STATE OF NEW JERSEY IN THE INTEREST OF C.F. A-2718-12T2In 2012, C.F. was charged and tried as a juvenile for a felony murder committed in 1976. He was found guilty and given a ten-year sentence, the maximum permitted by a law enacted in 1983 and still in effect. The State appealed, arguing the judge should have applied the law in effect when the offense was committed — that repealed law permitted the imposition of an indeterminate life sentence.
The court affirmed, holding that the trial judge did not violate the savings statute, N.J.S.A. 1:1-15, which generally bars retroactive application of new laws, because the triggering date for application of the savings statute was the date the juvenile "incurred" a "penalty," not the date he "committed" the "offense." The juvenile here did not incur a penalty until found guilty in 2012; the trial judge properly applied the sentencing law on the books at that time and not the law discarded by the Legislature decades earlier.