Friday, December 26, 2014

Another Perspectives and Overlooked Fact in the Eric Garner Case; are the talking heads correct?

Anyone that is familiar with marshal arts and self-defense knows that a choke hold to someone’s neck in which the carotid artery is restricted will cause the person to pass out in 5-seconds or less. It is without dispute that a well performed martial arts choke (restricting blood flow) will result in unconsciousness within 3-5 seconds, and if applied longer, 30-seconds or longer, death.

It is also without dispute that the air or blood choke hold will prevent the person from speaking.  Therefore, it can be argued that when Eric Garner spoke the words, “I can’t breathe,” he in fact was able to breathe, because someone who is unable to breath would not be able to utter those words.

I am not saying that excessive force was not used against  Eric Garner in July of 2014, however, based on well settled principals of marshal arts and medical physiology, it was not the choke hold that killed him.  Mr. Garner was properly having trouble breathing because all of the force that was exerted to his back while on the ground, but the cause of death could not have been caused by the choke hold.  An independent autopsy and opinion by a forensic pathologist hired by the defense, I believe, would come to the same conclusion.

The forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden, who was hired by the Garner family, was dead wrong when he opined on Fox News that Garner would be able to say eleven times “I can’t breathe”, while the choke hold was being applied.  Further, Dr. Baden was dead wrong when he stated that the medical examiners found hemorrhaging of the blood vessels to the neck of Mr. Garner, this finding was also not made by the autopsy.

Baden also failed to point out that Garner had a number of
pre-existing medical conditions, such as obesity, asthma and possible heart disease, which could have been the actual cause of his cardiac arrest in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.

There has been a lot of hype and hyperbole on both sides of the debate regarding Mr. Garner; sadly, both sides seem to have no regard for the real facts of this case.

P.O. Box 261
277 North Broad Street
Elizabeth (Union County), New Jersey 07207
(908) 354-7006

Quote of the day:  “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”

Blaise Pascal (1662), the great Catholic mathematician and philosopher who concluded that the easiest and most secure bet one can place on himself in his lifetime is the bet on God and the teachings of his Holy Catholic Church.  Pascal was the father of modern casino table games, and created the calculus of probabilities.  He knew that betting against God’s Church was a bad bet.  This wager is referred to as the famous Wager ('Pascal's Wager') in which he held:
"If Jesus does not exist, the non Christian loses little by believing in him and gains little by not believing. If Jesus does exist, the non Christian gains eternal life by believing and loses an infinite good by not believing.”  This is why someone who does not believes makes the most foolish bet of his or her life.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014


