Supreme Court of New Jersey Decisions 2017

New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency v. A.B.  
Date: December 21, 2017
Docket Number: a-27-16

Justia Opinion Summary: Sixteen-year-old A.F. and her infant son lived with her biological mother, A.B., in an apartment owned by A.B.’s sister, J.F. In 2012, the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency (the Division) received a...

New Jersey v. Burkert  
Date: December 19, 2017
Docket Number: a-6-16

Justia Opinion Summary: William Burkert and Gerald Halton were corrections officers, who held positions in different unions representing distinct classes of officers. Their relationship became strained after Burkert read online comments attribu...

New Jersey v. Boone  
Date: December 18, 2017
Docket Number: a-3-16

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant Akeem Boone faced seven charges related to drugs and a weapon found during an August 2012 search of his apartment in Hackensack. He sought to suppress the evidence seized pursuant to a search warrant police had...

A.T. v. Cohen  
Date: December 14, 2017
Docket Number: a-12-16

Justia Opinion Summary: T.T., individually and on behalf of her three-year-old daughter, A.T., filed this medical malpractice action seeking damages from a hospital and several medical professionals for injuries caused during the child’s birth....

State v. Rolando Terrell
Date: November 29, 2017
Docket Number: a-25-16 PER CURIAM opinion, reported at ___ N.J. Super. ___ (App. Div. 2016). CHIEF JUSTICE RABNER and JUSTICES LaVECCHIA, PATTERSON, FERNANDEZ-VINA, SOLOMON, and TIMPONE join in this opinion. JUSTICE ALBIN filed a separate opinion, dissenting in part. 2 SUPREME COURT OF NEW JERSEY A-25 September Term 2016 077730 STATE OF NEW JERSEY, Plaintiff-Respondent, v. ROLANDO TERRELL, Defendant-Appellant. JUSTICE ALBIN, dissenting in part. The trial court erred in the second trial by removing a deliberating juror without determining whether her expressed emotional discomfort was related to juror discussions or conflicts with other jurors. A juror cannot be relieved of her duty because the deliberations are unpleasant or difficult, causing emotional turmoil or anxiety. To avoid the potential of improperly removing a juror for reasons related to the deliberative process, our trial judges must engage in a thorough yet precise colloquy. The trial court’s limited dialogue with Juror Number Two failed that test. Although the court questioned Juror Number Two about her emotional ability to continue, the court asked no questions concerning the source of her emotional distress. Precisely directed questions could have eliminated the possibility that the court unwittingly was removing a dissenting 1 juror who felt put upon by the majority. Because the removal of Juror Number Two without adequate cause compromised defendant’s right to a fair trial, I agree with Judge Higbee that a new trial should have been granted. Rule 1:8-2(d)(1) governs the removal of a juror after the commencement of deliberations. It provides that, during deliberations, a court may select an alternate juror only if “a juror dies or is discharged by the court because of illness or other inability to continue.” R. 1:8-2(d)(1). Here, we are concerned about the “inability to continue” provision of that rule. We have restrictively construed that provision “to protect a defendant’s right to a fair jury trial.” State v. Jenkins, 182 N.J. 112, 124 (2004). A trial court is forbidden from removing a deliberating juror when the “removal is in any way related to the deliberative process.” Ibid.; see also State v. Musa, 222 N.J. 554, 566 (2015) (“[T]he removal of a juror because he is disputatious and does not share the views of other jurors would undermine the very essence of the free and open debate that is expected of jury deliberations.”). A juror cannot be excused unless the circumstances “relate exclusively to the personal situation of the juror himself and not to his interaction with the other jurors or with the case itself.” State v. Valenzuela, 136 N.J. 458, 468 (1994) (quoting State v. Trent, 157 N.J. Super. 