayonne, New Jersey was arrested Friday after her insistence on issuing a parking ticket allegedly interfered with a police sting operation. Susan Wojtkowski, 38, saw an unmarked car that had overstayed at a meter. When she came over to issue a ticket, the detectives inside flashed their badges at her. The detectives, who claimed to have been undercover, entered into a shouting match with the meter maid when she refused to go away, the Jersey Journal reported.
The detectives claim that the drug suspect they were watching starting moving during the argument. When they tried to pull out and follow in their car, Wojtkowski stood in front of it to block their motion while she finished the ticket. Once she had placed it on the windshield, it was too late. The police lost the suspect, according to the police account.
The detectives later looked up Wojtkowski's information from the citation, obtained an arrest warrant and charged her with obstructing a governmental function. Wojtkowski faces arraignment on December 18.
Although "obstructing the investigation or detection of a crime" is a serious offense, the meter maid has a strong defense. She, too, was a "public servant performing an official function" obstructed in the performance of her duty, under New Jersey law. The state must not only prove that Wojtkowski "placed an obstacle to prevent a public servant from performing an official function," but also that she did so on purpose.