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Book details
  • Genre:TRUE CRIME
  • SubGenre:General
  • Language:English
  • Pages:160
  • eBook ISBN:9781935232704

Closing the Gap

The Trial of Trooper Robert Higbee

by D. William Subin

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Overview
Thirty-four-year-old New Jersey State Trooper Robert Higbee lay on his back in an Atlantic City Hospital room. His 6’8” frame hardly fit into the bed. Just hours before at 10:00 p.m., Higbee sustained a concussion when the patrol car in which he was “closing the gap” on a speeder, collided with a van crossing through an intersection ahead of him. Tragically, the two teenage sisters in the van died at the scene. The next morning, I received a phone call from the State Troopers Fraternal Association of New Jersey (STFA), the organization that represents the state’s law enforcement officers. I was already on their approved attorney’s list and had previously answered “critical incident matters” on their behalf. I was now being asked to represent Trooper Higbee regarding any repercussions related to the accident. Within an hour I was at the hospital. Higbee was still in a daze. I had no idea at that moment I met him, how closely our lives would become connected. Five months later, a Cape May County grand jury indicted Trooper Higbee on the charge of vehicular homicide, a crime that carries a penalty of up to twenty years in prison. My job was to establish conclusively that Higbee had acted neither intentionally nor recklessly, only that he had made a tragic mistake in the dark of night, at a poorly marked intersection in rural Cape May County, New Jersey. The heaviest burden that can be placed upon a defense attorney is in knowing that the fate of an innocent person rests in your hands. The following two-and-a-half years would prove to be the most demanding and excruciating I have ever experienced in my career as a criminal trial lawyer.
Description
Thirty-four-year-old New Jersey State Trooper Robert Higbee lay on his back in an Atlantic City Hospital room. His 6’8” frame hardly fit into the bed. Just hours before at 10:00 p.m., Higbee sustained a concussion when the patrol car in which he was “closing the gap” on a speeder, collided with a van crossing through an intersection ahead of him. Tragically, the two teenage sisters in the van died at the scene. The next morning, I received a phone call from the State Troopers Fraternal Association of New Jersey (STFA), the organization that represents the state’s law enforcement officers. I was already on their approved attorney’s list and had previously answered “critical incident matters” on their behalf. I was now being asked to represent Trooper Higbee regarding any repercussions related to the accident. Within an hour I was at the hospital. Higbee was still in a daze. I had no idea at that moment I met him, how closely our lives would become connected. Five months later, a Cape May County grand jury indicted Trooper Higbee on the charge of vehicular homicide, a crime that carries a penalty of up to twenty years in prison. My job was to establish conclusively that Higbee had acted neither intentionally nor recklessly, only that he had made a tragic mistake in the dark of night, at a poorly marked intersection in rural Cape May County, New Jersey. The heaviest burden that can be placed upon a defense attorney is in knowing that the fate of an innocent person rests in your hands. The following two-and-a-half years would prove to be the most demanding and excruciating I have ever experienced in my career as a criminal trial lawyer.
About the author
D. William Subin is an Attorney at Law admitted to practice in New Jersey and Washington, D.C. and before the U.S. Supreme Court and Courts of Appeals in the 3rd and District of Columbia Circuits. He was an Assistant United States Attorney in Washington, D.C. and Camden, N.J.; Senior Assistant Prosecutor in Camden County, New Jersey; and Assistant Prosecutor and Police Legal Advisor in Atlantic County, New Jersey. Since 1976 "Bill" has been in private practice representing police, fire and other federal, state and local law enforcement unions including the STFA, PBA, FOP, and others. He is a former chair, Criminal Law Section, New Jersey State Bar Association and an Adjunct Professor of Criminal Justice at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. Bill is a graduate of Columbia Law School, Dartmouth College and Atlantic City High School. He lives in Margate, New Jersey with his wife Petra “Petie” Subin and their two Portuguese Water Dogs. The Subins have three grown sons. Bill’s hobbies include back bay rowing, oil painting, and bicycling on the Atlantic City Boardwalk.
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