231, 239 (App. Div. 1978), rev’d 2 on other grounds, 79 N.J. 251 (1979)). Moreover, a juror may not be removed “unless the record ‘adequately establish[es] that the juror suffers from an inability to function that is personal and unrelated to the juror’s interaction with the other jury members.’” Jenkins, 182 N.J. at 124-25 (alteration in original) (quoting State v. Hightower, 146 N.J. 239, 254 (1996)). A juror’s emotional or psychological inability to function because of the death or illness of a family member, a work-connected crisis, or a threat directed to her outside the jury room are personal to her and unrelated to the deliberative process. Those may be adequate reasons for the removal of a juror consistent with Rule 1:8-2(d)(1). A physical or mental illness that renders a juror unable to deliberate also would be an adequate reason. Emotional angst caused by the grueling and sometimes harsh give-and-take among jurors is not. On the first day of deliberations, the jury sent a note to the court advising that, earlier in the day, a man outside the courthouse had said to Juror Number Two, as she passed by, “not guilty.” The trial court interviewed each juror, including Juror Number Two, and all said the event would not affect their ability to serve and remain impartial. The jury continued to deliberate that day and for two additional days. On the third day, Juror Number Two and another juror asked to be removed as deliberating jurors. 3 The court engaged in a colloquy with Juror Number Two, advising her not to reveal anything about the jury deliberations. Their brief dialogue follows: The Court: Do you feel that there is emotionally an inability for you to proceed and perform your duties as a deliberating juror? The Juror: Yes. The Court: Do you feel that these emotions that you have, again, would impact upon your ability to perform your function in this case? The Juror: No. I know it’s not balanced in what I’m saying, but there’s reasons why I can’t speak without giving away –- The Court: I don’t want you to talk about that. But emotionally, you feel you can’t continue? The Juror: Correct. The Court: I’m going to leave it at that for now. Thank you. Based on that perfunctory exchange, which elicited contradictory responses, the court removed Juror Number Two. Nowhere in the colloquy did the court ensure that Juror Number Two’s “emotions” were unrelated to the jury deliberations. The court could have pointedly asked whether her reasons to be removed concerned a personal matter -- such as illness or a family problem -- unrelated to the deliberations, and if she said yes, the court could have made further inquiry. 4 The court also could have asked the juror whether her “emotions” related to her earlier encounter outside the courthouse, even though after the incident she averred she could be impartial. If she said yes, that would have been a legitimate basis for her removal. Last, the court could have requested the juror to give a simple yes or no answer to the question of whether her emotional discomfort related to the deliberative process with her fellow jurors -- while expressly admonishing the juror to say nothing about the actual deliberations or any juror’s views or the vote count. The court’s colloquy was fatally flawed because it did not adequately establish that the juror’s emotional distress was “unrelated to the juror’s interaction with the other jury members.” See id. at 125. After Juror Number Two’s removal and the selection of an alternate juror, the jury returned a verdict in less than two and a half hours. The court’s removal of Juror Number Two without determining that she was unable to function in accordance with Rule 1:8-2(d)(1) constituted unwarranted judicial interference with the integrity of the deliberative process. I concur with Judge Higbee’s conclusion that defendant was entitled to a new trial. 5
EQR-LPC Urban Renewal North Pier, LLC v. City of Jersey City  
Date: November 15, 2017
Docket Number: a-16-16

Justia Opinion Summary: In this appeal, the New Jersey Supreme Court considered whether the 2000 and 2001 financial agreements between plaintiffs EQR-Lincoln Urban Renewal Jersey City, LLC (EQR-Lincoln), and EQR-LPC Urban Renewal North Pier, LL...

Granata v.Broderick  
Date: November 14, 2017
Docket Number: a-31-32-16

Justia Opinion Summary: In this appeal, the New Jersey Supreme Court considered whether an attorney’s pledge of anticipated attorney’s fees could be considered an account receivable and secured under Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code (UC...

Verry v. Franklin Fire District No. 1  
Date: August 7, 2017
Docket Number: a-77-15

Justia Opinion Summary: At issue in this appeal was a judgment requiring the release, pursuant to the Open Public Records Act (OPRA), of the constitution and bylaws of a volunteer fire company that was a member of a fire district established pu...

