Monthly Archives: October 2011

Out of the wild west …

A Linden NJ municipal judge who rejected defendants’ request for a public defender,  allowed a police officer to act as prosecutor and also seemed to act as  the prosecutor himself is now facing ethics charges by the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct.  Judge Louis DiLeo’s “actions transformed the role of the court from a neutral and detached magistrate and evoked the specter of the backwater ‘judge, jury and executioner’ figure that has never had any place in American jurisprudence,” the ACJC said.  “The court’s intervention deprived both defendants of their due process rights,” the complaint goes on. The defendants won a new trial on appeal to Union County Superior Court. There, Judge Scott Moynihan found the actions of DiLeo were a “perversion of justice” and violated the defendants’ constitutional rights.  The ethics complaint charges DiLeo with violating Canons 1, 2A and 3A(1) of the Code of Judicial Conduct. Canon 1 requires judges to observe high standards of conduct so the judiciary’s integrity and independence may be preserved. Canon 2A requires judges to respect and comply with the law and act in a manner that promotes public confidence in the judiciary’s integrity and impartiality. Canon 3A(1) requires judges to be faithful to the law and maintain professional competence in it.

 

Don’t give up your right to remain silent!

in State v. Melendez, App. Div. pub 2011.  the court held that the same “exigent circumstances” that permit the pre-Miranda interrogation of a defendant, permit the police to question a defendant after he or she has invoked the right to counsel, but that the there was an insufficient basis to apply the public-safety exception in this case. YOu would think the defendant was home safe at that point and his statememt woul not come in.  But no.  The court then held that defendant waived his right to counsel, independent of the initially tainted interrogation.  Moral is… don’t give up your right to counsel …and just remain silent!

Destruction of digital data requires a hearing

In an unpublished decision issued  Sept 14, 2011 in State v Carlson, the App Div remanded a DWI for a hearing on whether the State’s routine destruction of the calibration files when downloading digital data amounted to a Brady violation. The issue was not the routine digital data which it was agreed was supplied. The back story not before this court is that the State claims that a software glitch will prevent proper operation if the calibration files are not deleted and that the paper files are  all the info a def needs anyway. However, Dr Baum testified (in that other matter) that one of the things destroyed in the process is the tolerance employed, certainly a critical fact which is now routinely destroyed by the NJSP. The case stands for the proposition that an evidentiary hearing must be held to determine whether the destruction amounts to a Brady violation.