1.      Most Important, always tell the truth. This is the most important advice any witness should remember. If you are called to testify as a witness in a criminal case before you begin your direct testimony from the attorney that calls you to he stand you will be first required to take an oath or affirmation to tell the truth. When you take the oath or affirmation, say "I do", and look the jury or the judge straight in the eye.   When you are asked a question, every true fact should be readily admitted. Do not guess, and if you are not sure of the answer say you are not sure.  Testimony before a judge or jury is no time to wing your answers.  Never pause before you answer to decide whether your answer will help or hurt either side. Just answer the questions to the best of your memory.  If you do not remember say you do not remember, and if you do not understand the question do not be afraid to say that you do not understand the question.   
2.      Be prepared prior to your testimony. Review any statements or reports that you may have made regarding the incident.  You should attempt to refresh your recollection regarding times, dates and time periods prior to your testimony. Before you testify, think about the incident and what happened, so that you can recall the details accurately when you are asked in court. Do not simply agree with the questions posed of the attorney, either on direct or cross, with a simple correct, unless it is the right response to say correct.  If the question is about distances or time, and if your answer is only an estimate, be sure you say it is only an estimate. Beware of suggestions by attorneys as to distances or times when you do not recall the actual time or distance. Do not readily agree with their estimate unless you independently arrive at the same estimate.
3.      Speak in your own words. Use simple words and sentences. Don't attempt to  memorize what you are going to say, or use words to impress the judge or jury.  Speaking plainly and simply will go a long way and conveying to the judge or jury what you know, and don’t know about a particular case.  If you attempt to give long winded answers you might give the impression that your testimony is d rehearsed and accordingly, your testimony will be unconvincing.  Rather, just be yourself and stay calm. Prior to the trial or hearing, go over in your own mind those matters about which you will be questioned.
4.      Dress as if you were going to an important event.  Men should never wear a hat in the courtroom, unless it is religiously necessary.  There is no required dress code in a courtroom. However, testifying before a jury or judge is very formal and important, and you give credence to your testimony when you dress as if the mater is important to you. Further, it is important to have a neat appearance, and to dress in a manner that shows respect for the courtroom proceedings, and your presence before a jury or a judge.
5.      Avoid distracting mannerisms or actions that will distract the jury or judge. Never chew gum, candy, or other objects that may make you difficult to understand. Present your testimony clearly, slowly, and loud enough so that the juror seated farthest away from you can easily hear and understand everything you say.  If is better to speak with a firm and voice which can be heard by everyone in the courtroom without difficulty.  Not all jurors have the same hearing ability.  Older jurors, attorneys and judges might have difficulty in hearing so speak loud enough for all to hear.
6.      Never speak to jurors or discuss the case outside of the courtroom. While in public places outside the courtroom unbeknownst to you there may be jurors present who are part of the jury in which you will be testifying.  Accordingly, for that reason you are never permitted to discuss the case with anyone, including the attorneys unless you are in a private secured location.. Remember, too, that jurors may have an opportunity to observe you outside the courtroom. If you see a juror, you are not allowed to speak to the juror, even to say hello.
7.      Also conduct yourself in a dignified and respectful manner. From the moment that you enter the courtroom or courthouse, your behavior must be consistent with the, and appropriate to the seriousness of the proceedings. When you are called into court for any reason, be serious and avoid saying anything about the case until you are actually on the witness stand. Also, do not read in the courtroom, unless asked to do so by the judge or the attorneys.
8.      Never exaggerate or guess in your testimony. Don't make overly broad statements that you may have to correct. Be particularly careful in responding to a question that begins, "Wouldn't you agree that...?" The explanation should be in your own words. Do not allow an attorney to put words in your mouth. Give positive, definite answers when at all possible. Avoid saying "I think," "I believe," or "In my opinion." If you do not remember certain details, it is best to say that you don't remember. If you don't understand the question, say so. Don't make up an answer.
9.      Expect that after you give your testimony you will be subject to cross –examination.   In every criminal case both sides have a chance to question every witness.  Never underestimate the power of the skill of a criminal attorney in cross-examination.  Lawyers you practice criminal law, both defense and prosecution, are highly skilled in the art of cross-examination.  Everything that you say on direct will be subject to cross-examination.  If you lied, or gave half-truths, mistaken, or gave prior inconsistent statements the skilled attorney who is trained in cross-examination will often expose your direct testimony as not believable.  Remember questions asked by both sides have the same goal - to find out what is true.  Always remember that the purpose of cross-examination is to raise doubts about the accuracy of your testimony. If you feel you are being doubted in cross-examination, remember that to raise doubt is the defense counsel's job. Try not to take questions personally or be upset by an attorney's questions. Always be courteous, even if the lawyer questioning you appears discourteous. A witness who is angry or upset may appear to be less than objective. Do not appear to be a “smart ass” or "wise guy" or you will lose the respect of the judge and the jury.
10.  Jurors are ordinary people, just like you. Remember it is the jury that you are speaking to, therefore, always look at the attorney asking the question, but turn to the jury and speak to them when you are giving your response.  They want to see your voice and see that you are looking them in the eye when you answer the questions. Although you are responding to the questions of a lawyer, remember that the questions and answers are really for the jury to hear because they will decide the case and not the lawyers.
11.  Listen first, think and answer.  Always listen carefully before you speak.  The brain works like this, you listen with the ear, you process with the brain and you speak with your mouth.  If you do not follow that order you will be a terrible witness.  Before you speak you must understand the question (have it repeated, if necessary), then give a thoughtful, considered answer. Do not give an answer without thinking about your answer. This is not a race.  Although answers should not be rushed, neither should there be an unnaturally long pause between the question and the answer since a long pause might give the judge and jury the impression that you are making up a response and not telling the truth.
12.  Answer the questions verbally the court reporter or microphone cannot record nods of the head. Do not nod your head for a "yes" or "no" answer. Speak out loud, so that the court reporter can hear the answer. For the same reason, try to avoid words like "yah," "nope," and "uh-huh."
13.  Answer only the questions asked and never volunteer information. Do not volunteer information which has not actually been asked of you. If you don't understand the question asked by one of the attorneys, ask the attorney to repeat or rephrase the question so that you understand exactly what is being asked.
14.  Always testify to the facts. A witness unless he or she is an expert witness can only testify to the facts, opinions of fact witnesses are never permitted.  Opinions of witnesses as to character are sometimes allowed.  The judge and the jury are interested in the facts that you have observed or about which you have personal knowledge. Therefore, don't give your conclusions and opinions, and don't state what someone else told you, unless you are specifically asked, and the judge approves it.  Hearsay is generally not permitted of any witness unless the judge and the attorneys agree that it is permissible under the rules of evidence.
15.  Mistakes happen sometimes happen, if you do make a mistake during your testimony correct it as soon as possible.  If you make a mistake with one of your answers do not wait for the attorney to ask you a question to correct it.  Simply correct it before you answer the next question posed.  Remember iI this happens to you, don't get flustered. Just explain honestly whey you were mistaken. The jury understands that people make honest mistakes, and will appreciate that you corrected it before you were cross-examined on it.
16.  Follow the judge's instructions at all times, and if there is an object immediately stop your response. Stop instantly when the judge interrupts you, or when an attorney objects to a question, and wait for the judge to tell you to continue.
17.  Don't start to answer a question until the question is finished. If you haven't heard the entire question, you don't really know what you are being asked. In addition, sometimes an attorney may raise an objection to the question being asked. "Objection" is a legal term that means one of the attorneys feels you are being asked an improper kind of question. When you hear a lawyer say "objection," simply stop speaking and wait for the judge to rule on the objection. If the judge decides the question is proper, he or she will overrule the objection. If the judge decides the question is not proper, he or she will sustain the objection. You will be told either by the judge or the attorney whether to go ahead and answer the question. Sometimes the judge and attorneys will need to talk just amongst themselves. A "sidebar" is when the judge and the attorneys meet at the judge's bench to discuss various matters, including technical disputes over the Federal Rules of Evidence. They meet at the judge's bench so that the jury cannot hear their discussion.
18.  Do not talk about your testimony with other witnesses in the case.  In all cases the judge will impose a sequestration order.  That means that you are never permitted to talk about your testimony with other witnesses in the case.  Accordingly, after a witness has testified in court, he or she should never tell other witnesses what was said during the testimony until after the case is over. Do not ask other witnesses about their testimony, and do not volunteer information about your own. Sometimes an attorney may ask if you have talked to anybody about the case. It is perfectly proper for you to have talked to people before you testified, such as the prosecutor or your family or friends, and you should respond truthfully to this question.

