Monthly Archives: August 2009
08/13/09 – 8:54 pm] By notice dated August 13th, the New Jersey Supreme Court has authorized the granting of retro-active mandatory continuing legal education credits for certain courses taken from January 1st of this year. The credits will apply to any program of mandatory continuing legal education adopted in the future by the Court. Among the courses covered by the notice are those that were taken in satisfaction of attorney trial certification, those that were taken to satisfy the skills and methods requirement and those that were taken in an effort to satisfy the requirements of another state’s continuing legal education program. The Court went on to note that the maximum number of retro-active credits that will be awarded following the adoption of mandatory CLE in New Jersey will be 24. The Supreme Court’s notice to the read as follows:
NOTICE TO THE BAR
Supreme Court’s Ad Hoc Committee on Continuing Legal Education
Credit for Courses Taken after January 1, 2009
The Final Report of the Supreme Court’s Ad Hoc Committee on Continuing Legal Education was submitted to the Supreme Court and comments have been received and reviewed by the Court, but the Court has not yet taken final action on the recommendations of the Committee. To ensure that attorneys continue to participate in continuing legal education programs while the Committee’s Final Report is pending, the Court has determined to provide advance notice that any new continuing legal education program that may be adopted by the Court pursuant to the Committee’s recommendations will grant credit for certain qualifying continuing legal education courses taken after January 1, 2009. At a minimum, the following categories of courses shall be awarded such credit: (a) courses taken in satisfaction of the requirements for New Jersey certified attorneys pursuant to Rule 1:39-2(d); (b) courses that satisfy the skills and methods requirements of Rule 1:26; and (c) courses that are taken in satisfaction of another State’s continuing legal education program. The maximum number of credit hours that will be awarded for courses taken prior to the effective date of any new continuing legal education program shall not exceed twenty-four.
Mark Neary, Esq.
Clerk of the Supreme Court
Dated: August 13, 2009
[08/12/09 – 3:08 pm] This morning, the Appellate Division announced a new rule of procedure that law enforcement agencies should follow when attempting to obtain a waiver of Miranda rights from juvenile suspects. In State in the Interest of A.S., the police were called upon to investigate an aggravated sexual assault perpetrated by a 14 year-old female upon her 4 year-old nephew. During the police interview, the 14 year-old suspect was accompanied by an adult advisor, her mother who was also the grandmother of the victim. At the interview, the suspect’s mother manifested a clear conflict of interest in favor of the 4-year old victim and took aggressive, affirmative steps to have the suspect waive her right to remain silent, her right to counsel and to confess. The police even permitted the suspect’s mother to read the Miranda rights form to her.
In evaluating the totality of the circumstances, the Appellate Division found that the parental conflict in this case was the decisive factor. In ordering the suppression of the suspect’s confession, the Appellate Division advised police and prosecutors that,” where the adult advisor is known to have a close family relationship to both the victim and the alleged perpetrator, the prudent approach would be to require the presence of an attorney capable of advising the juvenile with respect to her rights and her potential culpability[.]”
The holding in the case is the second new rule related to waiver of juvenile Miranda rights in the past two weeks. On July 29th, the Supreme Court also announced new procedural rules related to juvenile confessions in State in the Int. of PMP, a case that can be found posted on Muni-mail.
Download a copy of State in the Int. of A.S.
[09/10/09 – 10:33 pm] This morning, the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct (ACJC) released a complaint that charged Atlantic County Superior Court Judge Steven Perskie with a number of violations of the Rules of Court and the New Jersey Code of Judicial Conduct (ACJC). The complaint alleges that the judge was improperly hesitant to recuse himself from hearing a case during which a long-term, personal friend and business associate was likely to testify as a key witness. Thereafter, following his recusal, the judge actually attended the trial on two occasions and remained in court watching the proceedings for a substantial period of time. The ACJC also contended in the complaint that the judge was less than candid about his activities related to this case during his sworn testimony before the Senate as part of his reappointment process.
The judge will now have an opportunity to file an answer to the complaint and contest the allegations in a plenary, public hearing before the ACJC. All final discipline in matters involving judges is imposed by the Supreme Court.
Download a copy of the complaint in In re Perskie.
[8/11/09 – 6:02 pm] The Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct (ACJC) has released a new complaint charging a judge of the Superior Court with several violations of the New Jersey Code of Judicial Conduct as a result of certain anti-Semitic remarks he made in court a short time before the beginning of the Passover holiday. In the complaint, the ACJC alleges that Superior Court Judge William L’E. Wertheimer responded to a request from an attorney appearing before him to leave court early due to the holiday by asking the attorney if he should inform the jury that the trial would conclude for the day so that one or both counsel could attend a “Bund meeting.” The Nazi Bund was an American-based, anti-Semitic organization that publicly promoted NAZI goals and philosophy in the United States via mass meetings and demonstrations during the years leading up to World War II, roughly from 1936 through 1939.
