Monthly Archives: February 2012

Judge Punished For State Bias in DWI Case

2/28/12. In re the Matter of Gregory McCloskey, decided 2/24/12

Judge who revealed a bias to the State by suggesting questions to the
prosecutor in a DWI cases has been publically reprimanded by the Supreme
Court. Even though the questions could have been asked by the judge himself, the court must remain impartial, and it is not acceptable for a court
to appear to be biased to the State.  The Court determined that the judge must be:

“publicly reprimanded for violating Canon l(a judge should
maintain high standards of conduct so the integrity and
independence of the judiciary are preserved), Canon 2A (a judge
should act at all times in a manner that promotes public
confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary),
Canon 3A(6) (a judge shall neither initiate nor consider ex
or other communications concerning a pending or impending
proceeding), Canon 3C(1) (a) (a judge should disqualify himself
from a proceeding in which the judge’s impartiality might
reasonably be questioned), of the Code of Judicial Conduct and
Rule 1:12-1(e) (a judge is disqualified from presiding over any
matter in which the judge “is interested in the event of the
action”) and (f) (a judge is disqualified from any action in which
there is any reason “which might preclude a fair and unbiased
hearing and judgment, or which might reasonably lead counsel or
the parties to believe so”)”

One more DWI exception to Justice?

2/27/12. In State v Sylvia, published last week, the N.J. court rejected a defendant’s argument that territorial jurisdiction wasn’t proved below in a DWI case. The Court made a distinction between 2C (criminal) offenses and DWI in that jurisdiction in a 2C offense  has to be proved as a material element while jurisdiction in a DWI must be found by the court under its 2B by the court. It was a slender distinction indeed , and the court went on to find that the record supported a circumstantial “inference” that jurisdiction was met in this case. Just another “DWI exception” to justice? You decide.

Jeff Gold

Supreme Court Rejects State’s Attempt to Overturn Car Warrant Requirement

2/3/12.  The NJ Supreme Court issued a joint order today in four combined cases that sought to have to court do a back flip on Pena Flores where the Court had previously ruled that the police generally need at least a telephonic warrant to do most car searches. The State alleged that Pena Flores has been too big a burden on law enforcement and has resulted in less detection of criminal conduct. They supported this with NJ State Police (NJSP) data.   That the court found was a fatal flaw. The court said it might  reconsider if true statewide data is presented in the future.

I wonder if the court knew of the NJSP memo instructing troopers how to avoid Pena Flores by obtaining more consents? It would explain their lack of confidence in the NJSP data. Well, anyway Pena survives intact despite speculation as to why the court had granted cert on these cases. Now we know.

Jeff Gold