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Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, Affirms Waterfront Commission’s Revocation of Longshoreman’s Registration

September 28, 2011

           On September 27, 2011, Judges Mary Cuff and Alexander P. Waugh of the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, affirmed the decision of the Waterfront Commission to revoke the registration of longshoreman Perfecto Corbacho.

            Corbacho had been charged with, among other things: (1) exhibiting a pattern of sexual deviant behavior between 1974 and 2008 resulting in various arrests for sexual offenses, including lewdness, solicitation, and criminal sexual contact; (2) committing two acts involving theft of property between 1980 and 1992; and (3) failing to notify the Commission within twenty days of two of his arrests.  After a hearing, an Administrative Law Judge found that the Commission had sustained all of the charges, and recommended a one-year suspension of Corbacho’s registration.  After a review of the entire record of the hearing, multiple examinations under oath and the ALJ’s Report and Recommendations, the Commission, by Order dated October 26, 2010, revoked Corbacho’s registration as a longshoreman.  The Commission concurred with the ALJ’s findings but, in light of Corbacho’s extensive history of arrests and failure to report same, modified the recommendation from a one-year suspension to a revocation.

            On appeal, Mr. Corbacho argued that the Commission’s penalty of revocation was too severe, and his registration should only have been suspended for one year.  However, Judges Cuff and Waugh noted that “[w]hen the issue is the severity of a sanction, we must generally defer to the judgment of the agency, particularly when the agency is vested with authority to regulate the conduct of a discrete set of employees or professionals.”  The Court observed that, while the sanction imposed by the Commission was severe, there was “. . . no basis to disturb the decision of the agency as it discharges its statutory function to preserve the peace and safety of the waterfront district.”  Accordingly, the Court affirmed the Commission’s revocation of Corbacho’s registration.
 
A complete copy of the Court’s Opinion is attached:PDF

 

 

Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor