New Jersey v. Hyppolite

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Justia Opinion Summary

In March 2017, police officers responded to a report of a shooting in a parking lot at Lafayette Gardens in Jersey City and found Terrel Smith’s body; he had been shot multiple times. The police identified “Michael Gregg” as a witness and interviewed him. Over time, he made two separate -- and inconsistent -- statements. Gregg identified defendant Shaquan Hyppolite from a photo array. Defendant was charged and arrested for murder and weapons offenses. The affidavit of probable cause in support of the complaint stated that “an eyewitness . . . positively identified Shaquan Hyppolite AKA Quan as the actor who” killed Terrel Smith. The State moved for pretrial detention the next day. Two days later, the State made available fifty-one pages of discovery materials and a DVD recording of Gregg’s interview. On the day of the detention hearing, the State also turned over a four-page written summary of that interview titled “Second Interview of [Gregg].” The State did not disclose Gregg’s first statement before the hearing. At the detention hearing, the court ordered that defendant be detained. Two months later, a grand jury indicted defendant. The State turned over additional discovery, including Gregg’s first statement to the police, recordings of interviews of "Bill" and "Frank," and an application for a communications data warrant for Gregg’s cell phone. This marked the first time defendant received Gregg’s initial statement to the police, in which he denied having seen the shooter. Bill’s statement revealed that he told the police he was in jail at the time of the homicide. Frank told the police that he was en route to Popeyes when he heard gunshots from Lafayette Gardens. The application for the communications data warrant noted that an eyewitness saw the victim engaged in a conversation with three men before the shooting, “which conflicts with [Gregg’s] version of events.” Based on the new discovery, defendant moved to reopen the detention hearing. The New Jersey Supreme Court held that when exculpatory evidence is disclosed after a detention hearing, judges should use a modified materiality standard to decide whether to reopen the hearing. "If there is a reasonable possibility that the result of the detention hearing would have been different had the evidence been disclosed, the hearing should be reopened." Applying that standard in this
case, the Court reversed and remanded to the trial court to reopen the detention hearing.

SYLLABUS

This syllabus is not part of the opinion of the Court. It has been prepared by the Office of the
Clerk for the convenience of the reader. It has been neither reviewed nor approved by the
Court. In the interest of brevity, portions of an opinion may not have been summarized.

                      State v. Shaquan Hyppolite (A-48-17) (080302)

Argued September 13, 2018 -- Decided December 11, 2018

RABNER, C.J., writing for the Court.

       When the State seeks to detain a defendant pretrial under the Criminal Justice Reform
Act (CJRA), prosecutors must disclose “all exculpatory evidence” before the detention
hearing, see R. 3:4-2(c)(2)(E). In this case, the Court considers the appropriate remedy when
the State fails to disclose exculpatory evidence before a detention hearing.

      In March 2017, police officers responded to a report of a shooting in a parking lot at
Lafayette Gardens in Jersey City and found Terrel Smith’s lifeless body. Smith had been
shot multiple times. The police identified “Michael Gregg” as a witness and interviewed
him. Over time, he made two separate -- and inconsistent -- statements.

        A few hours after the shooting, Gregg said that he was in the victim’s Jeep around the
time of the shooting. After the victim got out of the car, Gregg said he heard three to four
gunshots but did not see the shooter. Gregg spoke to the police again on June 8, 2017 and
gave a second statement. Gregg said the victim had picked him up on the day of the
shooting, and the two were selling drugs. Gregg said he recognized several other men in the
area including Quan, “Bill,” and “Frank.” During a break in the interview, Gregg told the
police he was worried about his safety and the safety of his family. He provided more details
after the break: Quan approached the victim when he left the car to get more drugs; Quan
was clutching something inside his hooded sweatshirt, which Gregg thought was a firearm;
Quan and the victim had a short conversation on the driver’s side of the car before Gregg
heard a gunshot; and Gregg ran away as he heard several more gunshots. Gregg identified
defendant Shaquan Hyppolite from a photo array.

        Defendant was charged and arrested for murder and weapons offenses. The affidavit
of probable cause in support of the complaint stated that “an eyewitness . . . positively
identified Shaquan Hyppolite AKA Quan as the actor who” killed Terrel Smith.

       The State moved for pretrial detention the next day. Two days later, the State made
available fifty-one pages of discovery materials and a DVD recording of Gregg’s interview
on June 8, 2017. On the day of the detention hearing, the State also turned over a four-page
written summary of that interview titled “Second Interview of [Gregg].” The State did not
disclose Gregg’s first statement before the hearing.

                                               1
         At the detention hearing, the court ordered that defendant be detained. Two months
later, a grand jury indicted defendant. The State turned over additional discovery, including
Gregg’s first statement to the police, recordings of interviews of Bill and Frank, and an
application for a communications data warrant for Gregg’s cell phone.

       This marked the first time defendant received Gregg’s initial statement to the police,
in which he denied having seen the shooter. Bill’s statement revealed that he told the police
he was in jail at the time of the homicide. Frank told the police that he was en route to
Popeyes when he heard gunshots from Lafayette Gardens. The application for the
communications data warrant noted that an eyewitness saw the victim engaged in a
conversation with three men before the shooting, “which conflicts with [Gregg’s] version of
events.” Based on the new discovery, defendant moved to reopen the detention hearing.

        The trial court issued a written opinion and denied the application. The court found
that the additional discovery contained exculpatory evidence, and that the State therefore
violated Rule 3:4-2(c) by failing to disclose the items before the hearing. The court,
however, found that the evidence withheld was not material. The Appellate Division denied
leave to appeal. The Court granted leave to appeal.  232 N.J. 370 (2018).

HELD: When exculpatory evidence is disclosed after a detention hearing, judges should use
a modified materiality standard to decide whether to reopen the hearing. If there is a
reasonable possibility that the result of the detention hearing would have been different had
the evidence been disclosed, the hearing should be reopened. Applying that standard in this
case, the Court reverses and remands to the trial court to reopen the detention hearing.

1. When the State seeks to detain a defendant pretrial, the prosecutor must provide the
defendant with “all exculpatory evidence” “no later than 24 hours before the detention
hearing.” R. 3:4-2(c)(2)(E). At any time before trial, a defendant may apply to reopen a
detention hearing under  N.J.S.A. 2A:162-19(f). (pp. 9-12)

2. The requirement to turn over exculpatory evidence before a detention hearing is grounded
in the State’s affirmative obligation to disclose evidence favorable to a defendant. Brady v.
Maryland held that the prosecution’s “suppression . . . of evidence favorable to an accused
. . . violates due process where the evidence is material either to guilt or to punishment,
irrespective of the good faith or bad faith of the prosecution.”  373 U.S. 83, 87 (1963).
Impeachment evidence, as well as exculpatory evidence, is governed by the Brady rule.
Evidence is material “if there is a reasonable probability that, had the evidence been
disclosed to the defense, the result of the proceeding would have been different.” United
States v. Bagley,  473 U.S. 667, 682 (1985). (pp. 13-14)

3. In State v. Hogan -- which applies to grand jury proceedings -- the Court “impos[ed] a
limited duty on prosecutors” to inform the grand jury of exculpatory evidence “that both
directly negates the guilt of the accused and is clearly exculpatory.”  144 N.J. 216, 237
(1996). In contrast, Rule 3:4-2(c)(2)(E) calls for disclosure of “all exculpatory evidence”
before a detention hearing. Hogan does not govern pretrial detention hearings. (p. 14)
                                              2
4.  N.J.S.A. 2A:162-19(f) imposes a materiality standard to determine whether to reopen a
detention hearing when information “that was not known . . . at the time of the hearing” later
surfaces. Brady and its progeny, of course, set forth the traditional materiality standard to
assess the prosecution’s withholding of exculpatory evidence. Although that standard
provides a fair and workable approach for motions filed after trial, the test is not ideal for
evidence withheld before a detention hearing. To require pretrial detainees to show a
“reasonable probability” that their detention hearing would have ended differently may well
be impractical and set the bar too high. Conversely, requiring a new hearing every time
exculpatory evidence is not disclosed would serve only to punish or deter the State in some
instances, not to enhance fairness or satisfy due process. (pp. 15-19)

5. The Court adopts a modified materiality standard for detention decisions: Judges should
examine whether there is a reasonable possibility -- not probability -- that the result of the
hearing would have been different had the evidence been disclosed. The burden is on the
State to demonstrate that a new hearing is not required under that standard. If the State
cannot make that showing, the detention hearing should be reopened. The test does not
require defendants to show that they reasonably would have prevailed at the earlier hearing.
At the same time, a fanciful possibility that the outcome would be different would not satisfy
the standard. The approach presents no due process concerns under federal or state law: It is
more favorable to defendants than what Brady and Bagley call for, and it would be difficult
for defendants to claim a constitutional right to reopen a hearing when the State shows that
there is no reasonable possibility that the outcome of the case would be different. Release is
not an appropriate remedy for a discovery violation, as a general proposition. (pp. 19-21)

6. The Court adds guidance for judges and practitioners in this novel area, outlining the
streamlined process it envisions. (pp. 21-23)

7. Overall, the CJRA statistics generally demonstrate good faith and a commitment by
counsel to abide by the court rules. If, however, a court found that a prosecutor engaged in
willful or egregious misconduct by intentionally withholding exculpatory evidence, the court
should refer the matter to the Office of Attorney Ethics. (pp. 24-25)

8. The homicide charge in this matter rested heavily on a single witness -- Gregg -- who
identified defendant as the shooter. That evidence was undermined by Gregg’s earlier
statement that he did not see the shooter. Two other statements -- by Bill and Frank -- and
the communications data warrant also conflict with Gregg’s account and could be used to
impeach him. Defendant should have an opportunity to use the new evidence to try to rebut
the presumption of detention. Even with a presumption of detention,  N.J.S.A. 2A:162-19(b),
and defendant’s juvenile record, there is a reasonable possibility that the result would have
been different. Defendant is therefore entitled to a new detention hearing. (pp. 25-26)

       REVERSED and REMANDED to the trial court.

JUSTICES LaVECCHIA, ALBIN, PATTERSON, FERNANDEZ-VINA, SOLOMON,
and TIMPONE join in CHIEF JUSTICE RABNER’s opinion.
                                              3
       SUPREME COURT OF NEW JERSEY
             A-
48 September Term 2017
                       080302


                State of New Jersey,

               Plaintiff-Respondent,

                         v.

                Shaquan Hyppolite,

               Defendant-Appellant.

         On appeal from the Superior Court,
                Appellate Division.

      Argued                      Decided
 September 13, 2018           December 11, 2018


Elizabeth C. Jarit, Assistant Deputy Public Defender,
argued the cause for appellant (Joseph E. Krakora,
Public Defender, attorney; Elizabeth C. Jarit and Mary
J. Ciancimino, First Assistant Deputy Public
Defender, of counsel and on the briefs).

Stephanie Davis Elson, Assistant Prosecutor, argued
the cause for respondent (Esther Suarez, Hudson
County Prosecutor, attorney; Stephanie Davis Elson,
on the brief).

Alexander Shalom argued the cause for amicus curiae
American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey
(American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey
Foundation, attorneys; Alexander Shalom, Edward
Barocas and Jeanne LoCicero, on the brief).
                          1
            Sarah C. Hunt, Deputy Attorney General, argued the
            cause for amicus curiae Attorney General of New
            Jersey (Gurbir S. Grewal, Attorney General, attorney;
            Sarah C. Hunt, of counsel and on the brief).


        CHIEF JUSTICE RABNER delivered the opinion of the Court.


      When the State seeks to detain a defendant pretrial under the Criminal

Justice Reform Act (CJRA),  N.J.S.A. 2A:162-15 to -26, prosecutors must

disclose “all exculpatory evidence” before the detention hearing, see R. 3:4-

2(c)(2)(E). We now consider the appropriate remedy when the State fails to

disclose exculpatory evidence before a detention hearing.

      In this case, defendant Shaquan Hyppolite was charged with murder and

weapons offenses. At the outset, the State relied on a single witness who

spoke to the police and identified defendant as the shooter. The State

successfully moved to detain defendant and released a statement by the witness

along with other discovery before the detention hearing.

      Defendant was indicted two months later, and the State disclosed

additional materials afterward. Those materials revealed that the witness

initially told the police he did not see the shooter. The witness had also

identified two others he claimed were at the scene of the crime, but their newly




                                        2
disclosed statements contradicted him. Other evidence conflicted with the

witness’s version of events as well.

      The trial court correctly found that the additional discovery contained

exculpatory evidence that should have been disclosed before the detention

hearing, pursuant to Rule 3:4-2(c)(2)(E) (then Rule 3:4-2(c)(1)(B)). The judge

concluded the evidence was not material and declined to reopen defendant’s

detention hearing.

      We hold that when exculpatory evidence is disclosed after a detention

hearing, judges should use a modified materiality standard to decide whether

to reopen the hearing. If there is a reasonable possibility that the result of the

detention hearing would have been different had the evidence been disclosed,

the hearing should be reopened.

      Applying that standard in this case, we reverse and remand to the trial

court to reopen the detention hearing.

                                         I.

      To recount the facts, we rely on the record of the detention hearing along

with discovery the State provided before and after the hearing.

      On March 29, 2017, police officers responded to a report of a shooting

in a parking lot at Lafayette Gardens in Jersey City. When they arrived, they

saw Terrel Smith’s lifeless body lying on the pavement behind his car, a Jeep

                                         3
Liberty. According to an autopsy report, Smith had been shot multiple times.

He was later pronounced dead at the hospital.

      The police identified “Michael Gregg” 1 as a witness and interviewed

him. Over time, he made two separate -- and inconsistent -- statements to the

police. In his first statement, a few hours after the shooting on March 29,

2017, Gregg said that he was in the victim’s Jeep around the time of the

shooting. After the victim got out of the car, Gregg said he heard three to four

gunshots but did not see the shooter. Gregg then ran from the area.

      Gregg spoke to the police again on June 8, 2017 and gave a second

statement. According to the police report, early in the interview, Gregg said

the victim had picked him up on the day of the shooting, and the two were

selling drugs. They then drove to Lafayette Gardens to pick up more drugs

from the victim’s stash location. Gregg said he recognized several other men

in the area including Quan, “Bill,” and “Frank.”

      During a break in the interview, Gregg told the police he was worried

about his safety and the safety of his family. He provided more details after

the break: Quan approached the victim when he left the car to get more drugs;

Quan was clutching something inside his hooded sweatshirt, which Gregg



1
  We use fictitious names for all of the witnesses to protect their privacy at
this stage.
                                        4
thought was a firearm; Quan and the victim had a short conversation on the

driver’s side of the car before Gregg heard a gunshot; and Gregg ran away as

he heard several more gunshots.

      Gregg told the police he had known Quan for about seven years and

believed his real name was Shaquan. Gregg identified defendant Shaquan

Hyppolite from a photo array.

      On June 20, 2017, defendant was charged and arrested on a three-count

complaint that accused him of murder,  N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3(a)(1); possession of a

weapon for an unlawful purpose,  N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4(a)(1); and unlawful

possession of a weapon,  N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(b)(1). The affidavit of probable

cause in support of the complaint stated that “an eyewitness . . . positively

identified Shaquan Hyppolite AKA Quan as the actor who” killed Terrel

Smith.

      The State moved for pretrial detention the next day. Two days later, the

State made available fifty-one pages of discovery materials and a DVD

recording of Gregg’s interview on June 8, 2017. On the day of the detention

hearing, July 6, 2017, the State also turned over a four-page written summary

of that interview titled “Second Interview of [Gregg].” The State did not

disclose Gregg’s first statement before the hearing.




                                        5
      Pretrial Services recommended that defendant be detained. The Public

Safety Assessment (PSA) scored defendant 1 out of 6 for risk of failure to

appear and 2 out of 6 for risk of new criminal activity.

      At the detention hearing, the State highlighted that a presumption of

detention applied because of the homicide charge. See  N.J.S.A. 2A:162-19(b).

The State also stressed that defendant, who had recently turned eighteen, had

an extensive juvenile history. Defendant did not challenge the existence of

probable cause and took no position on detention.

      The trial court found probable cause and concluded that defendant had

not rebutted the presumption in favor of detention. The court also observed

that defendant’s PSA scores did not “take into account his extensive and

serious juvenile record,” which includes adjudications for aggravated assault,

assault, and a weapons offense. The court accordingly ordered that defendant

be detained.

      Two months later, on September 12, 2017, a grand jury indicted

defendant on the charges in the complaint. The State turned over additional

discovery after the indictment, which included the following materials:

Gregg’s first statement to the police; a DVD recording of an interview of Bill

on June 20, 2017; a police report and DVD recording of an interview of Frank

on June 14, 2017; an application for a communications data warrant for

                                        6
Gregg’s cell phone; and a report that summarized some surveillance footage

from the day of the shooting. As noted earlier, Gregg had told the police that

he saw both Bill and Frank at the shooting.

      This marked the first time defendant received Gregg’s initial statement

to the police, in which he denied having seen the shooter. Bill’s statement

revealed that he told the police he was in jail at the time of the homicide.

Frank told the police that he was en route to Popeyes when he heard gunshots

from Lafayette Gardens. The application for the communications data warrant

noted that an eyewitness saw the victim engaged in a conversation with three

men before the shooting, “which conflicts with [Gregg’s] version of events.”

      Based on the new discovery, defendant filed a motion to reopen the

detention hearing. Defendant argued that the State violated Rule 3:4-2(c)

when it failed to disclose Gregg’s first statement and other exculpatory

materials before the hearing. Defendant claimed that he should be released

because of the discovery violation.

      The trial court issued a thirteen-page written opinion and denied the

application. The court found that the additional discovery contained

exculpatory evidence, and that the State therefore violated Rule 3:4-2(c) by

failing to disclose the items before the hearing. The court, however, did not

find that defendant’s due process rights had been violated because the

                                        7
evidence withheld was not material. The court explained that “introduction of

the exculpatory impeachment evidence at the detention hearing would not have

had the reasonable probability of changing the outcome of the probable cause

determination.” For that reason, and because defendant had been indicted and

now possessed the discovery materials, the court concluded that no further

action was required.

      The Appellate Division denied defendant’s motion for leave to appeal.

We granted leave to appeal,  232 N.J. 370 (2018), and also granted amicus

status to the Attorney General and the American Civil Liberties Union of New

Jersey (ACLU).

                                        II.

      Defendant argues that the State violated the court rules and his right to

due process when it failed to disclose exculpatory evidence before the

detention hearing. In all such cases, defendant contends, courts should order a

new detention hearing and not first assess whether the evidence is material .

Defendant also submits that trial judges should impose appropriate sanctions to

deter future discovery violations.

      The ACLU echoes defendant’s arguments and adds that courts should

deter willful or egregious violations with a referral to an ethics board.




                                        8
      In its brief in opposition to the motion for leave to appeal, the State

maintained that “[n]one of the evidence at issue in this appeal is exculpatory.”

At oral argument, the State conceded the evidence was exculpatory and should

have been disclosed before the detention hearing. In any case, the State agrees

with the trial judge that the evidence was not material and would not have

affected the court’s rulings on probable cause or detention. As a result, the

State contends that defendant’s due process rights were not violated.

      The Attorney General also argues that the trial court properly denied

defendant’s motion to reopen the detention hearing. Although “failure to

disclose exculpatory evidence may violate the discovery rule,” the Attorney

General submits that “it does not violate due process unless the evidence is

'clearly exculpatory’ and directly negates the defendant’s guilt.” (citing State

v. Hogan,  144 N.J. 216, 237 (1996)). The appropriate remedy in those cases,

according to the Attorney General, is to reopen the affected phase of the

detention hearing.

                                       III.

      We reviewed the history of criminal justice reform and the CJRA in

State v. Robinson,  229 N.J. 44, 52-62 (2017). This appeal relates to pretrial

detention, so we briefly review parts of the new law and court rules to provide

relevant context.

