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
Previously I blogged about the constitutionality of race-based peremptory challenges during jury selection here and here. This post will discuss sex-based peremptory challenges in the case of J.E.B. v. Alabama.1 Before opening statements at trial, the parties may remove jurors from the pool by challenge for cause or peremptory strike. For example, to remove a juror for cause, the challenging party must demonstrate the juror’s views would prevent or substantially impair that juror’s service in accordance with the court’s instructions and the juror’s oath. Notwithstanding J.E.B., Batson2 or Gilmore3, however, peremptory challenges require neither explanation nor approval by the court. Read more
Peremptory strikes in criminal jury trials have a long history. Unlike the challenge for cause, the peremptory challenge was exercised without a demonstration of cause by the defendant. Indeed, the peremptory challenge enabled the Crown to handpick juries dating to thirteenth-century England. Finding this obnoxious to their idea of justice, however, Parliament reserved the peremptory as a right for defendants only, and prohibited its use by the Crown. Additionally, American colonists continued the English practice regarding the peremptory challenges. As in England, criminal defendants were allotted peremptory challenges by statute, depending on the crime charged, while the challenges were 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
In Terry v. Ohio, SCOTUS crafted an exception to the requirement of a warrant and probable cause, allowing police to protectively search a person.1 But to fall within the exception, the circumstances must provide police with a reasonable suspicion of criminal conduct and a reasonable belief the person poses a danger. Subsequently, SCOTUS determined the police may search incident to arrest an individual’s wingspan without a warrant based on Terry principles.2 Furthermore, SCOTUS expanded the individual’s wingspan to include a recently occupied vehicle, also based on Terry principles.3 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
In 1984, a juvenile delinquency case from New Jersey went before the Supreme Court of the United States. SCOTUS addressed two questions. First, the Court addressed whether the Fourth Amendment applies to public school officials. Additionally, the Court considered the proper standard to assess searches and seizures by public school officials. The case was New Jersey v TLO.
New Jersey v TLO: Factual History
A Piscataway High School teacher found two girls smoking in the bath room. Since this was against school rules, the teacher took the girls to the Principal’s office. Subsequently, an Assistant Vice Principal questioned the girls Read more
Last week I blogged about the Fifth Amendment, Miranda v. Arizona1, and the right to remain silent. This post will summarize how New Jersey’s privilege against self incrimination applies more broadly than federal law. Additionally, it will look at issues related to federalism.
Before an American court will admit a confession, the State must prove the police informed the individual of her rights. Additionally, the State must prove she knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently waived her rights before she confessed. Indeed, these warnings negate perceptions related to psychological stress in police-controlled circumstances. This stress might compel a person to speak where she would not have spoken otherwise. Read more