NJ Superior Court Upholds Waterfront Commission Subpoena of Longshoreman
Date: June 10, 2011
On June 10, 2011, New Jersey Superior Court Judge Martin Kravarik denied the motion of longshoreman Salvatore LaGrasso, Jr. to quash a subpoena requiring him to appear as a witness at a Commission hearing against hiring agent Pasquale Pontoriero. Pontoriero has been charged with violating the Waterfront Commission Act by associating with Tino Fiumara and Stephen DePiro, who are convicted racketeers, career criminals and members or associates of organized crime. LaGrasso, who has been charged by federal indictment with Conspiracy to Commit Extortion and Extortion, argued that the subpoena requiring his appearance would result in self-incrimination.
After oral argument, Judge Kravarik held that LaGrasso may not invoke the Fifth Amendment by a "blanket" refusal to testify. Instead, the Court held that in order to assert the privilege, LaGrasso must first comply with the subpoena, appear as a witness, and be asked questions. Accordingly, LaGrasso's motion to quash was denied and the Commission's subpoena was upheld.