The New Jersey Supreme Court Makes it Harder for the State to Justify Waiving a Juvenile Defendant to Adult Criminal Court
The New Jersey Supreme Court, in State in the Interest of V.A., a Minor, made it harder for prosecutors to justify the decision to waive a New Jersey juvenile court defendant to adult criminal court. Previously, a prosecutor’s decision to waive juveniles to adult criminal court once they reached the age of 16 was only subject to reversal if that decision constituted a patent and gross abuse of discretion. Since the decision to treat a juvenile as an adult criminal defendant carries serious penal consequences for the juvenile, the Supreme Court found that a lesser standard of review, abuse of discretion, was a more appropriate safeguard against arbitrary or abusive actions by a prosecutor.
If your child has become involved with a Family Court Juvenile Delinquency matter, please call New Jersey juvenile court and criminal lawyers Schwartz & Posnock at (732) 544-1460 for assistance.
Prosecutor’s Remarks Regarding a Criminal Defendant’s Civil Lawsuit Against the Arresting Officer Was Improper
In a recent decision, the New Jersey Supreme Court determined that the prosecutor’s improper reference during his summation to the defendant’s civil lawsuit against the officers who arrested him in his criminal case did not merit a new trial.
Prosecutorial misconduct will not result in a reversal of a criminal conviction unless it is so egregious that it deprives a defendant of a fair trial. A prosecutor’s comments are deemed to have violated the defendant’s right to a fair trial when they so infect the trial with unfairness as to make the resulting conviction a denial of that defendant’s right to due process. Three factors are assessed by the Court to determine whether a reversal is appropriate: (1) whether the defense attorney made timely and proper objections to the improper remarks; (2) whether the remarks were withdrawn promptly; and (3) whether the court ordered the remarks stricken from the record and instructed the jury to disregard them.
While the prosecutor’s remarks about the criminal defendant’s civil suit was improper, reversal was not warranted because defense counsel failed to object to their admission, they were related to the evidence, and responsive to a key defense theme.
If you or someone you know was subject to prosecutorial misconduct, and seek a new trial, appeal, or post-conviction relief, please call New Jersey criminal lawyers Schwartz & Posnock at (732) 544-1460 for assistance.
Conduct and Character are Relevant in Determining Whether to Grant Early Expungements
The Supreme Court recently ruled that judges deciding whether to grant petitioners early expungements of their criminal records in the public interest must balance the nature of the offense and the petitioner’s character and conduct.
In In re Kollman, the petitioners sought to have his record expunged before the standard 10-year period, which is allowed under N.J.S.A. 2C:52-2(a) in certain circumstances. In such a case, a petitioner has the burden of showing that the following three requirements under this statute have been met: (1) at least five years have passed since the petitioner’s conviction; (2) no additional offenses have been committed; and (3) an expungement would be in the public’s interest. The trial judge in In Re Kollman denied the petitioner’s expungement application as against the public interest because the petitioner had admitted to selling Ecstasy. The New Jersey Supreme Court reversed and, balancing the best interests of the public and the petitioner’s behavior, conduct, and character since his guilty plea, ordered a new hearing as to whether his record should be expunged.
If you or someone you know desires to apply for an expungement of a criminal record, please call New Jersey criminal lawyers Schwartz & Posnock at (732) 544-1460 for assistance.