                                        9
      Overall, the CJRA “shall be liberally construed” to rely “primarily . . .

upon pretrial release,” without the use of monetary bail, to achieve three aims:

to ensure that defendants appear in court, to protect the safety of the

community, and to guard against “attempt[s] to obstruct the criminal justice

process.”  N.J.S.A. 2A:162-15.

      A rebuttable presumption of detention exists in only two circumstances:

when a court finds probable cause that a defendant committed murder or a

crime that carries a sentence of life imprisonment.  N.J.S.A. 2A:162-19(b). In

all other instances, the statute affords defendants a presumption of release.

 N.J.S.A. 2A:162-18(b).

      The State can seek to detain certain defendants pretrial. See  N.J.S.A.

2A:162-19(a) (listing offenses for which prosecutors may file detention

motion). Critical to this appeal, when the State seeks pretrial detention, the

prosecutor must provide the defendant with “all exculpatory evidence” “no

later than 24 hours before the detention hearing.” R. 3:4-2(c)(2)(E). The

prosecution must also disclose “any available preliminary law enforcement

incident report,” “the affidavit of probable cause,” “all statements or reports

relating to the affidavit,” and “all statements or reports” that relate to (1)

“additional evidence the State relies on to establish probable cause at the




                                         10
hearing” and (2) the risk of flight, danger, and obstruction “the State

advances.” Rule 3:4-2(c).2

      Section 19(e)(1) outlines important procedural protections defendants

are guaranteed at the hearing, including the right to counsel, to testify, to

present and cross-examine witnesses, “and to present information by proffer or

otherwise.”  N.J.S.A. 2A:162-19(e)(1).

      At the hearing, the State must demonstrate two things. First, it must

establish probable cause for the offenses charged, unless the defendant has

already been indicted.  N.J.S.A. 2A:162-19(e)(2). Second, to rebut the

presumption of release, the State must “prove[] by clear and convincing

evidence that no release conditions would reasonably assure the defendant’s

appearance in court, the safety of the community, or the integrity of the

criminal justice process.” State v. Ingram,  230 N.J. 190, 200-01 (2017) (citing

 N.J.S.A. 2A:162-18(a)). In a case like this, when a defendant is charged with

murder, if he or she successfully rebuts the presumption of detention, N.J.S.A.




2
  Robinson outlined those areas of discovery and listed them in Rule 3:4-
2(c)(1)(B) at the time.  229 N.J. at 69-72. The rule was amended and revised
afterward; it now appears at Rule 3:4-2(c)(2) (effective September 1, 2018).
The current rule retains the same categories of discovery materials and adds
that they must be disclosed at least twenty-four hours before a detention
hearing. R. 3:4-2(c)(2).
                                       11
2A:162-19(e)(2), the State must then present clear and convincing evidence

that detention is warranted,  N.J.S.A. 2A:162-19(e)(3).

      To decide whether the State has satisfied its burden to justify pretrial

detention, “the court may take into account . . . [t]he nature and circumstances

of the offense,” “[t]he weight of the evidence,” the defendant’s “history and

characteristics,” the “nature and seriousness” of the risk of danger and

obstruction the defendant presents, and Pretrial Services’ recommendation.

 N.J.S.A. 2A:162-20.

      At any time before trial, a defendant may apply to reopen a detention

hearing under  N.J.S.A. 2A:162-19(f), which states that

            [t]he hearing may be reopened . . . if the court finds that
            information exists that was not known to the prosecutor
            or the eligible defendant at the time of the hearing and
            that has a material bearing on the issue of whether there
            are conditions of release that will reasonably assure the
            eligible defendant’s appearance in court when required,
            the protection of the safety of any other person or the
            community, or that the eligible defendant will not
            obstruct or attempt to obstruct the criminal justice
            process.

                                       IV.

      This case poses a discrete question under the CJRA: what is the

appropriate remedy when the prosecution fails to disclose exculpatory

evidence before a detention hearing? Because the grand jury returned an

indictment in this case, which established probable cause,  N.J.S.A. 2A:162-
                                        12
19(e)(2), we are concerned only with the effect of late disclosure on the

detention decision.

                                        A.

      The requirement to turn over exculpatory evidence before a detention

hearing is grounded in the State’s affirmative obligation to disclose evidence

favorable to a defendant. See Kyles v. Whitley,  514 U.S. 419, 432 (1995);

State v. Nash,  212 N.J. 518, 544 (2013). That well-settled concept is discussed

at length in the United States Supreme Court’s seminal decision in Brady v.

Maryland,  373 U.S. 83, 87 (1963). Brady held that the prosecution’s

“suppression . . . of evidence favorable to an accused . . . violates due process

where the evidence is material either to guilt or to punishment, irrespective of

the good faith or bad faith of the prosecution.”  373 U.S.  at 87; accord State v.

Carter,  91 N.J. 86, 110 (1982) (quoting Brady). Impeachment evidence, as

well as exculpatory evidence, is governed by the Brady rule. United States v.

Bagley,  473 U.S. 667, 676 (1985); State v. Knight,  145 N.J. 233, 245-46

(1996).

