BAYONNE HOUSING AUTHORITY VS. SINCERRAE ROSS (LT-007964-19, HUDSON COUNTY AND STATEWIDE)

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NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION This opinion shall not "constitute precedent or be binding upon any court." Although it is posted on the internet, this opinion is binding only on the parties in the case and its use in other cases is limited. R. 1:36-3. SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY APPELLATE DIVISION DOCKET NO. A-1737-19 BAYONNE HOUSING AUTHORITY, Plaintiff-Respondent, v. SINCERRAE ROSS, Defendant-Appellant. _______________________ Submitted March 15, 2021 – Decided July 14, 2021 Before Judges Suter and Smith. On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Hudson County, Docket No. LT- 007964-19. Roberta L. Tarkan, attorney for appellant. Kathleen A. Walrod, attorney for respondent. PER CURIAM Defendant Sincerrae Ross is a tenant of plaintiff Bayonne Housing Authority (BHA), which operates the public housing complex where defendant resides. Among other alleged violations, plaintiff charged defendant with breaching her lease by permitting an unauthorized person, her children's father, to receive mail and live at the residence. As a result, plaintiff sent defendant a notice of termination of tenancy and demand for possession. The BHA scheduled an administrative hearing to address the unauthorized resident issue. However, defendant failed to appear, and the hearing officer dismissed the matter. Plaintiff then filed a complaint for possession and the matter was listed for trial. At trial, plaintiff offered into evidence a BHA-generated address information request form (postal form). Plaintiff routinely employed the postal form to determine who received mail at their apartment complex. The court admitted the postal form into evidence without objection from defense counsel.1 The court found defendant violated the lease by receiving the children's father's mail at the apartment. The court found that plaintiff failed to prove the 1 We glean this fact from the trial court's written statement of reasons supporting its denial of defendant's subsequent order to show cause seeking vacation of the judgment of possession. Appellant did not supply a record of the trial transcript. R. 2:5-4(a). A-1737-19 2 children's father lived at the apartment. The court issued a judgment of possession against defendant for violating the provision of her lease preventing receipt of mail at the apartment by unauthorized persons. Defendant sought to vacate the judgment of possession by filing an order to show cause with the court. Defendant objected to the hearsay nature of the postal form for the first time at the show cause hearing. In its written statement of reasons denying defendant's order to show cause, the court noted that William Henderson, a BHA employee, testified he sent the postal form to the United States Post Office on September 4, 2018, and that the post office returned the form to him on September 8, 2018. The court found the BHA-generated postal form was excepted from the hearsay rule pursuant to N.J.R.E. 803(c)(8). Defendant then moved for reconsideration of the court's denial of the order to show cause. The trial court denied reconsideration, and defendant appeals. Defendant argues before us that the postal form was inadmissible hearsay, and that …

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