Vincent J. Sanzone, Jr., Esq.
P.O. Box 261
277 North Broad Streetr
Elizabeth (Union County), New Jersey 07207
(908) 354-7006

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Falsely Accused and Wrongly Convicted: Opening and Closing Statements and What the Jury Must Know About Reasonable Doubt

There is no firm statistic on the number of people sent to prison who were falsely accused and wrongly convicted for crimes which they were innocent.

In today’s society and our criminal justice system in the United States it takes nothing more than the words of one accuser.  In contrast under ancient Jewish law found in the Talmud, going back many thousands of years a conviction could not be sustained without the independent testimony of at least two independent witnesses, who could testify independently and consistently as to what they witnessed.  Remember the biblical story of Susanna in the Book of Daniel who was accused of adultery by two wicked men because she would not have sex with them. In this story Daniel saves the young girl's life when he requests that the judge questions each of the men separately to hear their story.  When the judge asked them what kind of tree did they see the young girl have sex under each of the men gave a different story.  Both men were put to death by the judge for perjury and Susanna was set free.

Today, our legal system does not afford this basic protection, under modern law, anybody can accuse anybody of anything and that in the majority of cases is enough probable cause for the police and prosecutors to have someone arrested and stand trial.  The single word of a single witness will suffice, and there is rarely, if ever, any penalty or prosecution for perjurous

It has been estimated by some that anywhere from five to ten percent of the people convicted of crimes, included people who take pleas, because they are forced to, are actual innocent.  Ohio State University did a study and came to the conclusion that approximately ten-thousand people per year in the United States have been wrongly convicted after trial or plead guilty when they were innocent.

Accordingly, it is without argument that the system does fail, and that anyone that believes that the system is without failure simply is ignorant of the truth.  Although most jurors understand the importance of applying the reasonable doubt standard, that is, that no juror can vote for conviction unless the prosecutor proves its case beyond a reasonable doubt, some do not understand the true meaning of this very important legal concept.  Under the law in every state including federal court, if there is any reasonable doubt, the defendant get’s the benefit of the doubt, and they (the jurors) have the legal and moral obligation to vote not guilty. If in every case this concept was truly accepted and applied properly by the jury there would be less innocent people convicted of crimes that they did not commit.

The concept of reasonable doubt is the only protection that the accused has against a false allegation.  The concept of reasonable doubt is more than words, or a theoretical legal concept it is a physical shield to protect all people accused of a crime.  The concept of reasonable doubt applies to all faced with criminal prosecution, it does not, or should not, discriminate because of race, religion, gender, ethic background, or financial/community status.

If a jury refuses to accept, or dilutes the reasonable doubt standard the system fails.  The doubt as to someone’s guilt can never weigh in favor of the prosecution, since a jury that does that raises the probability that they have participated in a grave injustice, an injustice which is gravely immortal.   A jury must understand that the law requires and they must accept that a person may not be innocent, but still not guilty of the crimes charged.  In other words a jury is not charged with decided guilt or innocence’s that would be an impossible task for mere mortals.  The law requires only that the jury applies the reasonable doubt standard.  When the jury gets its verdict sheet at the end of the case while in deliberation, nowhere on that sheet will they see a check off for innocent.  The concept and distinction is subtle but very important.