      Evidence is material “if there is a reasonable probability that, had the

evidence been disclosed to the defense, the result of the proceeding would

have been different.” Bagley,  473 U.S.  at 682; see also State v. Marshall, 148




                                         13 N.J. 89, 156 (1997). “A 'reasonable probability’ is a probability sufficient to

undermine confidence in the outcome.” Bagley,  473 U.S.  at 682.

      The State and Attorney General point to a related standard outlined in

Hogan, which applies to grand jury proceedings, not detention hearings. In

Hogan, the Court “impos[ed] a limited duty on prosecutors” to inform the

grand jury of exculpatory evidence “that both directly negates the guilt of the

accused and is clearly exculpatory.”  144 N.J. at 237. The standard

“recognize[d] that the sole issue before the grand jury is whether the State has

made out a prima facie case of the accused’s guilt,” ibid. -- in other words,

whether there is probable cause to indict. Disclosure of all exculpatory

evidence follows later -- after indictment and well in advance of trial. R. 3:13-

3(b)(1).

      In contrast to Hogan, Rule 3:4-2(c)(2)(E) calls for disclosure of “all

exculpatory evidence” before a detention hearing for a simple reason: to

ensure that defendants receive a fair hearing at which courts decide not only

the issue of probable cause but also whether a defendant’s liberty will be

restrained. To craft and present arguments for release, defendants are entitled

to all exculpatory evidence before the hearing. Hogan, thus, does not govern

pretrial detention hearings.




                                       14
                                        B.

      Neither the statute nor the Rule outline what should happen if all

exculpatory evidence is not disclosed. We consider certain options the parties

and amici advance and then outline a modified materiality standard that we

believe aligns with the goals of the CJRA and related court rules.

                                        1.

      The Attorney General points to section 19(f), which offers guidance in a

different setting. The section imposes a materiality standard to determine

whether to reopen a detention hearing when information “that was not

known . . . at the time of the hearing” later surfaces.  N.J.S.A. 2A:162-19(f).

The court may reopen the hearing if the newly revealed evidence “has a

material bearing” on whether the defendant poses a risk of flight, danger, or

obstruction. Ibid.

      Section 19(f) addresses real-life situations that occur in ongoing

investigations. As investigators for the State and defense continue to gather

evidence and prepare a case for trial, they may well learn of new information

that relates to the three detention factors. Section 19(f) eliminates the need for

an additional hearing any time new information -- no matter how

inconsequential -- is revealed or developed.




                                        15
      Brady and its progeny, of course, set forth the traditional materiality

standard to assess the prosecution’s withholding of exculpatory evidence. See

Bagley,  473 U.S.  at 682. The “reasonable probability” standard, though, is

routinely applied after trial. When evidence is disclosed in time for its

effective use at trial, no denial of due process has occurred. United States v.

Starusko,  729 F.2d 256, 262 (3d Cir. 1984). After trial, courts measure newly

disclosed exculpatory evidence against the backdrop of a full trial record.

Judges can then assess whether there is a “reasonable probability that . . . the

result of the proceeding would have been different” in light of the full

presentation of the State’s case, any defense case, and cross-examination by

both sides. See Knight,  145 N.J. at 246 (quoting Bagley,  473 U.S. at 682).

      Although the pure materiality standard in Brady provides a fair and

workable approach for motions filed after trial, the test is not ideal for

evidence withheld before a detention hearing. Detention hearings, unlike

trials, are abbreviated proceedings. See Robinson  229 N.J. at 68 (“[T]he focus

is not on guilt, and the hearing should not turn into a mini-trial.”). And parties

routinely proceed by proffer, as the statute permits.  N.J.S.A. 2A:162-19(e)(1);

Ingram,  230 N.J. at 212-13. Counsel can thus rely on hearsay evidence that is

not subject to cross-examination.




                                        16
      Detention hearings also ordinarily take place within days of an arrest.

 N.J.S.A. 2A:162-19(d). At such an early stage, a defense attorney might

decide not to proffer particular evidence or raise certain arguments for

strategic purposes.

      For all of those reasons, the record of a detention hearing is not nearly as

complete as the record a court can examine to assess a post-trial Brady motion.

Equally important, defense counsel cannot always fully exercise options

available under the CJRA, see  N.J.S.A. 2A:162-19(e)(1), without first

reviewing exculpatory evidence.

      Under the circumstances, to require pretrial detainees to show a

“reasonable probability” that their detention hearing would have ended

differently -- based on the abridged record before the trial court -- may well be

impractical and set the bar too high.

                                        2.

      A different option that defendant proposes -- requiring a new hearing

every time exculpatory evidence is not disclosed -- would not always serve the

purpose of the Rule and the statute. Together, they advance twin yet

competing aims. They help protect public safety by allowing judges to detain

high-risk defendants in appropriate cases. They also help ensure that




                                        17
defendants facing the loss of liberty can prepare adequately for the hearing and

challenge the State’s application for detention.

      Balancing those interests, the CJRA and accompanying court rules

include various procedural safeguards for the benefit of defendants. See, e.g.,

 N.J.S.A. 2A:162-19, -20; R. 3:4-2. And Robinson calls for “far broader

discovery” at detention hearings than federal law requires.  229 N.J. at 61.

      Those guarantees are designed to ensure fairness, not to punish the State.

