Previously 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: Procedural History
An 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
I have blogged about New Jersey v. T.L.O.1, Michigan v. Long2, and State of New Jersey v. Lund.3 Those blog posts explained the holding and reasoning of the majority in each case. This post, however, will go to the heart of judicial power: using the law. Nowadays this issue seems to be especially important. Indeed, the news extensively covered one of President Trump’s executive orders banning Muslims from entering the United States. And after Trump criticized a judge for blocking the order, some people defended that judge and the judiciary as an independent branch of government.
Known as “Separation of Powers” doctrine, Read more
Previously I blogged about Michigan v. Long.1 The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) broke new ground under federal law with respect to two issues in Long: SCOTUS review of state court decisions, and Terry searches of cars. With respect to its jurisdiction to review decisions based on adequate and independent state grounds, SCOTUS articulated a “plain statement” rule for state courts to follow. Additionally, with respect to the Fourth Amendment, SCOTUS applied Terry v. Ohio 2 to protective searches of cars, requiring proof of a reasonable belief about the presence of weapons. This blog post will look at Read more
Previously I blogged about New Jersey v. T.L.O. 1 The focus of this post, State of New Jersey v. Best 2 applies T.L.O. to a warrantless car search on school property by a school official. The United States Supreme Court in T.L.O. addressed whether the exclusionary rule applies to evidence seized by a school official without police involvement in juvenile delinquency proceedings. SCOTUS answered this question in the affirmative.Notwithstanding the State’s position that school officials act as surrogates for the actual parents (in loco parentis), the Court decided they are State Actors. Indeed, by rejecting the State’s position, SCOTUS reasoned the breadth and Read more
Previously I blogged about the New Jersey Bail Reform Act. The law favors pretrial release. But it also requires the court to analyze various factors. This post will set forth the factors the court must weigh in consideration for pretrial release of an eligible defendant.
Except as otherwise provided concerning a hearing on pretrial detention, the New Jersey Bail Reform Act requires a court to
make a pretrial release decision for an eligible defendant without unnecessary delay, but in no case later than 48 hours after the eligible defendant’s commitment to jail. Read more
New Jersey Criminal Justice Reform
In November 2014, the People of New Jersey voted to amend the State Constitution with respect to bail in article I paragraph 11. In what I believe was a rare instance of actually listening to the Will of the People, the New Jersey legislature enacted the Bail Reform Act, N.J.S.A. 2A:162-15 to -26. Accordingly, New Jersey criminal justice reform took effect on January 1, 2017.
I blogged previously about NJ Law Enforcement Directive 2006-5 and it’s 2015 supplement (Directive).
Ordinarily it requires a grand jury to review use of force by law enforcement. The grand jury must determine whether the use of force was legally justified.
But recently internal governmental review without a grand jury presentation determined a New Jersey state trooper who shot a woman’s tire was justified, per the news. In this case, authorities decided not to convene a grand jury to review the officer’s use of force. Read more
Shortly after 7 p.m. on Sept. 20, 2016, an assailant with a two-foot knife threatened residents in Clark, NJ, per the news. He allegedly threatened an elderly woman walking her dog. Subsequently, he chased other residents who came to help her.