Sadly in recent history we have seen a large proportion of people convicted of sexual crimes based on the sole testimony of the accuser.  These types of cases must be examined even more carefully since there is usually no evidence to substantiate the accusers claim, other than  the words of the accuser. Motives for such false accusations are numerous and varied and is beyond the topic of this article.

An example of false claims can be found in the accusations against the Catholic clergy.  A high proportion of clergy have been falsely charged and wrongly convicted of sexual assault charges in which they were innocent.  Because of media hype and yellow journalism many in the press are so happy and eager to publish and endorse the account of the accuser that there is no such thing as unbiased journalism when it comes to covering these types of cases.  Following this biased media hype unfortunately juries in criminal cases involving Catholic Priests are to often interested in convicted a Catholic Priest because he is simply a Catholic Priest. 

One case is particularly troubling is the false accusation and wrongful conviction of the Catholic Priest Father Gordon MacRae.  A summary of this appalling case can be found at:  

The concept of reasonable doubt was not applied in this case, and Father MacRae was convicted because he was a Catholic Priest, and tried and convicted before the trial by the media.  The accuser in that case committed a massive fraud on the criminal justice system, and every legal scholar who has examined this case has come to the conclusion that Father MacRae was unjustly convicted for crimes in which he did not commit.

The wrongful conviction of Father MacRae must be overturned.  Father Gordon MacRae has already served over 26-years in prison in New Hampshire for a crime which he did not commit. Justice for this falsely accused Priest is long overdue.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Our New Jersey Judges Have Constitutional Rights

The charges against Superior Court Judge Raymond Redden and Municipal Court Judge Gerald Keegan are unfounded and if
the Supreme Court accepts the recommendations of the Disciplinary Review Board our Judges will be forced not to attend any religious functions or meetings in which the participates share in a common table.

As it stands now many Judges throughout the state, as part of their personal religious apostolate, regularly, or occasionally, attend religious meetings in the form of spiritual retreats, religious organizations and meetings, in which other participates, may or may not be facing pending state or federal criminal charges.  Such meetings could be, but not limited to such things as attending a meeting at the Knights of Columbus, religious retreat house, Seder meals at the Synagogue or Temple, or at the Muslim Mosque during the last day feast for Ramadan. 

What is very troubling about this grievance is that the Catholic Bartimeous Family group was not an eating club, but rather a Catholic religious group dedicated to the apostolate to healing, prayer and faith, which concluded after the meal with a Catholic Mass.

Is the Disciplinary Review Board arguing that our judges are no longer permitted to attend religious functions or meetings in which food is served at a common table?  Is the Disciplinary Review Board now arguing that unless a criminal background check is done on all present the Judge cannot attend the religious function or meeting?  Or is the DRB arguing that before the Judge can attend such a meeting that the Judge first review the list of participates to ascertain who among the group might have a pending criminal or civil case before them, or their vicinage? 

The actions of the DRB in this case are a further example of the erosion of our religious liberties and hopefully our Supreme Court will recognize this as such.  Our Judges have the First Amendment constitutional right to religious freedom and express and they should not have to choose between their judicial office or their full practice and expression of their religious faith.

The secular pop-culture which continues to marginalize people of faith must end.

New Jersey Supreme Court Affirms Right of Defense Counsel To Examine Alleged Crime Scene

On September 24, 2014, the New Jersey Supreme Court in State in the Interest of A.B., affirmed the trial court in allowing defense counsel to examine and take photographs of the victim’s home where it was alleged that a sexual assault occurred.

The Supreme Court affirmed that a criminal defendant has a right to a fair trial and that defense counsel has the right to inspect and examine all the evidence which the State has access to.  In other words, New Jersey courts have the “inherent power to order discovery when justice so requires.”  State ex rel. W.C., 85 N.J. 218, 221 (1981)

The court began its discussion with the proposition that New Jersey trial courts have the power to order discovery beyond that mandated by the court rules when doing so will further the truth-seeking function or ensure the fairness of a trial. In the Matter of W.C., 85 N.J. at 221. In
exercising its discretion, a court must weigh the accused’s need for a particular species of discovery against the impact the discovery request may have on the privacy and lives of witnesses and alleged victims.

As the court noted, a criminal trial where the defendant
does not have “access to the raw materials integral to the
building of an effective defense” is fundamentally unfair. Ake v. Oklahoma, 470 U.S. 68, 77, 105 S. Ct. 1087, 1093, 84 L. Ed. 2d 53, 62 (1985).