As this Court explained a half century ago when it discussed the Brady rule, its

“purpose . . . is not to punish society for a prosecutor’s conduct, but to avoid

an unfair trial of an accused.” State v. Vigliano,  50 N.J. 51, 61 (1967). More

recently, in State v. Dickerson,  232 N.J. 2, 28 (2018), we noted that it is

improper to release a defendant as a “sanction” for the prosecution’s failure to

comply with its discovery obligations before a pretrial detention hearing. “The

public cannot be imperiled” to punish what the court “perceives to be bad

conduct.” Ibid.

      The same fairness and public safety concerns are paramount here, and

they guide our application of the court’s discovery rules. To require a new

detention hearing each time the prosecution does not disclose all exculpatory

evidence would serve only to punish or deter the State in some instances, not

to enhance fairness or satisfy due process. Imagine a case, for example, in

                                        18
which five witnesses saw the accused shoot a victim, and the State disclosed

all of their statements but failed to provide a single prior inconsistent

statement for one eyewitness. The evidence is plainly exculpatory because it

is favorable to the accused. Yet it could hardly have an impact on the outcome

of the hearing. The same could well be true of minor inconsistencies that

might be used to impeach a witness. Although exculpatory, if the evidence

bore little relation to the detention factors or the weight of the evidence in a

given case, what purpose would a new hearing serve?

                                         3.

      In light of the concerns set forth above, we adopt a modified materiality

standard for detention decisions: Judges should examine whether there is a

reasonable possibility -- not probability -- that the result of the hearing would

have been different had the evidence been disclosed. See Bagley,  473 U.S.  at
 682; Knight,  145 N.J. at 246.3 That standard focuses the parties and the court



3
  The “reasonable possibility” standard can be found in various other areas of
the law. See, e.g.,  N.J.S.A. 9:17-48(d) (standard for genetic testing when
parentage is in doubt); Falls City Indus., Inc. v. Vanco Beverage, Inc.,  460 U.S. 428, 434-35 (1983) (standard to establish prima facie violation of illegal
price discrimination); Rosales-Lopez v. United States,  451 U.S. 182, 192-93
(1981) (standard to determine whether failure to inquire into racial prejudice
during voir dire in appropriate cases amounts to reversible error); United
States v. Lopez-Velasquez,  629 F.3d 894, 895, 901 (9th Cir. 2010) (en banc)
(“[A]n [immigration judge’s] duty is limited to informing an alien of a
reasonable possibility that the alien is eligible for relief at the time of the
                                         19
on whether evidence is important to the hearing’s outcome from a reasonably

objective vantage point.

      The burden is on the State to demonstrate that a new hearing is not

required under that standard. In other words, when the State withholds

exculpatory evidence, it has the burden to show that there is no reasonable

possibility the withheld evidence would have changed the outcome of the

hearing. If the State cannot make that showing, the detention hearing should

be reopened.

      The test does not require defendants to show that they reasonably would

have prevailed at the earlier, abbreviated hearing. At the same time, a fanciful

possibility that the outcome would be different would not satisfy the standard.

      The approach presents no due process concerns under federal or state

law. See U.S. Const. amend. XIV; Doe v. Poritz,  142 N.J. 1, 99 (1995)

(discussing N.J. Const. art. I, ¶ 1); see also Robinson,  229 N.J. at 74-76



[deportation] hearing.”); 8 C.F.R. § 1208.13(b)(2)(i)(B) (standard to establish
asylum eligibility).

       Moreover, this is not the first time a possibility standard is advanced in
the context of exculpatory evidence. Justice Souter raised questions about
Brady’s “reasonable probability” standard in his opinion in Strickler v. Greene,
 527 U.S. 263, 297-301 (1999) (Souter, J., concurring in part and dissenting in
part). Because he believed the term could be confused with “more likely than
not,” he recommended “speaking of a 'significant possibility’ of a different
result to characterize the Brady materiality standard.” Id. at 300.
                                          20
(concluding that discovery protections under CJRA “satisfy the requirements

of due process”). To begin with, the standard is more favorable to defendants

than what Brady and Bagley call for. See Brady,  373 U.S.  at 87 (finding due

process violation when prosecution fails to disclose material exculpatory

evidence); Bagley,  473 U.S.  at 682 (using higher “reasonable probability”

threshold to establish materiality). It would also be difficult for defendants to

claim a constitutional right to reopen a hearing when the State shows that there

is no reasonable possibility that the outcome of the case would be different.

See Robinson,  229 N.J. at 74-76.

      In his brief requesting leave to appeal, defendant notes that he “sought

immediate release to remedy the harm caused by the State in withholding

exculpatory evidence at the detention hearing.” For the reasons expressed in

Dickerson, release is not an appropriate remedy for a discovery violation, as a

general proposition.  232 N.J. at 28. Such an outcome is not required by the

Federal or State Constitutions and is not an appropriate response to legitimate

public safety concerns.

                                        C.

