Archive for February 2011

NEW JERSEY CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYERS REVIEW RECENT NJ SUPREME COURT CASE OVERTURNING A MURDER CONVICTION BASED UPON BEHAVIOR OF TRIAL COURT JUDGE.

The New Jersey Supreme Court is clear: Judges must remain impartial and not give a jury any indication that he or she is partial to one side or the other during the course of a trial.

Based upon a Judges conduct demonstrating bias toward the State of New Jersey in a criminal case, the NJ Supreme Court reversed the conviction. In that case, the active role the trial judge took in supporting the testimony of witnesses for the State and while at the same time expressing disbelief as to the testimony advanced by the defendant and his witnesses. The Supreme Court noted that a defendant on trial in a New Jersey courtroom is entitled to be confronted by just one, single adversary in the person of the prosecutor and should not be subjected to the additional burden of a trial judge who disbelieves his evidence and conveys that impression to the jury.

Legal Quote of the Week:

Law offers a guiding thread to us…one of purpose – and a purpose infinitely worthwhile, for in the long view it is more important that human beings should learn to get on with each other than that they should be more comfortable materially and safer physically.

Helen M. Cam, English historian

Lecture, “Law as It Looks to a Historian”, Girton College, February 18, 1956