STATE OF NEW JERSEY VS. EBONEE R. WILLIAMS
During plea negotiations, defendant gave a formal statement with the advice of counsel, after acknowledging that the statement could be used against her in the event of a trial. When plea negotiations failed, the trial court ruled defendant's statement could be used to impeach her if she testified at trial. The Appellate Division holds that N.J.R.E. 410 generally prohibits the use of any statement made during plea negotiations to impeach the person making the statement. However, consonant with the interpretation of Fed. R. Evid. 410 in United States v. Mezzanatto, 513 U.S. 196, 115 S. Ct. 797, 130 L. Ed. 2d 697 (1995), the Appellate Division holds that a defendant can waive N.J.R.E. 410's protection against use of such statements for impeachment, and that such a waiver is valid and enforceable absent an affirmative indication that the waiver was entered into unknowingly or involuntarily. The Appellate Division remands to allow the trial court and the parties to address whether waiver occurred here.