Monday, November 25, 2013

Amendments to Graves Act Call for No Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Possession of BB, Air Guns or Spring Guns.

Prepared for the People as a Public Service by the Law Office of Vincent J. Sanzone, Jr.

The law which increased mandatory minimum sentences for people in possession of an assault firearm as defined in N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(f), has also eliminated mandatory minimums for people convicted of possession of BB, air-guns and spring-guns.  The elimination of mandatory minimums also applies to people in possession of a shot guns or rifles without first obtaining a permit N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5c(1). 

The purpose of the law it would seem is to give the court some discretion in sentencing first time offenders who are caught with possessing firearms in their home.  Many law abiding people have inherited firearms from family and friends which they keep in their homes without having applied for a firearms purchaser identification card.

Before anyone pleas to such an offense you must consult an attorney to find out whether you have a viable suppression motion in the seizure of the firearm.  This is especially true if the firearm was seized without a search warrant from your home or motor vehicle, or as a result of an alleged domestic violence complaint, and subsequent search.

If you are charged with a firearms charge in Union, Essex, Middlesex, Hudson, Bergen, Passaic, and Somerset Counties you must seek the advice of an experienced New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer.

Quote of Day:  "It is not a unity of religion we seek but a union of religious people. We may not be able to meet in the same pew, but we can meet together on our knees (as Christians [or all people of good will]"  Archbishop Fulton J Sheen.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Know Your Rights, a Civil Forfeiture Answer Can be Used by the Prosecutor as Evidence Against the Criminal Defendant a Judge Held In Hudson County Criminal Division.

Written as a Public Service to the People by the Law Office of Vincent J. Sanzone, Jr., Esq.
Served with a forfeiture civil complaint while criminal charges are pending, be careful what you say, you might have waived your fifth amendment right to remain silent.
In a case recently decided by one trial judge, a Hudson county criminal judge held that the admissions made in the civil answer is admissible as to the defendant’s guilt in the underlying criminal case.
In a case of first impressions a New Jersey trial judge says a defendant's answer to a civil forfeiture complaint is admissible in a criminal prosecution arising from the same facts.
The fact alleged by the prosecution is that the CDS found in the defendant’s mother’s apartment in a Hudson County apartment as a result of a search warrant was being possessed with the intent to distribute.  However, along with the drugs was cash in the amount of $3,293.00 which the defendant claimed belonged to him.  The defendant made that admission when he filed a civil forfeiture answer to the prosecutor’s forfeiture civil complaint to forfeit the money.
The State had no evidence directly linking the drugs and money to defendant other than the defendant’s admission in his answer.
The trial court refused to bar the admissions under United States v. Simmons, 390 U.S. 377 (1968), which held that a criminal defendant cannot be forced to choose between his Fourth (illegal search) and Fifth (right to remain silent) amendment rights.  In other words nothing that the defendant says in a motion to suppress can be used against him at trial by the government, unless the defendant testifies and only by way of impeachment.
I am not so sure that this case would stand constitutional muster if the New Jersey Supreme Court was presented this issue.
Law Office of Vincent J. Sanzone, Jr.,Esq.                    P.O. Box, 277 North Broad Street, Elizabeth (Union County), N.J. 07207

Telephone: (908) 354-7006                                  E-Mail,
Quote of the day:
"Three things I cannot escape: the eye of God, the voice of conscience, the stroke of death. In company, guard your tongue. In your family, guard your temper. When alone guard your thoughts." - Venerable Matt Talbot

Dated: November 21, 2013

Monday, November 18, 2013

Interesting Case Argued Before the Supreme Court Recently: Can the Police Promise Leniency for Giving a Confession?

This Blog Was Prepared and Published to the People as a Public Service by the Law Office of Vincent J. Sanzone, Jr.

In a recent case argued before the New Jersey Supreme Court the question arose can the police promise PTI or leniency in return for Waiving of the suspects Miranda rights and a subsequent confession?

In State v. Hreha, Mr. Hreha argued that his confession for printing and distributing bias intimidation material at work should be thrown out because the detectives that interviewed him made promises that he would be released without having to spend the weekend in jail, that he would most likely be given pretrial intervention, PTI, for his cooperation.

Although there is no per se rule that a promise of PTI invalidates a confession, such a promise is a factor that the court can consider in determining whether the confession was voluntary.

Another factor in this case is that fact that there were two interviews, first one not being recorded while the second one was.

It will be interesting to see the outcome of this case noting the increasingly conservative nature of our Supreme Court.  However, based on the facts of this case the court should suppress the confession since anytime false promises are made to a suspect his or her decision making promises are influenced by said promises.  Hence, hence the confession is not voluntarily, but the results of law enforcement lies and misrepresentations.

P.O. Box 261
277 North Broad Street
Elizabeth (Union County), New Jersey
(908) 354-7006

Quote of the Day: “The state’s lawyers let their zeal for victory in this case outweigh their responsibility to be fair.”

