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New Jersey Estate Tax: What You Should Know
Estate Planning for Same Sex Couples
The Court Grants Motion to Suppress Good Case For The Defense Bar
Racial Profiling--4th Amendment Injustice related to evidence supporessed
No Crack Reduction for Career Offenders Even if Sentence is Based On the Crack Range

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New Jersey Estate Tax: What You Should Know

New Jersey has many different types of taxes, including two different taxes on death: the NJ Estate Tax and the New Jersey inheritance tax. The New Jersey estate tax is a tax on transfers at death and certain transfers in contemplation of death. 

Transfers to charities, a surviving spouse or a surviving Civil Union partner are exempt from the NJ estate tax. Transfers to anyone else are taxable to the extent that the transfer exceeds $675,000. New Jersey never does anything in a simple manner, and it does not technically offer a $675,000 exemption from the estate tax.

Estate Planning for Same Sex Couples

In many jurisdictions, estate planning for same sex couples can be quite complex. In some states, the laws are favorable to non-traditional couples and in others, they are not (like Pennsylvania). There are also states like New Jersey, where the laws themselves can be favorable to same sex couples if you enter into a Civil Union, but there is still Tax Planning that must be done.

In states where the laws are unfavorable to same sex couples, without structuring your affairs properly, one partner may not inherit from the other.

The Court Grants Motion to Suppress Good Case For The Defense Bar

State v. Joshua R. Eastman, unpublished opinion, App. Div. Docket No. A-3436-11T1 (October 17, 2012) – “By leave granted, the State appeals from an … order suppressing evidence, illegal drugs, seized during a warrantless search of defendant's motor vehicle following a one-vehicle accident….  When defendant's vehicle became accessible, Trooper Ferrara entered the vehicle and searched the glove compartment without providing defendant the opportunity to obtain the documents.  At that point, defendant was in police custody at the barracks approximately twenty minutes away and could have been escorted back to the scene in order to retrieve his documents.

Racial Profiling--4th Amendment Injustice related to evidence supporessed

In United States v. Navedo, No. 11-3413 (3d Cir. Sept. 12, 2012), http://www.ca3.uscourts.gov/opinarch/113413p.pdf, undercover officers were parked on a block in Newark, which was not found to be a high crime area, but in which there were two, recent unrelated incidents involving guns: two months before a shooting occurred, and one month before there was a domestic violence report of a man threatening a woman with a gun. 

The officers observed the defendant, whom they did not know, come out of a multi-unit building and stand on the porch.

No Crack Reduction for Career Offenders Even if Sentence is Based On the Crack Range

United States v. Ware, --- F.3d ----, 2012 WL 4216831 (3d Cir. Sept. 21, 2012).  

Defendants, each designated career offenders, were ultimately sentenced based on the crack guidelines through a variance and a departure. Each moved for sentence reductions under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2), based on the amended crack cocaine guidelines implementing the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010. In the first case, Ware, the district court granted the motion for sentence reduction, reasoning that the sentence was "based on" the crack guideline (as required in 18 U.

Court articulates factors for egregious and widespread violations of Fourth Amendment and whether consent is voluntary

In Oliva-Ramos v. Attorney General of the U.S., --- F.3d ----, 2012 WL 4017478 (3d Cir. Sept 13, 2012), an appeal from an order of removal and denial of the petitioner’s motion to reopen the proceedings, the Third Circuit remanded for proceedings to determine whether a 4:30 a.m. ICE raid into an apartment, with five or six armed officers, violated the Fourth Amendment and similar regulatory provisions. 

The officers presented an administrative arrest warrant for one person at the apartment of her sister.

The Court Changes the Standard When Waiving a Juvenile to Adult Criminal Court

State in the Interest of V.A., T.H., C.T., and M.R., ? N.J. ?, 2012 N.J. LEXIS 899 (September 12, 2012) – Appellate Division judgment reversed, case remanded for further proceedings.  

“The abuse of discretion standard, rather than the patent and gross abuse of discretion standard, governs judicial review of a prosecutor’s decision to waive a juvenile aged sixteen and over charged with an enumerated offense under N.J.S.A. 2A:4A-26 into adult criminal court….  

In light of the enhanced punishment looming as a result of the serious decision to waive a juvenile from family to adult court, and to advance the legislative direction to promote uniformity, we find that the abuse of discretion standard … is more appropriate [than patent and gross abuse of discretion used to review PTI decisions].

Defendant's Right to Testify - Conviction Overturned

State v. Rodney Cullen, ? N.J. Super. ?, 2012 N.J. Super. LEXIS ? (September 18, 2012) – Conviction reversed, case remanded.  

“Defendant appeals his burglary conviction, arguing the trial judge erred in refusing to reopen the record to permit him to testify.  Defendant initially waived his right to testify but, prior to summations and the jury charge, changed his mind; the judge denied defendant's request to testify.  

Because the judge mistakenly gave greater weight to expediency than defendant's constitutional right to testify, we reverse….

New Jersey Appellate Suppresses Confession

State v. Kendall Funchess, unpublished opinion, App. Div. Docket No. A-2435010T1 (September 17, 2012) – Conviction reversed, confession suppressed.  

“Defendant's suppression motion was decided ‘on the papers,’ without any evidentiary hearing.  In his appeal, defendant argues that the trial court erred in denying his motion because the officers were legally required to clarify his three statements regarding an attorney to determine whether he was seeking to invoke his right to an attorney….

When GPS Tracking Violates Privacy Rights


For the right to personal privacy to survive in America in this digital age, courts must be meticulous in applying longstanding privacy protections to new technology. This did not happen in an unfortunate ruling last month by a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.The case concerned a drug conviction based on information about the defendant’s location that the government acquired from a cellphone he carried on a three-day road trip in a motor home. The data, apparently obtained with a phone company’s help, led to a warrantless search of the motor home and the seizure of incriminating evidence.
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