NEW JERSEY LAWYERS STUDY SUPREME COURT’S RULINGS CONCERNING DESTROYING CONTEMPORANEOUS NOTES AND CSAAS EXPERT TESTIMONY

After the defendant made a videotaped confession to sexually abusing his 14-year old stepdaughter, a Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office detective made her final report and destroyed her notes. In the case against the defendant, the prosecution psychiatrist and Child Sexual Abuse Accommodation Syndrome expert testified about the syndrome and explained that the syndrome “outlines frequently observed victim behaviors.”

The Appellate Division was left to determine whether destroying contemporaneous notes would require the imposition of an ‘appropriate sanction.’ The Appellate Division also examined the guidelines of expert testimony on CSAAS.

As a result of this case, the state Supreme Court notified law enforcement to abandon the practice of destroying contemporaneous notes taken during an investigation. If the notes are not preserved the defendant may be entitled to an adverse-inference charge. The Court also ruled that the expert testimony on CSAAS may only be used as “a map to understanding the impact of the crime.”    Please visit the website of New Jersey Criminal Attorney, John F.  Renner for more information.

Legal Quote of the Week:

“The dependence of the average citizen on the police is evident in daily life. Let almost anything happen that is out of the ordinary and their first reaction is ‘call a cop’”

Burr W. Leyson

NEW JERSEY CRIMINAL ATTORNEY APPEALS TO DETERMINE CONDITIONS OF USE FOR UNSIGNED CONFESSIONS

On August 7, 2000, the defendant allegedly murdered an 85-year-old woman he considered to be his grandmother. The defendant later turned himself in and providedTrentonpolice with both an informal and a transcribed confession. The transcribed confession was presented in the form of questions and answers but before the confession was completed, a family lawyer arrived and advised against further speech. At the trial, the detective who took the confession provided the unsigned statement to the jury while questioning the defendant, without objection from the defense attorney.

The Assistant Deputy Public Defender argued that it was “plain error” to provide jurors with the physical confession, stating that “having something in your hand is so powerful as compared with hearing a recitation.”

The Appellate Division agreed that providing the jurors with the unsigned confession had the possibility of producing unjust results. The Appellate Division ruled that for a confession to be used in trial, a judge must first conduct a Rule 104 hearing to determine whether the confession was voluntary and that the defendant is aware of his rights.  For more information regarding NJ Criminal Law, please contact New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney John F. Renner.

Legal Quote of the Week:

“Confession of evil works is the first beginning of good works”

St. Augustine, 354-430,FranklinPierceAdams, F.P.A., Book of Quotations, 1952

New Jersey Criminal Attorneys Contemplate The Conditions Required For Abuse And Neglect Charges

In 2008, the defendant was charged with abuse and neglect of her 16-year-old stepdaughter. The Division of Youth and Family Services claimed that the defendant had slapped and taken money from the teenage girl. DYFS also argued that the girl was subject to neglect due to the lack of central heat in the home. When the defendant was unable to attend the hearings due to medical issues the case received a default judgment.

The Appellate Division upheld the default judgment on the findings of abuse and neglect. The defendant’s New Jersey criminal attorney appealed the decision.

The state Supreme Court ruled that, though DYFS had “good motive” for investigating the defendant, the findings did not lead to “the establishment of abuse or neglect violations” by the defendant. The Court argued that the defendant’s behavior did not impair the physical, mental, and emotional condition of the teenager.

Visit the website of NJ Criminal Attorney, John F. Renner, to learn more about the criminal process in both state and federal courts of New Jersey.

Legal Quote of the Week:

“Let nothing which is disgraceful to be spoken of or to be seen, approach this place where a child is”

Juvenal, Satires, c. 120

New Jersey Criminal Attorney Considers Supreme Court Ruling On DYFS Involvement In Adult Probation.

As a minor, J.S. sexually assaulted his younger sister, resulting in the 21-year-old having the juvenile court enter an order adjudicating him a delinquent. The court required the Division of Youth and Family Services to provide him with sex offender treatment, despite the fact that neither J.S., nor his family, had any previous involvement with DYFS.

DYFS appealed, arguing that the court lacked authority to require DYFS to provide services to J.S. as an adult since he was not within the category of persons to be serviced under DYFS’s authorizing statements.

The State Supreme Court ruled that the court had authority to order probation for J.S. but erred when it found that DYFS was the appropriate method to effectuate the disposition. By requiring DYFS to provide services to J.S. the fiscal resources of DYFS would be diverted from children to an adult with no prior contact to DYFS, an inefficient use of DYFS’s resources.

Click here to visit the website of New Jersey Criminal Attorney John F. Renner for more information.

Legal Quote of the Week:

“Adults are obsolete children and the hell with them.”

Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss)