Newark, NJ- Young immigrants in New York will have more professional opportunities after the state Board of Regents approved a permanent measure earlier this year. The decision allows young undocumented immigrants, who qualify for deportation relief under President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, to apply for teacher certifications and other professional licenses.
ICE Announces Another Wave of Deportation Raids
Newark, NJ- According to a May 12th report from Reuters, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is planning another a round of deportation raids targeting immigrants from Guatemala and other Central American countries. That means some New Jersey immigrants could be in danger of being detained and deported from the U.S. if the state is included in the latest round of deportation raids.
NJ Supreme Court Clarifies Standards Evidence Must Meet in Drug Cases
Newark, NJ- The outcome of any criminal case depends on the body of evidence gathered by the prosecution and defense. But not all evidence accurately reflects the facts of the case and some evidence, expert testimony, for example, can make assumptions that do not meet the court’s standards. Recently, in a case involving a drug conviction that relied on expert testimony, the New Jersey Supreme Court was asked to clarify what is acceptable evidence for criminal cases.
DWI in Elmwood Park, New Jersey
Elmwood Park, NJ- Elmwood Park, New Jersey, is small primarily urban area located 13 miles from New York City in Bergen County. The borough is also in close proximity to Newark and is within a few miles of several colleges and universities.
The Census Bureau estimates that the population of Elmwood Park is 19,000 and is served by two major highways, the Garden State Parkway and Interstate 80, along State Routes 4 and 46. While there is public transit, the majority of the residents, approximately 75 percent, commute to work every day.
With such a high volume of traffic, and the town’s close proximity large cities like Newark and New York City, and colleges and universities, it is inevitable that a many drivers will receive summonses for motor vehicle violations.
In 2012, residents of Elmwood Park residents received over 8,000 summonses for traffic violations, according official data from the Elmwood Park Police Department. Traffic violations such as speeding, running a red light/stop sign, reckless or careless driving may appear to minor offenses, but, in reality, these violations have consequences than an individual may not realize until it is too late.
Aside from the fines associated with a traffic violation, a driver will accumulate points on their driver’s license and insurance and leave a mark on their driving record. When a driver receives multiple summonses for traffic violations the points the applied to their driver’s license will continue to accumulate. Once a driver accumulates too many points on their license they risk having their driving privileges suspended—a daunting prospect for a commuter. Accumulation of insurance points will also lead to higher insurance premiums.
Many people who receive a summons don’t realize how important it is to have an attorney on their side to fight traffic violations. Before you pay your fine and move on, contact me to discuss the possible ways to avoid the negative consequences of a traffic violation.
In addition to the traffic summonses, Elmwood Park Police also make numerous DWI arrests. The Elmwood Park Police Department ranked 4th in the state for making DWI arrests in 2011, resulting in increased funding for sobriety check points and additional patrols, according to NorthJersey.com. The increased patrols and check points further result in a high number of DWI arrests for the borough.
A DWI has many consequences and should be taken seriously. A jail term and suspension of driver’s license are two possible penalties. In New Jersey, a DWI conviction can cost the offender several thousand dollars and will stay on their records indefinitely.
Since Elmwood Park is a largely residential area, a number of drivers will face DWI in school zone. This charge shouldn’t be taken lightly since the mandatory penalties and fines are double those of a standard DWI.
A DWI or DWI in school zone cannot be expunged or removed from an individual’s record so it is crucial to have legal representation to build a strong and effective defense.
The rights of clients are very important to me and I will do everything in my power to assure your rights are honored and protected. I will use my litigation experience to help you avoid a conviction for a minor traffic violation and a DWI. Don’t try to navigate the traffic courts alone, contact me Eric Mark at my Newark office to discuss your charges and the possible defense strategies we can employ.
Court Decision on Evidence Rules
Newark, NJ- In any criminal case, regardless of the severity of the charges the accused individual is facing, the collection of evidence is crucial. Every case depends on how evidence is collected, preserved and presented to the court. Situations where police and investigators fail to present or have destroyed their original case notes are common and problematic.
A recent decision by the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appeals division affirmed that prosecutors, investigators and police have the burden of properly preserving the case notes they use in criminal cases
In the case, The State vs. Samander Dabas, the New Jersey Appellate Division was tasked with determining if the Middlesex County Prosecutors office “violated a discovery rule” when one of their investigators disposed of interview notes prosecutors later relied on the criminal trial of Samander Dabas.
Dabas was convicted of a serious crime based primarily on the statements he made to a prosecutor’s investigator hours after his arrest. Pursuant to the Prosecutor’s office protocol, Investigator Dando’s initial interview with Dabas was not recorded; instead Dando made handwritten notes about the events leading up to Dabas’s arrest.
Following Dabas’s preliminary two-hour interview, Dando then conducted another interview which was tape recorded. During the brief interview, Dando asked Dabas questions based in the notes he made in the prior interview. The court described the questions asked in the second interview as “leading” and “highly incriminating” to which Dabas gave mostly one word answers.
The handwritten notes of Dabas’s original interview remained in the prosecutors file for a year and a half, and were used by Dando to write up his final report. After that, the case notes were disposed of and were not made available to Dabas’s defense attorneys during the discovery phase of his case.
The discovery phase of any criminal case is critical for defense attorneys. They must be aware of all of evidence used to prosecute their clients in order to build a strong defense. If defense attorneys are not able to review that evidence, including any statements made by the defendant, they are hindering in attempts to attack, discredit or rebut a witness’s testimony.
When Dando gave his testimony in Dabas’s trial he made statements based on the notes he took during the initial interview, but Dabas’s attorney was never provided the original notes that have been the basis of cross-examination.
The trial court permitted these references to the pre-interview even though Dabas’s defense attorney objected to the fact that the case notes were destroyed. He also questioned whether Dando’s testimony was accurate since he was relying on potentially biased statements from his final report; and expressed that Dabas was denied the right to cross-examine Dando completely due to the absence of the notes.
The Appellate Court’s decision, written by Justice Albin, stated the danger of destroying case notes “should be self-evident.” Adding, Dando had already formed the opinion that Dabas was guilty, and his final case notes were “filtered” through an investigator who “had developed a distinct view of the case.”
This is an important decision for two reasons. One, it confirms the State’s obligation to preserve all evidence and the accused’s right to defend himself or herself based on all, no just some, of the information available. Secondly, it shows the importance of a lawyer understanding the law and the accused’s rights and asserting those rights aggressively and persistently at trial and, when necessary on appeal.
As a New Jersey criminal defense attorney, I understand that importance of my client’s constitutional rights and the power of an effective and forceful cross-examination. I will use my experience as a litigator to challenge the prosecutor’s evidence against you with the goal of helping you avoid conviction. If you are facing criminal charges, contact my Newark officer so that we may discuss your case and devise a defense strategy.