Former South Jersey police chief’s conviction of lying to the FBI stands

David Madden
January 29, 2020 - 3:39 pm
Frank Nucera

David Madden/KYW Newsradio

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CAMDEN, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — The judge overseeing the assault and civil rights violation retrial of the former Bordentown police chief has decided not to dismiss the first jury’s guilty verdict on a single count of lying to the FBI.

Federal Judge Robert Kugler denied a motion from Frank Nucera’s attorney, Rocco Cipparone, that four white jurors felt pressured by three black jurors on the panel to render a guilty verdict or they’d be perceived as racist themselves.

Kugler said no one should be surprised that racism came up in the jury room because, bottom line, "that’s what this case is all about." 

Cipparone agrees, to a point.

"If he committed the conduct, then was it racially motivated? It’s based on the evidence. The discussions of racism should be about the allegations of Nucera’s racism, not that of jurors one way or the other," Cipparone told KYW Newsradio.

"While I certainly respect the court’s decision, I am disappointed by it," he added. "It certainly will be part of the appeals process for Mr. Nucera to appeal the court’s decision at the appropriate time."

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That will likely come after the scheduled mid-March retrial, in which Nucera is accused of assaulting a black teen during an arrest. The U.S. attorney argues that assault was prompted by racism on Nucera’s part.

Sentencing on the lying conviction is now scheduled for early March, with the judge suggesting he may go above recommended guidelines for first time offenders of zero to six months.

"This is not John Q. Citizen lying to the FBI," Kugler said. "This was a high ranking police officer."

The sentencing proceeding had been set for next week but was delayed to allow for completion of a pre-sentencing report and any response from the defense.