In the Matter of the New Jersey Firemen Association Obligation to Provide Relief Applications Under the Open Public Records Act  
Date: August 3, 2017
Docket Number: a-68-15

Justia Opinion Summary: The issue before the New Jersey Supreme Court in this case was whether, after a public entity denies a citizen's record request pursuant to the New Jersey Open Public Records Act (OPRA) and the common law right of access...

In the Matter of Atlantic County  
Date: August 2, 2017
Docket Number: a-100-15

Justia Opinion Summary: This appeal involved the collective negotiations agreements CNAs between: (1) Atlantic County and the Fraternal Order of Police, Atlantic Lodge #34 (FOP Lodge 34); (2) Atlantic County and the Atlantic County Prosecutor s...

In the Matter of County of Atlantic
Date: August 2, 2017
Docket Number: a-99-15
New Jersey v. Ingram  
Date: August 1, 2017
Docket Number: a-56-16

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2017, officers arrested defendant Amed Ingram after an officer observed him in possession of a defaced .45 caliber handgun loaded with eight rounds. The State charged defendant with second-degree unlawful possession o...

GMAC Mortgage, LLC v. TamiLynn Willoughby  
Date: July 31, 2017
Docket Number: a-97-15

Justia Opinion Summary: In November 2008, following the collapse of the housing market, the New Jersey Supreme Court implemented a statewide Residential Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program to address the economic crisis that left many facing...

Jones v. Morey Pier, Inc.  
Date: July 27, 2017
Docket Number: a-75-15

Justia Opinion Summary: This appeal arose out of the tragic death of eleven-year-old Abiah Jones after she fell from a ride in an amusement park. The issues this case presented for the New Jersey Supreme Court’s consideration was: (1) the circu...

EdanBen Elazar v. Macrietta Cleaners, Inc.
Date: July 26, 2017
Docket Number: a-11-16
Brown v. New Jersey  
Date: July 25, 2017
Docket Number: a-71-15

Justia Opinion Summary: This appeal concerns the applicability of qualified immunity to a claim brought under the New Jersey Civil Rights Act (NJCRA), N.J.S.A.10:6-1 to -2, against a police detective named in his individual and official capacit...

Capital Health System, Inc. v. Horizon Healthcare Services, Inc.  
Date: July 24, 2017
Docket Number: a-29-16

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant Horizon Healthcare Services, Inc., New Jersey’s largest health insurer, maintained a two-tiered provider-hospital system. Plaintiff Saint Peter’s University Hospital, Inc., and plaintiff Capital Health System,...

New Jersey v. S.B.  
Date: July 20, 2017
Docket Number: a-95-15

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant S.B. was a congregant of the Eternal Life Christian Center (ELCC), a registered non-profit and religious institution. Defendant was also subject to Megan’s Law because of two sexual assault convictions in 1991....

NorthJersey Media Group, Inc. v. Township of Lyndhurst
Date: July 11, 2017
Docket Number: a-35-15
Statev. Thomas L. Scott
Date: June 28, 2017
Docket Number: a-86-15
New Jersey v. S.S.  
Date: June 21, 2017
Docket Number: a-84-15

Justia Opinion Summary: In an interlocutory appeal, the New Jersey Supreme Court determined: (1) what the appropriate standard of appellate review of a trial court's factual findings was based solely on the court's viewing of a video-recorded p...

Paff v. Galloway Township  
Date: June 20, 2017
Docket Number: a-88-15

Justia Opinion Summary: The New Jersey Supreme Court addressed the scope of a municipality's obligation to disclose electronically stored information in accordance with the New Jersey Open Public Records Act (OPRA). Plaintiff John Paff filed a...