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Does anyone know that in New Jersey the Age of Consent for All Sexual Offenses Has Increased to 18-Years of Age?

This Legal Public Service Blog Service Blog as Been Provided by the Law Office of Vincent J. Sanzone, Jr., Esq., Elizabeth, N.J.

On August 14, 2013 Governor Chris Christie signed a new child pornography law which defines a child as anyone under 18-years of age.  Previous to this new law a child (minor) was defined as anyone under the age of 16-years.  Now withe the new law a minor is defined as anyone under 18-years of age.  Therefore, anyone having sexual contact with a person under 18-years of age, including all endangering crimes is guilty of a crime.

Not only has the age of consent been increased by two-years, anyone convicted of such offenses are subject to the “No Early Release Act”, and must serve 85% percent of their sentence before they are eligible for parole.  The new law can be found at

The new law provides some of the following changes:
  • Mandatory minimum prison sentences for anyone convicted of distributing at least 25 images of child pornography, with a first-time offender serving at least five years, and subsequent offenders up to 10 years.
  • No early release sentencing for anyone convicted of engaging a child in pornography, to wit, must serve t 85 percent of their prison term (No Early Release Act).
  • Removes any ambiguity with current law that is any sharing child pornography via computer file-sharing or peer-to-peer software is considered distribution rather than possession.
  • It is now a 1st degree crime for non-parents and guardians to engage a child in pornography. It already applies in that way to parents.
  • Strict liability for watching pornography in which the actor is less than 18-years of age, regardless of the watchers knowledge of his or her age.  If the actor in the movie is under 18-years of age, and you watch it, you are guilty of viewing child pornography, even if the actor looks 35-years of age.
Now under this new law any person under the age of 18 commits a crime for engaging in a sexual conduct with another person under the age of 18, and could be charged and adjudicated as a “delinquent” in family juvenile court, and be subject to Megan’s Law for life.  Of course there will be selective prosecution for these types of cases, but is this the type of laws that will eradicate the evils of child pornography?  I think not.

If you are charged with any type of sexual offense such as child pornography, sexual assault, rape, illegal sexual contact, child endangerment, lewdness, indecent exposure, you must immediately retain the legal services of an experienced criminal defense attorney.  New Jersey criminal defense attorney has represented many people charged with such offenses and has obtained favorable results in these types of cases included one case that was won by the New Jersey Supreme Court, State v. Franklin Jack Burr.

Law Office of Vincent J. Sanzone, Jr., Esq.                   Telephone: (908) 354-7006

Friday, November 1, 2013

How to Defend Your Criminal Case in New Jersey Superior Criminal Courts.

Prepared for the People as a public service by the Law Office of Vincent J. Sanzone, Jr.

Most people have watched the reality show, “The First 48-Hours”, in which the theme of the show is the necessity of law enforcement to solve the crime in the first 48-hours of the alleged crime.  Statistics show on average that if the crime is not solved within the first 48-hours, the chance of capturing a suspect goes down with each passing day.

The reason for this is that witnesses’ memories fade, evidence is lost or destroyed; important and essential witnesses’ disappear or cannot be found because they have left the area. 

Although not all crimes are solved within this time frame, most are.  Unfortunately, law enforcement is not always right and sometimes charges the wrong person.  Most people are not aware (more than we will admit) that a percentage of the people who are actually charged are innocent.  The rule is in law enforcement, once a person is charged with a crime, the investigation stops and the file is closed.

Just as it is important for law enforcement to attempt to get a jump on the crime within 48-hours in the attempt to solve the crime, it is even more important for an arrested individual to retain an experienced New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney to begin to conduct his own investigation to determine whether law enforcement has gotten its facts right.  Also, it is important that the suspect obtain an attorney to send/fax various evidence preservation letters to the law enforcement agencies that investigated the crime, or the place or jurisdiction where the alleged crime took place to prevent law enforcement from destroying evidence. 

For example the City of Jersey City Police Department has a policy, which is illegal and against state law, to destroy dispatcher communication audio tapes after 30-days, even when there is pending criminal case or quasi-criminal case which is evidence and relates to the case.  However, Jersey City Police Department, like many other towns and cites in New Jersey continue to violate state law and tape-over and/or destroy these audio tapes, thus making it difficult to prove that the officer lied as to what happened, e.g., motion to suppress, eluding case, etc.

Therefore, it is mandatory that someone charged with a crime or serious motor vehicle offense retain an experienced NJ Criminal Attorney to investigate and immediately put law enforcement on notice that they are not to destroy valuable evidence, evidence which often exculpates and proves that the suspect is in fact innocent.

Law Office of Vincent J. Sanzone, Jr., Esq.
P.O. Box 261
277 North Broad Street
Elizabeth, N.J. 07207
(908) 354-7006