In fact the court noted that visiting the crime scene can be critical in preparing a defense and that failure to visit the crime scene when required can be ineffective assistance of counsel. Thomas v. Kuhlman, 255 F. Supp. 2d 99, 109, 112 (E.D.N.Y. 2003)  See, also, 32 New Jersey Practice, Criminal Practice and Procedure § 20:1, at 481 (Leonard N. Arnold) (2010-2011 ed.)

The court noted that familiarity with a crime scene may be essential for an effective direct or cross-examination of a witness.  Further, it might be helpful in ascertaining
and presenting exculpatory evidence. For example, the inability of a witness to have observed an event because of the layout of the area can break a case.  In order words,
in many instances the defense will not be on an equal footing with the prosecution if it is barred from a crime scene to which the prosecutor has access.

In summary this is a great case for the defense, is a case which was long overdue by the court and this case should be in the arsenal of all competent New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorneys.

September 25, 2014

277 North Broad Street
P.O. Box 261
Elizabeth, New Jersey
Telephone No. (908) 354-7006

New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney, Essex, Newark, Elizabeth, Union, Monmouth, Middlesex, Hudson, Federal District Court of New Jersey, Passaic, Bergen, Somerset, Jersey City, New Brunswick, Toms River, Hackensack, Somerville, NJ Criminal Trial Lawyers, Attorneys, Sexual Assault Attorney, Criminal Practice and Discovery, Inspection of Crime Scene

Thursday, September 11, 2014

New Jersey Now Requires All Police Departments to Have Dashboard, or Dash-Cam MVR Tapes Installed in All Patrol Vehicles

September 11, 2014, finally Governor Christi signed the Dash-Cam law which will require all New Jersey police departments to install these devices in their patrol vehicles.  These dash-cams, or also known as MVR video recording devices, will video tape everything in front of the patrol vehicle when activated. 

This new law is good news for anyone who is stopped by a police officer, since the video will now video all activity from the vantage point of the patrol vehicle front windshield.  Normally, the device is set up to record back 30-seconds, prior to the activation of the device.  The device continues to record until manually turned off, or the siren or overhead lights are turned off.  Normally, by default, the dash-cam will activate once the overhead and/or siren is activated.  However, the MVR tape can be activated manually, and can also be turned off manually.

Hopefully the new law will prevent police departments and its officers from falsely claiming that the video was not working or not installed in the particular patrol vehicle.  Most often aggressive and dishonest police officers will patrol in patrol vehicles without dash-cam devices for the purpose of making unlawful DWI stops and arrests, claiming that the motorist committed a moving violation and than failed field sobriety tests.  Further, if the sobriety field tests are done in view of the cameras, it might help eliminate perjured police testimony when the officer falsely claiming that the motorist failed the sobriety field tests, when in fact the motorists passed.  Further, the law will now allow a jury to objectively view the dash-cam tape to refute or confirm a police officers allegation that the suspect motorist engaged in eluding of the officers during an automobile stop.

For years most police departments in New Jersey have fought fiercely not to have these devices in their vehicles.  Newark, Jersey City and Elizabeth, to name a few, have refused to install such devices, and none of their patrol vehicles have any of these devices in patrol vehicles.  Further, these MVR tapes will help eliminate police beatings and other abuses of errant police officers, because a patrolman driving a patrol vehicle with such a device will think twice before he commits these types of illegal activities on a motorist. 

Of course some errant and dishonest police officers will find away around this new law by turning off the device, claiming it was inoperable, destroying the tape, or manually turning the device to the side, so that it does not depict the interaction between the motorist and police officer.  Another trick that the dishonest cop will use, which I have seen multiple times with field sobriety tests, the dishonest police officer will move the suspect outside the view of the tape, in which case, the motorist cannot prove that the officer is lying and that he/she passed the field sobriety tests.  Further, if the dishonest police officer wants to engage in an illegal search or beating of the motorist he will move the suspect out of range of the camera, since the cameras view depicts only what transpires in front of the patrol vehicle.  Of course, the dishonest cop (which has occurred repeatedly in many municipal court and superior court cases) will tell the judge and/or jury that they moved the suspect outside the view of the camera for his or the motorists safety, but of course that story is likewise bogus, because the officer can pull his vehicle behind the motorists vehicle in such a way as to give a wide shoulder view of road in which the tests will ultimately be performed.

Lastly, the new law will only be applied to every new or used or leased police vehicle or otherwise acquired on or after the effective date (of this bill) which is primarily used for traffic stops shall be equipped with a mobile video recording system.

Law Office of Vincent J. Sanzone, Jr.
Elizabeth, N.J.
Tel. No. (908) 354-7006
Dated: September 11, 2014

Union Essex, Hudson, Morris, Bergen, Middlesex, Ocean, Monmouth, County Criminal Defense Attorney, Jersey City, Newark, Elizabeth, New Brunswick, Eluding, Carjacking, Drugs, Guns, Weapons, Assault

Friday, August 22, 2014

New Jersey Appellate Court Gives a Brake to Unlicensed New Jersey Drivers Caught Driving Without a Driver’s License.