      We add the following to give judges and practitioners greater guidance

in this novel area. We envision a streamlined practice: When a defendant

learns that exculpatory evidence was not disclosed before a detention hearing,

                                        21
counsel may move to reopen the hearing. In support of the motion, defendants

should present a concise, specific statement about how the new evidence could

reasonably have affected the outcome. Among other things, counsel can

explain how the evidence undermined a finding at the initial hearing, such as

the weight of the evidence,  N.J.S.A. 2A:162-20(b), or how the defendant

would have proffered other information or presented different arguments or

counter-arguments had the exculpatory materials been disclosed earlier. The

application need only contain a modest showing of the reasons a new hearing

is warranted; the request itself is not intended to serve as a substitute for the

hearing. The prosecution’s response can be similarly focused and brief in its

attempt to satisfy its burden.

      Judges retain discretion to decide whether to reopen a detention hearing.

For example, they can dispense with a hearing under the hypothetical

considered earlier -- if newly disclosed exculpatory evidence would impeach

only one of five witnesses who saw a defendant shoot a victim. Other

inconsistencies would likewise need to be assessed in light of the

circumstances of the case. In some instances, it might matter if a witness

placed the time of an event at precisely 2 p.m. and later estimated the time at

2:05 p.m.; in other cases, the difference might be nothing more than a minor

discrepancy.

                                        22
      When a court denies a motion and declines to reopen the hearing, it

should provide a statement of reasons for review on appeal. From a practical

standpoint, judges can consider how best to use scarce judicial resources.

Here, faced with a novel question, the trial court issued a thoughtful, thirteen-

page written decision and carefully considered what standard should apply. In

the next case, it might take considerably less time simply to conduct a new

hearing.

      At different places, the parties discuss whether the proper relief is to

“reopen” the hearing or hold a “new” one. In practice, the two terms amount

to essentially the same thing. At the hearing, the trial court must again decide

whether the State has presented clear and convincing evidence to justify

detention.  N.J.S.A. 2A:162-15, -18(a)(1), -19(e)(3). To make that

determination, the court can take into account all relevant factors that bear on

detention, see  N.J.S.A. 2A:162-20, including all exculpatory evidence

disclosed before and after the initial hearing as well as any other evidence or

arguments presented at either hearing. The parties may also rely on and

proffer the record from the prior hearing.

      After assessing the full body of evidence, judges must make the required

statutory findings. When appropriate, judges may incorporate previous

findings that are still relevant.

                                       23
                                        V.

      The Public Defender estimated that since the CJRA was implemented on

January 1, 2017, the prosecution’s failure to disclose exculpatory material has

been raised in only a handful of cases. For context, there were more than

14,000 detention hearings in the first calendar year of the CJRA. See Criminal

Justice Reform Report to the Governor and Legislature 14 (Feb. 2018),

https://www.njcourts.gov/courts/assets/criminal/2017cjrannual.pdf. Like the

Public Defender, we recognize that the small number could be understated for

various reasons. Also, some cases may reflect unintentional mistakes by the

prosecution. Overall, the statistics generally demonstrate good faith and a

commitment by counsel to abide by the court rules. The State, of course, must

continue to exercise diligence in fulfilling its discovery obligation.

      If, however, a court found that a prosecutor engaged in willful or

egregious misconduct by intentionally withholding exculpatory evidence, the

court should refer the matter to the Office of Attorney Ethics. See Code of

Judicial Conduct, r. 3.15(B); see also RPC 3.8(d) (“The prosecutor in a

criminal case shall make timely disclosure to the defense of all evidence

known to the prosecutor that tends to negate the guilt of the accused or

mitigates the offense . . . .”). Such referrals would deter deliberate and

egregious misconduct. To decide whether a referral is warranted in an

                                        24
appropriate case, the trial court should hold a hearing to assess the reason for

the violation and the prosecution’s intent.

                                       VI.

      We find that the detention hearing in this case should be reopened

because of the belated disclosure of exculpatory evidence.

      The trial court properly found that the State failed to disclose

exculpatory evidence before the hearing. The affidavit of probable cause and

preliminary law enforcement incident report, coupled with the State’s

presentation at the detention hearing, reveal that the homicide charge in this

matter rested heavily on a single witness -- Gregg -- who identified defendant

as the shooter. That evidence was undermined by Gregg’s earlier statement

that he did not see the shooter. Two other statements -- by Bill and Frank --

and the communications data warrant also conflict with Gregg’s account and

could be used to impeach him.

      Defendant should have an opportunity to use the new evidence to try to

rebut the presumption of detention. At a minimum, he can proffer the new

evidence and present arguments on the overall weight of the evidence. To be

clear, though, we do not decide the merits of the hearing today and do not find

that the proceeding should end differently because of the new evidence. But

even with a presumption of detention,  N.J.S.A. 2A:162-19(b), and defendant’s

                                       25
juvenile record, there is a reasonable possibility that the result would have

been different. Defendant is therefore entitled to a new detention hearing.

                                       VII.

      For the reasons outlined above, we reverse the trial court’s ruling not to

reopen the detention hearing. The case is remanded for further proceedings

consistent with this opinion.



    JUSTICES LaVECCHIA, ALBIN, PATTERSON, FERNANDEZ-VINA,
SOLOMON, and TIMPONE join in CHIEF JUSTICE RABNER’s opinion.




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