March 14

Juror indicted for lying

A juror in a Newark murder trial was removed from the jury and indicted for lying during questioning in picking the jury. Apparently, the woman failed to disclose a disorderly persons conviction and a DCPP investigation into charges she abused her children. The DCPP investigation was dropped but she began discussing the case during jury deliberations. Many jurors felt she was biased and turned the matter over to the judge who dismissed her from the jury and referred the matter to the prosecutors office. People need to take the oath of being a juror seriously.

March 7

Fourth Degree DWI Jail Time Must be Served

In State v. Harris decided by the Appellate Division on February 4, 2015, the Court mandated that the 180 day jail term cannot be served thru alternative noncustodial programs. Prosecutors are intrepreting this to mean no Pre-trial Intervention (PTI) as well. But remember you have a defense if your term of suspenion is over for the DWI and you are only administratively suspended or your license is merely not been restored. Call John Paragano to learn your rights under the law if you are faced with a fourth degree DWI charge.

March 7

Jury trial for repeat DWI offenders?

For years it was well settled law that DWI constituted a motor vehicle offense and since the penalty of a maximum of six months in jail for third or more DWI offenses was Constitutional without a jury trial, no jury was permitted. However, the New Jersey Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case where a person charged with a forth offense DWI is demanding a jury. If the law changes, it will be a real game changer!

March 7

Smell of Pot and Probable Cause for Search

In State v. Samuell the Appellate Division ruled that the strong smell of marijuana and anonymous reports of shots fired and unlawful firearms was not sufficient circumstanes for a police officer to jump a fence and make an arrest without first obtaining a warrant. Jumping over the fence and on to private property violated the Defendant’s right against unreasonable search and seizure. The police officers did not have probable cause in this case, only a reasonable and articulable suspicion. Any search lacking probable cause or a warrant requires that a police officer be in a place he is legally entitled to be to observe the crime being committed. At the smell of pot, jumping over a fence and onto private propery goes too far with only a reasonable and articulable suspicion.

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