Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Mere Presence Jury Charge and Defense Witness List Prior to Trial

Presented as a public service by the Law Office of Vincent J. Sanzone, Jr., a New Jersey Criminal Defense attorney with 28-years of experience defending people charged with crimes.
State v. Tier

On May 2, 2027, the New Jersey Supreme Court recently decided in State v. Tier, that a criminal defendant is not required to give the prosecutor a written synopses of the defenses factual witnesses. 
The court held that Rule 3:13-3(b)(2)(c) only requires that the defense provide written statements to the State only if the defense witness is interviewed by a defense investigator and that interview was reduced to a writing, or written signed statement of the witness.

The court did rule however, that the defense was required to designate whether the witnesses were character or factual witnesses. 
This is a good criminal defense decision authored by Justice Timpone.

State v. Randolph
In another opinion authored by Justice Albin on the same day, the New Jersey Supreme Court held in State v. Randolph that a defendant had reasonable expectation of privacy in an abandoned or vacant apartment, and that the defendant charged with a CDS charge found in that so called vacant apartment had automatic standing to contest the warrantless search.  The Supreme Court held that the trial court was required to determine after the motion hearing as to whether the apartment was really vacant or abandoned.

The court also held that the trial court erred in refusing to give the “mere presence” charge, however, the court held that in this case failing to give the charge amounted to harmless error since the mere presence charge was charged in other areas of the jury charge.
This was also a good criminal defense decision.

Law Office of Vincent J. Sanzone, Jr.
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