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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].

NJ Shoplifting Offenses Explained


The New Jersey Shoplifting Law is contained at N.J.S.A. 2C:20-11. The grade of criminal offense that a shoplifting charge will trigger is contingent upon the value of the merchandise allegedly stolen. In this regard, the statute provides as follows:

  1. It is a Disorderly Persons Offense where the value of the merchandise is $200 or less;
  2. It is a Fourth Degree Crime where the value of the merchandise is between $200 and $500;
  3. It is a Third Degree Crime where the value of the merchandise is between $500 and $75,000; and

Residential Burglaries: The Push to Upgrade

On March 15, 2012, the New Jersey Assembly passed A1035, a Bill which seeks to upgrade residential burglary from a crime of the Third Degree to a crime of the Second Degree. The Bill further seeks to upgrade residential burglary from a crime of the Second Degree to a crime of the First Degree if committed while armed. This represents a drastic departure from the current law and will have serious implications in terms of the jail time exposure for those convicted, should the Bill become new law.

Not Wearing Seat Belt Can Serve as a Predicate Offense

State v. Kirby Lenihan, ? N.J. Super. ?, 2012 N.J. Super. LEXIS 140 (August 13, 2012) – Conviction affirmed.  

“In this case we are asked to determine whether a violation of N.J.S.A. 39:3-76.2f, the "seat belt law," can serve as a predicate offense to support a conviction under N.J.S.A. 2C:40-18(b), which proscribes knowingly violating a law or failing to perform a duty imposed by law intended to protect the public health and safety and recklessly causing serious bodily injury.

Distribution of Prescription Drugs an Aggravated Felony?

Here’s a very interesting immigration law case out of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. It’s not your standard removal or asylum case. The case involves the removal of an alien, with issues involving drug trafficking and the definition of “aggravated felony.”

The petitioner involved is actually a lawful permanent resident of the United States. That’s what makes the case a little different from what we’re used to seeing.He was convicted on charges of distributing prescription drugs and was sentenced to four months in jail.
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Criminal Defense Legal Fee Agreements

Legal fees and costs should be one of the first things reduced to writing when a client selects a lawyer. The retainer agreement should of course spell out what the client's financial obligations are, and what triggers any additional fees or costs. On the other hand, what the costs of the representation will be is not the only thing you need to understand. Typically, in my criminal defense practice in NJ, I use a four-page written agreement that starts by addressing the issues of who the payor is; what legal services are covered by the retainer payment; and, the obligations of both the Attorney and the client to each other.

N.J. should ban arrests from job applications

IT IS TIME TO TAKE ACTION. 

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued a revised enforcement guidance on using criminal records in employment decisions. This groundbreaking guidance marks the first time the EEOC — the federal agency charged with interpreting and enforcing federal employment discrimination law — has said certain uses of criminal history is discrimination.   Without question, this is a laudable development. The proliferation of background checks on job applicants, coupled with the widespread public availability of arrest and conviction information, has contributed to persistent barriers to employment (and increased likelihood of recidivism) for people with criminal histories.

The there is no consent to search it is a fiction

“Consent “is a threadbare fiction which should be eliminated from highway or pedestrian searches. No traveler with a choice wants to be detained for the minutes or hours that searches consume. No one wants the humiliation and spectacle that attaches to the process while he or she sits on the hood of a car or the guardrail as police strangers comb through their vehicle and their most intimate possessions. Every request for a highway search carries the implied threat that if the traveler does not accede to the officer’s wishes in this most vulnerable and isolated situation, he or she could potentially be the object of the officer’s wrath, be it more tickets, an elongated stop, or worse.

Wrongful Conviction: The Dangers of Eyewitness Testimony

There are currently close to two million American citizens behind bars. This number is unsettling, even under the assumption that the entire two million are truly guilty of the crimes for which they have been convicted and incarcerated. But what if there was one of them, just one, who was living in filth, bondage and constant danger- as punishment for a crime he or she did not commit?

Sadly, this has been the unfortunate experience of numerous citizens who have served time and subsequently been proven innocent- as well as undetermined numbers of current American inmates of the United States Department of Corrections.

The "Knock and Talk" Being Doubly Wary of Speaking to Police

Another example of the advice that one should not speak to police is particularly apt for people who may be suspected of growing marijuana.

Euphemistically, here in NJ, police call one of their particular marijuana related operations a “knock and Talk.” The operation is anything but. When police suspect that marijuana may be grown in a house they organize multiple agencies to “respond” on a predetermined date and time to the location – a show of force. Indeed during cross examination police have conceded that a “ knock and talk” is organized just as a forcible search warrant raid would be.
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