Muni-mail – Ooopps! Supreme Court Withdraws Previous Opinion – State v. Dellisanti

[09/20/10 – 1:46 pm] Last week, the New Jersey Supreme Court withdrew its previous opinion in the case of State v. Dellisanti and issued a new opinion with a different outcome. The initial decision was based upon a fact pattern where the Justices were told (as was the Appellate Division) that the defendant had been removed from his trial by way of arrest on an outstanding probation warrant and transported tout of the court room to another county while the jury deliberated. His absence was explained away to the jury by the judge by saying that the defendant was ill and seeking medical attention. The defendant was not in court when the jury returned and published the verdict. Following the publication of the case, the trial judge (since retired) communicated with the Court and provided evidence that, in fact, the reason the defendant was not in court was indeed related to the immediate need for medical aid and had nothing to do with being arrested on a warrant. Counsel for the defendant and the State subsequently stipulated that these were the correct facts. As a result, in its second opinion, the Court took the highly unusual action of withdrawing its initial decision and went on to hold that by seeking medical attention, the defendant had waived his right to be present at his own trial.

Download a copy of State v. Dellisanti

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