Statev. Dasean Harper
Date: June 5, 2017
Docket Number: a-74-15
Inthe Matter of Mark G. Legato, an Attorney at Law
Date: May 24, 2017
Docket Numbers: D-100-15, D-101-15
Statev. Fernando Carrero, Jr.
Date: May 22, 2017
Docket Number: a-13-16
New Jersey v. Miles  
Date: May 16, 2017
Docket Number: a-72-15

Justia Opinion Summary: New Jersey joins the majority of jurisdictions in returning to the “Blockburger same-elements test” as the sole test for determining what constitutes the same offense for purposes of double jeopardy. In the interest of j...

New Jersey v. Robinson  
Date: May 10, 2017
Docket Number: a-40-16

Justia Opinion Summary: In a matter of first impression, the New Jersey Supreme Court considered the newly enacted Criminal Justice Reform Act to address the type and scope of discovery the State must provide when it seeks to detain a defendant...

J.B. v. New Jersey State Parole Board  
Date: May 8, 2017
Docket Number: a-81-15

Justia Opinion Summary: Petitioners-parolees challenged the constitutionality of the practices of the New Jersey State Parole Board in administering polygraph examinations to sex offenders serving either parole supervision for life (PSL) or com...

New Jersey v. Randolph  
Date: May 3, 2017
Docket Number: a-70-15

Justia Opinion Summary: The primary issue in this appeal involved the warrantless search of an apartment, where the police found drugs and evidence allegedly linking defendant to the apartment. Evidence seized from the apartment was the basis f...

New Jersey v. Tier  
Date: May 2, 2017
Docket Number: a-73-15

Justia Opinion Summary: At a status conference, the State took issue with the witness list defendant produced because it listed the names of three men but did not provide identifiers, addresses, or synopses of their anticipated testimony which...

New Jersey v. Robinson  
Date: May 1, 2017
Docket Number: a-40-15

Justia Opinion Summary: The issue presented for the Supreme Court’s review was whether the protective sweep exception to the warrant requirement applied to a police officer’s search of a vehicle’s passenger compartment in the wake of a traffic...

Michael Conley, Jr. v. Mona Guerrero
Date: April 6, 2017
Docket Number: a-65-15
New Jersey v. Benjamin  
Date: April 5, 2017
Docket Number: a-43-15

Justia Opinion Summary: In this appeal, the issue presented for the Supreme Court's review was whether a defendant seeking a waiver of the mandatory minimum sentence under the Graves Act was entitled to discovery of the prosecutor's files from...

New Jersey v. Nance  
Date: April 5, 2017
Docket Number: a-47-48

Justia Opinion Summary: In consolidated sentencing appeals, the issue before the New Jersey Supreme Court was whether an amendment to the Graves Act, N.J.S.A.2C:43-6.2 (section 6.2), which authorized a prosecutor to move before the assignment j...

Conley v. Guerrero  
Date: April 3, 2017
Docket Number: a-65-15

Justia Opinion Summary: In 1983, the New Jersey Supreme Court affirmed a final consent judgment for a settlement agreement between the New Jersey State Bar Association and the New Jersey Association of Realtor Boards. The terms of the settlemen...

Motorworld, Inc. v. Benkendorf  
Date: March 30, 2017
Docket Number: a-64-15

Justia Opinion Summary: At issue in this case was whether a corporation's release of a debt constituted a constructively fraudulent transfer under the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act (UFTA). The debt that was released had previously been owed t...

New Jersey v. Garrison  
Date: March 20, 2017
Docket Number: a-38-15

Justia Opinion Summary: A grand jury indicted defendant Carl Garrison on several counts of child sexual abuse. The charges stemmed from allegations of abuse against his girlfriend s daughter, Joan. Joan testified that defendant abused her throu...

Roach v. BM Motoring, LLC  
Date: March 9, 2017
Docket Number: a-69-15

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiffs Emelia Jackson and Tahisha Roach purchased used cars from BM Motoring, LLC, and Federal Auto Brokers, Inc., doing business as BM Motor Cars (collectively, BM). As part of the transaction, each plaintiff signed...

