Who decides whether to plead guilty or go to trial?

Who decides whether to plead guilty or go to trial?, Sixth Amendment, trial by jury, cross-examination, confrontation, waiver, New Jersey, NJ, Atlantic County, Bergen County, Burlington County, Camden County, Cape May County, Cumberland County, Essex County, Gloucester County, Hudson County, Hunterdon County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Morris County, Ocean County, Passaic County, Salem County, Somerset County, Sussex County, Union County, Warren County, criminal defense, traffic ticket, juvenile, attorney, lawyerThe nerve! A man accused of a four-month crime spree that included two killings and several armed robberies turned down the State’s final plea offer this week. The crime spree allegedly began July 2014 and lasted until October. Additionally, the evidence against him will allegedly include DNA found on the defendant’s sweatshirt at the scene, text messages between the defendant and his girlfriend, and the testimony of several witnesses.

Therefore, the State had offered a 60-year prison sentence. Since the defendant rejected this offer, however, he will go to trial in June and possibly get a life sentence. But really, what is the difference between the State’s offer and the possibility of life imprisonment? Read more


Arraignment, R. 3:9-1

Arraignment, R. 3:9-1, right to counsel, sixth amendment, article 1 paragraph 10, U.S. Constitution, New Jersey Constitution, grand jury, indictment, New Jersey, Atlantic County, Bergen County, Burlington County, Camden County, Cape May County, Cumberland County, Essex County, Gloucester County, Hudson County, Hunterdon County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Morris County, Ocean County, Passaic County, Salem County, Somerset County, Sussex County, Union County, Warren County, criminal defense, drunk driving, traffic ticket, juvenile, attorney, lawyerWe all have bad days. But it seems to me we invariably react in one of three ways to the bad days of others: empathy, apathy, or judgment. And judgment seems to be the most popular. For example, an Atco man will soon make his first formal appearance in the Gloucester County Superior Court for his arraignment involving two separate cases. One case involves an alleged assault by auto and . I would submit the day of the collision was a bad day for him. But what is your reaction to this? How does it make you feel? Read more


The Law and Trial Strategy in New Jersey Courts

The Law and Trial Strategy, Historic Somerset County Courthouse, State of New Jersey v. Gilmore, Supreme Court of New Jersey, Batson v. Kentucky, Supreme Court of the United States, SCOTUS, Constitution, Constitutional Law, Fourteenth Amendment, 14th Amendment, Equal Protection, New Jersey Constitution, State Constitutional Law, Impartial Jury, Voir Dire, Jury Selection, Trial, Racial Discrimination, Race-Based, Peremptory Challenge, Peremptory Strike, Federalism, Horizontal Federalism, Atlantic County, Bergen County, Burlington County, Camden County, Cape May County, Cumberland County, Essex County, Gloucester County, Hudson County, Hunterdon County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Morris County, Ocean County, Passaic County, Salem County, Somerset County, Sussex County, Union County, Warren County, criminal defense, drunk driving, traffic ticket, juvenile, attorney, lawyer, trial attorney, trial lawyerPreviously I blogged about sex- and race-based peremptory strikes under the U.S. and  New Jersey Constitution. Those posts and others have touched on the issue of state constitutions with respect to jurisdictional disputes between SCOTUS and the judiciaries of the 50 states with a focus on New Jersey. These topics can supply engaging reading. Additionally, they provide subject matter for interesting debate and discussion. Significantly, these judicial opinions are the words and actions of a co-equal branch of federal and state government, the court. Thus, they demonstrate how judges exercise power. But none of that is relevant to the law and trial strategy. Read more


State of New Jersey v. Gilmore: The Peremptory Strike and the Right to an Impartial Jury

State of New Jersey v. Gilmore: Procedural History

State of New Jersey v. Gilmore, Supreme Court of New Jersey, New Jersey Constitution, Constitution, Constitutional Law, State Constitutional Law, Impartial Jury, Voir Dire, Jury Selection, Trial, Racial Discrimination, Race-Based, Federalism, Horizontal Federalism, Atlantic County, Bergen County, Burlington County, Camden County, Cape May County, Cumberland County, Essex County, Gloucester County, Hudson County, Hunterdon County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Morris County, Ocean County, Passaic County, Salem County, Somerset County, Sussex County, Union County, Warren County, criminal defense, drunk driving, traffic ticket, juvenile, attorney, lawyerAn all-white jury of six men and six women convicted defendant, a black man, of three first-degree robberies of two Hispanic gas station attendants in Union, New Jersey. During jury selection, the white assistant prosecutor removed nine black prospective jurors by challenge for cause and peremptory strike. Defense counsel, a black man, moved for a mistrial because the prosecutor removed the black venirepersons based on their race. Nevertheless, the trial judge overruled defense counsel, relying on Swain v. Alabama 1 and State v. Smith.2

Subsequently, the Appellate Division remanded for the prosecutor to state his reasons for excusing the black jurors. Read more


Pretrial Detention and the N.J. Bail Reform Act

Under what circumstances may the prosecutor file for pretrial detention?

New Jersey, Atlantic County, Bergen County, Burlington County, Camden County, Cape May County, Cumberland County, Essex County, Gloucester County, Hudson County, Hunterdon County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Morris County, Ocean County, Passaic County, Salem County, Somerset County, Sussex County, Union County, Warren County, criminal defense, drunk driving, traffic ticket, juvenile, attorney, lawyerThe State may file for the pretrial detention of an eligible defendant charged for any crime or offense:1

  1. of the first or second degree enumerated under subsection d. of section 2 of N.J.S.A. 2c:43-7.2
  2. that subjects the eligible defendant to an ordinary or extended term of life imprisonment;
  3. if the eligible defendant’s criminal history reflects convictions for two or more offenses for either of the above categories;
  4. enumerated under paragraph (2) of subsection b. of section 2 of N.J.S.A. 2c:7-2 or crime involving human trafficking pursuant to section 1 of N.J.S.A. 2c:13-8 or N.J.S.A. 52:17B-237 et al. when the victim is a minor, or the crime of endangering the welfare of a child under N.J.S.A. 2c:24-4;
  5. enumerated under subsection c. of N.J.S.A. 2c:43-6;
  6. involving domestic violence as defined in subsection a. of section 3 of N.J.S.A. 2c:25-19; or
  7. for which the prosecutor believes there is a serious risk that:
    1. the eligible defendant will not appear in court as required;
    2. the eligible defendant will pose a danger to any other person or the community; or
    3. the eligible defendant will obstruct or attempt to obstruct justice, or threaten, injure, or intimidate, or attempt to threaten, injure or intimidate, a prospective witness or juror.

Read more


Speedy Trial, Excludible Time, and New Jersey Criminal Justice Reform

speedy trial, excludible time, new jersey bail reform act, criminal justice reform, N.J.S.A. 2A:162-22Previously I blogged about the Pretrial Detention Hearing Factors under the New Jersey Bail Reform Act. Although the policy of New Jersey’s criminal justice reform favors pretrial release, a prosecutor may move before the court for pretrial detention. In practical terms, a defendant ought not get his hopes up until the court orders the defendant released from custody. Indeed, the court could grant the State’s motion. Consequently, the State would lock up the defendant. If so, in addition to other obligations the court must also calculate speedy trial deadlines.1, 2

But the court may also exclude thirteen thirteen periods in calculating the time for a case to be indicted and tried.3 Read more