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