On August 11, 2014, the New Jersey Appellate Division held in State v. Armando Carreon that any person convicted of being an unlicensed driver while driving can only be sentenced to a jail sentence or fine but not both.  This is good news for never licensed drivers because most municipal court judges will interested in getting a fine from the convicted motorist.  If so, the municipal court judge will not be foreclosed for also giving a custodial term sentence pursuant to N.J.S.A. 39:3-10.
In this particular case which the appellate division reversed the sentence, because the defendant was a third time offender he was sentenced to a fine of $756.00, plus court costs, and a ten-day jail sentence.
For people who have been previously licensed to drive the statute states that the defendant will be either fined or custodial term, but not both, for violators who have previously been licensed to drive.
If you have been charged with a motor vehicle offense you should consult with an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney to help optimize the chances of obtaining a favorable result for your case.
Law Office of Vincent J. Sanzone, Jr., Elizabeth, New Jersey, (908) 354-7006

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Don’t Plea to a Sandy Hook Beach Lewdness Charge Without Consulting with an Experienced Sandy Hook Criminal Defense Attorney

The collateral consequences of pleading guilty to a lewdness offense can be significant.  Although thousands of visitors take advantage of the clothing optional beach located at the Gateway National Park, Sandy Hook, (Monmouth County, Town of Highlands) New Jersey, the U.S. Park Police Rangers have a zero tolerance for any activity which would constitute lewdness under federal or New Jersey state law.  Accordingly, many visitors to the beach might engage in conduct that would appear innocuous to the visitor, but illegal in the eyes of the rangers.  For example any inappropriate touching of the private parts by the visitor or his or her guest will be considered illegal and subject the violator to immediate arrest and summons to the federal district court in Newark for prosecution by the United States Attorney of New Jersey.

Therefore, if you have been charged with such an offense or any related or other charges at the Sandy Hook National Park, you are strongly advised to consult the services of an experienced New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney who has handled many such cases (24-years of experience) with satisfactory results for the alleged offender.

This blog is a public service to the people from the Law Office of Vincent J. Sanzone, Jr., and is not intended to give any specific legal advice to any specific client since each case stands or falls on the particular facts of the case.

Dated: July 9, 2014

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

Monday, June 23, 2014


In another defense victory the Supreme Court ruled that a search warrant being executed of a suspect’s home does not authorize the police to conduct a search of the suspect’s vehicle parked some distance away from the house.  In this case the search warrant authorized the search of the house and all people present in the house reasonably believed connected to the premises or involved in the alleged illegal activity.

Initially, the trial court denied the motion to suppress the 30-bags of crack cocaine which was found on the suspect while sitting in his automobile.  The Appellate Division reversed citing, Bailey v. United States, 133 S.Ct. 103 (2013) which held a search of a suspect who has left the search warrant “spatial area”, cannot be detained or searched unless justified by some other reason other than the search warrant of the premises.  In this case there was no evidence that the suspect was fleeing the area, or was identified as being connected to the house.

A motion to suppress evidence sometimes is the most valuable weapon in the arsenal of a criminal defense attorney.  Make sure that before you take a plea that you have an experienced criminal defense attorney analyzed or case to determine whether you have a chance to have the contraband seized suppressed.

Attorney Sanzone has been successful in many of his cases in which this was a viable issue, and has had many cases dismissed because of the suppression of evidence regarding various types of contraband.

Law Office of Vincent J. Sanzone, Jr.
P.O. Box 261
277 North Broad Street
Elizabeth, N.J. 07207

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Gun Suppressed on Motion to Suppress When Cops Pull Motorist Over for Allegedly Failing To Dim High Beam Lights

This post as been prepared as a public service to the People by the Law Office of Vincent J. Sanzone, Jr., a New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney, serving all the State of New Jersey.

N.J.S.A. 39:3-60 requires that any motor vehicle being driven at night on the road must dim its high beam lights upon the approach of oncoming vehicles.  In this case the patrol officer was parked on the side of road when he gave pursuit for a motorist failing to dim its lights. 

The appellate division in State v. Witt held that the police officer did not have probable cause to stop the vehicle because the patrol vehicle was parked on the side of the road and not traveling directly into the vehicle, which failed to dim its high beam lights.

In this case Mr. Witt was arrested for DWI when he allegedly failed field sobriety tests.  Arrested and handcuffed in the back seat of the patrol vehicle, the patrolman decided to do a warrantless search of the vehicle in search of an open container.  In searching the vehicle the officer found a handgun.

