STATE IN THE INTEREST OF D.M. A-0216-15T2In this juvenile delinquency case where a fourteen year old was charged with aggravated sexual assault of an eleven-year-old child, neither penetration nor coercion was found by the trial judge, who nonetheless convicted the juvenile of endangering the welfare of a child, N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4(a). The Legislature expressly stated its intent not to criminalize sexual contact between children less than four years apart in age absent either penetration or coercion. To the extent that the child endangerment statute might nonetheless be thought to include behavior of the nature found by the judge in this case, ambiguity in the construction of the statute must be resolved in favor of the juvenile both because the specific statute trumps the general statute and because ambiguous criminal statutes must be interpreted favorably to the accused.
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Sunday, August 06, 2017
IN THE MATTER OF THE EXPUNGEMENT OF THE ARREST/CHARGE RECORDS OF T.B./J.N.-T./ R.C. A-1516-16T1/A-1517
IN THE MATTER OF THE EXPUNGEMENT OF THE ARREST/CHARGE
RECORDS OF T.B./J.N.-T./ R.C.
The court considers whether Drug Court graduates seeking to expunge their criminal records pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:35-14(m) — the "Drug Court expungement statute," L. 2015, c. 261, §1 — must make a "public interest" showing as N.J.S.A. 2C:52-2(c)(3) requires for the expungement of certain third- and fourth-degree drug offenses. Based on the statute's plain language and legislative history, the court concludes that N.J.S.A. 2C:35-14(m)(2) imports the public interest requirement under N.J.S.A. 2C:52-2(c)(3). The court therefore vacates orders expunging the three applicants' criminal records and remands for application of the public interest test in light of In re Kollman, 210 N.J. 557 (2012), which applied the test to an expungement petition under Chapter 52.
State v. Amed Ingram
Neither the statute’s plain language nor principles of due process require the State to present testimony from a live witness at every detention hearing. Instead, the State may proceed by proffer to try to satisfy its burden of proof and show that detention is warranted. Trial judges, however, retain discretion to require direct testimony when they are dissatisfied with the State’s proffer.