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


Using The Law: The Exercise of Judicial Power

using the law, State v. Lund, 119 N.J. 35 (1990), Supreme Court of New Jersey, New Jersey Constitution, 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, lawyerI 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


State of New Jersey v. Lund: State and Federal Constitutions in Lockstep

State of New Jersey v. Lund, 119 N.J. 35 (1990), Supreme Court of New Jersey, New Jersey Constitution, 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, lawyerPreviously 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


State of New Jersey v. Best: The Fourth Amendment on Public School Property

State of New Jersey v. Best, 201 N.J. 100 (2010), 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, lawyerPreviously 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


Consideration for Pretrial Release, N.J.S.A. 2A:162-17

bail reform act, bail, consideration for pretrial release, njsa 2A-162-17, 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, lawyerPreviously 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 Bail Reform

New Jersey Bail Reform, Fourth Amendment, Article 1 Paragraph 7, Article 1 Paragraphy 11, N.J.S.A. 2A:162-16(c), N.J.S.A. 2A:162-16(a); N.J.S.A. 2A:162-25, N.J.S.A. 2A:162-16(b)(1); N.J.S.A. 2A:162-17, N.J.S.A. 2A:162-18, -19, N.J.S.A. 2A:162-19(d), N.J.S.A. 2A:162-19(d)(2), N.J.S.A. 2A:162-19(e), N.J.S.A. 2A:162-19(e)(1)Previously I blogged about criminal justice reform in New Jersey. Notably, the People of New Jersey voted in 2014 to amend the State Constitution with respect to bail. Subsequently, the New Jersey legislature responded with criminal justice reforms as to bail and speedy trial. This post will explore some aspects of New Jersey Bail Reform.By way of this introduction, eligible defendant means a person for whom a complaint-warrant is issued for an initial charge involving an indictable offense or a disorderly persons offense unless otherwise provided under the New Jersey Bail Reform Act.

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New Jersey Criminal Justice Reform

New Jersey Criminal Justice Reform

new jersey criminal justice reform, bail reform, bail reform actIn 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.

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NJ Law Enforcement Directive 2006-5 and Grand Jury Waiver

NJ Law Enforcement Directive 2006-5I 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


New Jersey Attorney General Law Enforcement Directive 2006-5

Grand Jury, Indictment, New Jersey Constitution, New Jersey Attorney General Law Enforcement Directive 2006-5It happens. Not often, not even occasionally, but sometimes it happens. Indeed, “rarely” best describes a grand jury decision not to indict. Accordingly, in a rare occurrence, a Union County grand jury did not indict a police officer for allegedly shooting a man who attacked him. This post will summarize the right to a Grand Jury indictment in the context of New Jersey Attorney General Law Enforcement Directive 2006-5.

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.
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