The appellate division held that under well established case law, State v. Pena-Flores, 198 N.J. 6 (2009), there were no exigent circumstances which permitted the search without a warrant, and that even if there were, the officer did not have probable cause to stop the automobile in the first place because Mr. Witt did not violate the high beam motor vehicle law.

Before you plead guilty to a crime in which an automobile was involved and a warrantless search was conducted you must consult an experienced New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney, to consult you as to whether you have a viable Fourth Amendment motion to suppress the evidence that might have been unlawfully seized.

P.O. Box 261
277 North Broad Street
Elizabeth, N.J. 07207

(908) 354-7006

Friday, May 30, 2014

New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney Alert From the Law Office of Vincent J. Sanzone, Jr.

Any incarcerated defendant who is serving an extended term based on the prosecutor filing an extended term application based on a second conviction for intent to distribute within 500 feet of public housing must file PCR to have extended term rescinded.

The Appellate Division in State v. Patterson (May 9, 2014) recently held that the trial judge imposed an illegal sentence when the prosecutor moved for an extended term based on N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6(f).  The appellate division ruled that section 6(f) does not list the public facility offense as one of the offenses allowing for an extended term.

In this case the trial judge at the request of the prosecutor sentenced the defendant for his second degree conviction as a first degree crime, sentencing him to 12-years in state prison with five-years of parole ineligibility.

Any incarcerated defendant having been sentenced to an extended term based on the prosecutor filing the extended term application based on 2C:43-6(f), is entitled to a reduction of his or her sentence.

This post is being submitted as a public service as a general statement of New Jersey Criminal Law.  Note, this post is not be submitted as promising or guaranteeing any specific legal result, since each case is uniquely different, and results may vary from case to case.

New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney
Law Office of Vincent J. Sanzone, Jr., Esq.
Serving, Union, Essex, Hudson, Bergen, Middlesex, Ocean, Monmouth, Passaic, Somerset, Morris counties in New Jersey

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Promises by Law Enforcement for Leniency Leads to a Remand for Evidentiary Hearing.

State v. Carl Hreha, New Jersey Supreme Court, decided May 15, 2014.

Defendant, Carl Hreha, asserted that he waived his Miranda rights and confessed to a crime because the arresting State Police detectives had made promises of leniency to him, thus making his confession not knowingly or voluntary.

Specifically, the officers had promised lenient treatment in exchange for his confession. It was alleged that promises had included that he would not be handcuffed when he was removed from the Hughes Justice Complex, would not be jailed for the week-end, would be admitted to PTI, and would not lose his job with the Attorney General’s Office.

Under New Jersey law, promises of leniency are not per se unlawful, and do not render a subsequent confession involuntary, but such promises under the totality of the circumstances may render such a confession involuntary, and hence, inadmissible.  In other words, based on the promises made, and other factors, the trial court can determine that the confession was not knowingly and voluntary.

It is well settled however, that before any suspect under custody can be questioned, that the suspect be advised of his Miranda Rights.  However, once a defendant has been so advised, the defendant may waive his or her Miranda rights and confess, but that waiver must be “voluntary, knowing, and intelligent.”

In New Jersey, the State shoulders the burden of proving
beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant’s confession was
actually volunteered and that the police did not overbear
the will of the defendant. See, State v. Galloway, 133
N.J. 631, 654 (1993). Determining whether the State has met that burden requires a court to assess “the totality of the circumstances, including both the characteristics of the defendant and the nature of the interrogation.”

Although not a bright line rule, after a 104 hearing, the trial court can conclude that a defendant’s confession was involuntary if the interrogating officers extended a promise so enticing as to induce that confession. See, State v. Fletcher, 380 N.J. Super. 80, 89 (App. Div. 2005)

In the Hreha case it was determined that the trial court improperly gave undue weight to the credibility of the detective and mis-characterized the testimony of the State police detective.

The Supreme Court took issue with the fact that the trial court mis-characterized the testimony provided by the detective.   The trial court determined that the detective’s testimony directly contradicted defendant’s version of events, and the trial court chose to credit the detective’s testimony over defendant. However, the detective only testimony regarding such promises was provided in response to questions by defense counsel during cross-examination. Instead of denying that the officers had extended any such promises, he merely asserted that he could not recollect whether any promises had been made.

Further, the Supreme Court took issue with the trial court explained that defendant’s audio-recorded statement included no mention of any promises of leniency, and defendant denied being subjected to coercion or 21 threats. That statement, however, captured only eight minutes of a lengthy interrogation; defendant alleges that he was offered leniency long before he provided the recorded statement. Moreover, although defendant twice denied having been coerced or threatened, the officers did not ask whether he had been offered leniency in exchange for his confession.