As a result of prior incidents on judicial discipline, the ACJC contends that the Judge has engaged in a pattern of misconduct. The Respondent judge will now have an opportunity to file an answer to the allegations set forth in the complaint and to contest them in a plenary hearing before the ACJC. Any and all final discipline in judicial matters must be imposed by the Supreme Court.
Download a copy of In re Wertheimer.
[8/9/09 – 9:49 pm] On Friday, the governor signed into law amendments to NJSA 12:7-63 and NJSA 12:7-69 dealing with personal watercraft. NJSA 12:7-69 as amended will now permit municipal and county police officers to enforce all of the statutory provisions related to the operation of personal water craft in New Jersey. The expanded enforcement jurisdiction for local law police over the operation of “Sea-Doo” and other types of personal watercraft covers a wide range of maritime activities, including speeding (NJSA 12:7-64(b)). The companion amendments to NJSA 12:7-63 place further, new restrictions upon the operation of personal watercraft in New Jersey. The amended statutes read as follows:
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. Section 2 of P.L.1993, c.299 (C.12:7-63) is amended to read as follows:
2. A person shall not operate a personal watercraft:
a. On the waters of this State between sunset and sunrise, or during any time of restricted visibility as determined by an agent or officer of the Marine Law Enforcement Bureau, Division of State Police;
b. Within the confines of the Point Pleasant Canal in the County of Ocean, or the Cape May Canal in the County of Cape May;
c. Above minimum headway speed within 1002 feet of:
(1) Buoys or signs that mark the boundaries of a swimming area ;
(2) The shoreline; [or]
(3) Any person in the water; or
(4) Residential dwelling units; or
d. In such a manner as to make the vessel completely leave the water or otherwise become airborne within 100 feet of another vessel.
(cf: P.L.1993, c.299, s.2)
2. Section 8 of P.L.1993, c.299 (C.12:7-69) is amended to read as follows:
8. A person who violates any provision of P.L.1993, c.299 (C.12:7-62 et seq.) shall be subject to the fines and penalties enumerated pursuant to section 8 of P.L.1952, c.157 (C.12:7-51). The Division of State Police in the Department of Law and Public Safety, and any officer of a county or municipal police department are authorized to enforce the provisions of P.L.1993, c.299 (C.12:7-62 et seq.) in a proceeding before a court of competent jurisdiction concerning the operation of personal watercraft, however, the Division of State Police shall maintain primary jurisdiction over the investigation of accidents and crimes involving the operation of1 personal watercraft.
[08/03/09 – 10:14 am] The provisions of NJSA 39:4-50.2 require that a person who operates a motor vehicle on a public road, street, highway or quasi-public area of the State shall be deemed to have given his consent to providing breath samples to the police when there is probable cause to believe he has operated a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. To date, there has been very little case law defining the concept of “quasi-public area.” However, in this morning’s Appellate Division decision captioned State v. Bertrand, the Court ruled that a private parking garage with sufficient room for 300 spaces constituted a quasi-public area sufficient to trigger the requirement that the intoxicated defendant (who was a trespasser there) submit to providing samples of his breath.
Download a copy of State v. Bertrand.
[7/31/09 – 9:10 pm] The provisions of NJSA 39:3-74 provide in pertinent part that “[N]o person shall drive any vehicle so constructed, equipped or loaded as to unduly interfere with the driver’s vision to the front and to the sides.” In today’s Appellate Division decision captioned State v. Barrow, the Court ruled that a pair of tiny boxing gloves, measuring 3 ½ inches by 3 ½ inches that were hanging from the defendant’s rear-view mirror provided a police officer with sufficient reasonable suspicion to effect a motor vehicle stop of the defendant’s car. The officer who made the vehicle stop saw the gloves from across an intersection. His stop of the defendant’s motor vehicle ultimately resulted in the discovery of controlled dangerous substances in the defendant’s possession.
The Appellate Division’s holding in this case includes a study of all the so-called view obstruction cases from around the country as well as a comment by the Court that although the tiny gloves in question may not have been sufficient to support a conviction at trial for a violation of NJSA 39:3-74, they did provide sufficient reasonable suspicion to support the traffic stop.
Download a copy of State v. Barrow.