New Jersey v. Robertson  
Date: March 8, 2017
Docket Number: a-58-14

Justia Opinion Summary: Before trial, defendant moved to exclude the results of a breath test in conjunction with a traffic stop, after which he was found to have been driving while intoxicated (DWI). His license was suspended. Defendant claime...

New Jersey v. C.H.  
Date: March 7, 2017
Docket Number: a-56-15

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant was charged under separate indictments for multiple charges involving misconduct with two minors, D.H. and D.M. Defendant was arrested on November 19, 2009, and was confined until sentencing, which took place o...

New Jersey v. Joe  
Date: March 7, 2017
Docket Number: a-62-15

Justia Opinion Summary: Although New Jersey prosecutors lodged an interstate detainer with New York officials on August 12, 2011, defendant William Joe was not transferred to New Jersey custody until after he was sentenced for the New York char...

Bound Brook Bd. of Edu. v. Ciripompa  
Date: February 21, 2017
Docket Number: a-57-15

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant Glenn Ciripompa was a tenured high school math teacher in the Bound Brook School District. Defendant's behavior came under the scrutiny of the Bound Brook Board of Education (Board) after the Board received cop...

In the Matter of Registrant A.D., J.B., and C.M.
Date: February 7, 2017
Docket Number: a-55-15
Givaudan Fragrances Corp. v. Aetna Casualty & Surety Co.  
Date: February 1, 2017
Docket Number: a-16-25

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiff Givaudan Fragrances Corporation (Fragrances) faced liability as a result of environmental contamination from a manufacturing site that a related corporate entity operated in a facility in Clifton. The issue thi...

New Jersey v. Bacome  
Date: January 31, 2017
Docket Number: a-9-15

Justia Opinion Summary: In April 2011, detectives were engaged in an undercover drug patrol in Woodbridge when they observed defendant Taiwan Bacome driving a blue Ford Bronco. S.R., the owner of the Bronco, was riding in the front passenger se...

New Jersey v. Kucinski  
Date: January 30, 2017
Docket Number: a-58-15

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant James Kucinski was arrested and taken to police headquarters for questioning about the bludgeoning death of his brother, John. Defendant was advised of his Miranda rights and he requested an attorney. The offic...

McCarrell v. Hoffmann-La Roche, Inc.  
Date: January 24, 2017
Docket Number: a-28-15

Justia Opinion Summary: In July 2003, plaintiff Andrew McCarrell filed a products-liability action alleging that Hoffmann-La Roche, Inc. (Roche) had failed to provide adequate warnings about the risks and side effects associated with taking Acc...

New Jersey v. Bull  
Date: January 23, 2017
Docket Number: a-46-15

Justia Opinion Summary: In 1991 and 1992, defendant Rodney Bull was sentenced to two extended-term sentences, the second of which was imposed for crimes that occurred before defendant’s first sentencing took place. In 2012, the New Jersey Supre...

New Jersey v. Wilson  
Date: January 19, 2017
Docket Number: a-42-15

Justia Opinion Summary: Police detectives observed defendant DeShaun Wilson engage in the apparent sale of crack cocaine in a public park in Elizabeth. Wilson was charged with third-degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS), t...

InRe Declaratory Judgment Actions Filed By Various Municipalities, County Of Ocean, Pursuant To The Supreme Court's Decision In In re
Date: January 18, 2017
Docket Number: a-1-16
New Jersey v. Zuber  
Date: January 11, 2017
Docket Number: a-54-15

Justia Opinion Summary: The defendants in these appeals committed very serious, violent crimes when they were juveniles. One was serving a sentence of 110 years imprisonment and would not be eligible for parole until he spent 55 years in jail....

New Jersey v. J.R.  
Date: January 9, 2017
Docket Number: a-50-15

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendant J.R. was convicted for several sexual offenses against his step-granddaughter, who was between ten and twelve years old when the alleged offenses took place. The child did not disclose defendant's conduct to an...

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