Based on the foregoing the Supreme Court remanded the case back to a new judge to determine whether the facts warrant a suppression of the confession.

P.O. Box 261
277 North Broad Street
Elizabeth (Union County), New Jersey
(909) 354-7006

New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney with 24-years experience in defending people accused of crimes in Union, Essex, Bergen, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Somerset Passaic, Warren, Camden, Atlantic Counties.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer Client Recommendation

Law Office of Vincent J. Sanzone, Jr.

All attorneys appreciate letters from clients attesting to the Attorney’s skill and dedication. Enclosed is a letter of recommendation which my client wished me to publish as a token of his appreciate to me for the work that was accomplished on the criminal charges which were unfairly charged against him.

"I would highly recommend Attorney Vincent J. Sanzone, Jr., to anyone in need of a New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney.
Mr. Sanzone through his honesty, high level of skill, dedication and experience in the field of criminal defense, has saved me not once, but twice.
There is no doubt in my mind that no other attorney would have been able to achieve the results which he obtained for me in having numerous criminal charges against me dismissed.
Lastly his fees are fair and modest for an attorney of his skill and repudiation and I was very lucky in finding him when I needed a good criminal attorney.
Because of Mr. Sanzone’s skill efforts and dedication I can go on with my life knowing that I have received a second chance.
You were a blessing to me, God Bless you and your work."

/S Steven Degani
Steven Degani
Dated: May 6, 2014 

Quote of the Day:  "All paths of glory but lead to the grave."
Thomas Gray

Monday, April 28, 2014

Jail Credits-Department of Corrections Failure to Lodge Detainer for Out-of-Court Sentence for New Jersey Sentence

The New Jersey Department of Corrections routinely decides that all out-of-court sentences that are being served out-of-state must run consecutive unless ordered otherwise by the courts.
Accordingly, when a defendant is release from custody from an out of state sentence the defendant will be brought back to New Jersey to start or continue serving his New Jersey sentence.

However, the law in New Jersey is to the contrary.  In New Jersey it is not the New Jersey Department of Corrections (DOC) that can make that decision but the New Jersey Superior Court which can only determine whether out of state sentence is to run concurrent or consecutive to a New Jersey Sentence.

In a recent case a defendant was released by the Department of Corrections of Pennsylvania and was free for six months.  After six months the defendant was picked up on a warrant in which he was brought back to New Jersey to continue his New Jersey sentence in which he escaped.

The defendant brought a motion to compel the DOC to give him credit for the six months in which he was free because the DOC failed to properly lodge a detainer while the defendant was in custody in Pennsylvania.  In the alternative the defendant requesting that his entire Pennsylvania sentence run concurrent to his New Jersey sentences.  The Superior Court in Union County ruled that the defendant was entitled to the six months that the defendant was free since New Jersey filed to properly lodge the detainer while the defendant was in custody in Pennsylvania.

The controlling case with his issue is Breeden v. New Jersey Department of Corrections, 132 N.J. 457 (1993), which held that issues of comity between states as to whether sentences should run concurrent or consecutive must be decided by the original New Jersey sentencing court.  Breeden v. New Jersey, 132 N.J. at 459.  Further, the time limits set forth in R. 3:21-10 do not apply for the relief the Defendant seeks. Breeden v. New Jersey, 132 N.J. at 470; See, Pressler & Verniero, 2014 N.J. Court Rules, Comment 3:21-10(2.5).  As the court in Breeden held under no circumstances shall the New Jersey Department of Corrections (“DOC”) decide whether a sentence is concurrent or consecutive. Breeden v. New Jersey, 132 N.J. at 469

The defendant argued in his motion that the defendant is entitled to jail credit for the time served under the Pennsylvania sentence under the general principals of comity.  Further, the sentence in Pennsylvania served the penal interest of New Jersey.

In Clark v. Floyd, 80 F.3d 371 (9th Cir. 1996), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held on an appeal from a denial of the defendant’s writ of habeas corpus that the defendant was entitled to jail credit from the time that the defendant was at
large after being erroneously released by state officials after his completion of his sentence.  This rational has been followed in the Third Circuit in Vega v. United States, 493 F.3d 310 (3rd. Cir. 2006). 

Tip of the Day:  In the plea agreement write, concurrent and coterminous.  Coterminous is defined as "coextensive in time or meaning."  Black's Law Dictionary 374 (8th Ed. 2004).  Sentences that have been ordered to be served coterminously have been understood to "coterminate" or end at the same time as the previously imposed sentence.  See Joiner v. State, 625 So.2d 1173 (Ala. Crim. App. 1993)

Law Office of Vincent J. Sanzone, Jr., Esq.
Office No. (908) 354-7006
Cell No.  (201) 240-5716

277 North Broad Street
P.O. Box 261
Elizabeth, (Union County) N.J. 07207