Burlington County, NJ Law Blog

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

N.J. Supreme Court Urges Leniency in Sentencing Youths

What factors must be considered before sentencing a juvenile defendant?

A recent New Jersey Supreme Court opinion could reduce the number of juveniles sentenced to lengthy prison sentences for violent crimes. In the case of State v. Zuber, defendant Zuber was sentenced to 110 years in prison with parole ineligibility for 55 years for his part in two gang rapes that happened when he was 17.  Zuber will be 72 years old before he is eligible for parole.  In sentencing Zuber, the trial court failed to consider the defendant’s youth when it issued the equivalent of a life sentence.

Read more . . .

Monday, January 30, 2017

New Law Limits Domestic Violence Offenders' Access to Firearms

How does New Jersey enforce domestic violence laws?

In January, New Jersey Gov, Chris Christie signed into law a measure that limits access to firearms for individuals who have been convicted of domestic violence offenses or are under restraining orders. This move comes after the governor vetoed an earlier version of the bill last May.

While that measure had bi-partisan support, Christie proposed a workaround that would have expedited the permit process for survivors of domestic abuse who sought to obtain a gun for their own protection. After threatening to override the veto, lawmakers crafted a revised bill (S2483) that bans convicted domestic violence offenders and others under a restraining order from possessing firearms and requires them to surrender or sell their weapons.


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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Reforming the Bail System in New Jersey and Nationwide

How is bail set in New Jersey?

Across the nation, hundreds of thousands of individuals are sitting in jail awaiting trial because they are unable to make bail.  They may wait in jail for months for even minor charges, while those charged with more serious offense could wait for far longer.  Jurisdictions across the country are beginning to take notice of the detrimental effects of the traditional bail system.  Reforms are being implemented in many areas, including New Jersey.

Traditional Bail May Discriminate Against the Poor

Supporters of bail reform urge that the current bail system leaves poorer individuals in jail, while those with more access to funds and property go free—regardless of whether they are charged with the same offense.

Read more . . .

Monday, December 26, 2016

What is an ‘indictable offense’ in New Jersey?

Criminal offenses take many names depending upon the jurisdiction. From felony to petty crimes, each offense listed in a state’s penal code carries a certain maximum – and, in some cases, minimum – penalties, including fines, jail time, restitution or probation.

In New Jersey, the legislature essentially did away with the term “felony offense,” replacing it with the unique title of “indictable offense.

Read more . . .

Monday, November 28, 2016

NJ Supreme Court Upholds Plain View Drug Bust

How do I challenge an illegal search and seizure in New Jersey?

A recent ruling by the New Jersey Supreme Court could lead to more warrantless search and seizures.  The ruling does away with one requirement to the state’s plain view doctrine, which sets out under what circumstances police can seize evidence without a warrant if it is in plain sight.  While the ruling is said to bring state law into line with federal law, it could mean changes for defendants in New Jersey.  

Facts of the Case

Xiomara Gonzales was pulled over by police officers while driving toward the Garden State Parkway in 2009.  Police stopped her as part of a surveillance effort on an alleged drug distribution operation.

Read more . . .

Monday, November 28, 2016

Sentencing: The Real Mystery

Is it possible to predict what sentence a defendant will receive?

Some criminal defense attorneys are so good at what they do that they can predict how a jury will decide. While no one can guarantee a specific outcome, having a clear picture of the chances of a conviction can be a valuable asset for a defendant and seriously affect his or her decision-making. What can be more complicated is predicting how the defendant might be sentenced. With state statutes, federal sentencing guidelines and the judge’s discretion in play, sentencing can be a real mystery.

Take, for example, the recent New Jersey case involving a conspiracy to back up traffic at the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee.

Read more . . .

Monday, October 31, 2016

Stop and Frisk in New Jersey

If you watch the news or follow politics at all, you are probably familiar with the term “stop and frisk.” Stop and frisk is a popular, yet controversial, police tactic used all over the country. It is a hot topic in the news and during the current election season because many believe that it is often used as a method of racial profiling and is therefore vocative of the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure and the Fourteenth Amendment right that provides equal protection of law.

What is stop and frisk?

Stop and frisk is a police tactic that enables an officer to stop an individual and question him or her with a low level of suspicion that a crime has been or is about to be committed. If the officer then has reasonable suspicion that the person has a weapon or is dangerous to the officer in any other way, the officer may pat the person down over his or her clothes, or frisk him or her, as it is commonly called.

Read more . . .

Monday, October 31, 2016

Long Awaited Bail Reform Takes Effect Soon in New Jersey

 For years, proponents of bail reform in the State of New Jersey have been trying to get a law passed that will significantly change the current state system. Well, much to their delight, and to the benefit of future defendants, that law has finally been signed and is going to take effect in January of 2107.

When considering bail reform, one must think about what purposes bail actually serves.

Read more . . .

Monday, September 26, 2016

Roughing the Kicker’s Wife?

Q: Can a domestic violence arrest affect my employment?

It’s football season—and all your rowdy friends are here.

It’s common to see a professional football player push another, throw them to the ground, jump on top of them, or even use a forearm on the back of the neck to pin an opponent’s face to the turf.

But no one expects this kind of behavior from the kicker…especially against his own wife.

Read more . . .

Monday, September 26, 2016

Michelle Lodzinski, Convicted of Killing Her Son, Seeks Acquittal or New Trial

On what grounds can I seek a new trial?

Twenty-five years ago, Michelle Lodzinski reported her five-year old son Timothy Wiltsey missing.  Lodzinski claimed that Timmy disappeared while they were attending a carnival in Sayreville, New Jersey.  Despite a massive search effort, the boy was not found.  Over a year after his disappearance, Timothy’s remains were located in a marsh close to where his mother once worked.  Nearly two decades after this grisly discovery, prosecutors officially charged Lodzinski with the murder of her son.

Read more . . .

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Prey for Me: New Jersey Priest Accused of Sexual Abuse

How can a sexual abuse charge impact your life and reputation?

Sexual offenses, which are non-consensual acts, may include inappropriate/offensive touching, sexual battery, unlawful sexual contact, and rape.

The sexual assault of children is universally considered one of the most deplorable of all crimes, but when the alleged perpetrator is a priest, the reaction is kicked up to lynch mob proportions.

Recently, an investigation was launched against a former Hudson County priest with respect to allegations of sexual abuse dating back twenty years to when the priest was ministering at St.
Read more . . .

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