By ROBERT LINNEHAN | The Haddonfield Sun
A local couple appeared in a rights hearing last week at the Haddonfield Municipal Court in regard to several charges stemming from an alleged June 16 alcohol gathering.
Douglas and Martha Oswald appeared in court with their attorney, Matthew S. Wolf, facing charges of hosting an alcohol gathering, maintaining a nuisance and obstruction of justice. Haddonfield police allege that on June 30 the Oswalds — and a relative, Louis Goettelmann — hosted a party where a number of juveniles were drinking alcohol.
The court case will be heard in the Haddon Heights Municipal Court system instead of in Haddonfield’s at the behest of Wolf. He would not comment as to why he or the Oswalds requested the court case be held in Haddon Heights.
According to a representative of the Haddon Heights Municipal Court, the Oswalds are scheduled to appear on Tuesday, July 27 at 5:30 p.m.
In regard to the charges, Wolf said for the record there were no minors being served alcohol at the function.
“The Oswalds were having a birthday party for an 80-year-old grandparent. She will testify if necessary. This was not a high school graduation party or an underage drinking party of any kind. Alcohol was not being served to minors,” said Wolf in an e-mail to The Sun. “Not one single minor or student was even alleged by the police to have engaged in any kind of alcohol use in this case. The Oswalds look forward to clearing their name when the case goes to trial in Haddon Heights.”
According to the Haddonfield Police Department’s police report, on June 16 at 11:13 p.m. an officer responded to Estaugh Avenue investigating a report of criminal mischief.
The officer arrived on the scene and heard noises consistent with a party coming from a residential home that he had problems with in the past.
The officer radioed in backup before approaching the home.
The officer instructed his partner to go to the rear of the home, as in times past juveniles had run from the home out the back when the officers were seen.
The officer who went to the back yard heard several juveniles up on a raised deck and under it, but he could only hear the suspects under the deck.
According to the report he could see the juveniles drinking on the deck and he recognized several faces from Haddonfield Memorial High School.
According to the report, the suspects saw the officer and immediately mentioned that the “cops are here.”
A few said they were only 17 and couldn’t be caught, the officer noted in his report, and began speaking about the school district’s 24–7 policy.
The officers said Martha Oswald came out to the deck at one point and told the suspects to come inside because the police officers couldn’t enter the home without a search warrant.
The officers approached the home and were told several times that it was a party for a relative and to leave the property. The officers allege that they stayed near the home and saw several juveniles leave in groups throughout the evening.
One suspect was arrested by police after leaving the home and jumping into a car driven by a friend.
Officers noted that the 18-year-old female suspect had alcohol on her breath.
The officers arrested the suspect and took her back to headquarters where she was processed and charged with underage consumption of alcohol. She was remanded to her mother.