By Eric R. Breslin, Mauro M. Wolfe, and Jovalin Dedaj
In the last few weeks, the SEC and its administrative law judges (“ALJs”) have tested the truthfulness of the old adage, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.”
On May 3, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit denied the SEC’s request to rehear a decision, in which the Court determined that the SEC’s administrative law judges were unconstitutional appointments. That decision was just another setback for the SEC in a high-stakes constitutional debate which could potentially put the issue of how the SEC appoints its ALJs before the Supreme Court. Later this month, much to the dismay of the SEC, the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will rehear arguments in its decision, which initially held in favor of the SEC. Continue reading Home-Field Advantage? Scrutinizing the Independence of the SEC’s ALJs
N.J.S.A 2C: 52-2(a) permits the Superior Court to expunge convictions of certain classes of offenses under certain enumerated circumstances. As one example, the applicant seeking the remedy must have been “convicted of a crime,” but “…not convicted of any prior or subsequent crime.” The statute also bars from eligibility those who plead guilty in one proceeding to multiple offenses committed within a short period of time.
But what exactly does this last limitation mean in practice? Last week, the Supreme Court of New Jersey addressed and answered this question in In the Matter of the Expungement Petition of J.S. (A-84-13) and In the Matter of the Expungement of the Criminal Records of G.P.B, (A-2-14). So now while a quantum of doubt has been eliminated (and that is always a good thing), the statute is now more restrictive (and, for defense practitioners, this is decidedly not a good thing). Continue reading The Supreme Court of New Jersey Narrows the State’s Expungement Statute
The “private search doctrine” is a semi-obscure corner of Fourth Amendment jurisprudence. At its base, the doctrine addresses instances in which a private actor (i.e., not a law enforcement officer) conducts a “search” and discovers some species of contraband or proof of illegal conduct. That person must then proceed to notify law enforcement and/or present them with the item in question. Law enforcement must then proceed to duplicate the private search without first obtaining a judicial warrant.
Does this happen every day? Probably not. Yet, it does happen enough to be the subject of a recent decision by the Supreme Court of New Jersey, which opinion recounts a diverse line of state and federal authority on this very issue. Continue reading Can the “private search” doctrine serve as an exception to the Federal and State of New Jersey constitutional requirement that a warrant issue in advance of a search of a private home? The Supreme Court of New Jersey’s decision in State of New Jersey v. Ricky Wright (May 19, 2015)
Audio tapes and video tapes are a frequent coin of the realm in both federal and state criminal practice. It is increasingly rare to find a major prosecution in which the government’s discovery does not now include some form of recording. There are multiple paths of varying effectiveness through which intrepid defense counsel can seek to exclude this evidence. One of the more straightforward is if the recording in question can be argued to have been incomplete in some way.
Now, one might assume that a partial recording, even if relevant, would be so inherently suspect as to preclude admission under Rule 403 of the Federal Rules of Evidence or one of its state law counterparts. But this would be a perilous assumption. Incomplete or partial tape recordings can be admitted, once authenticated and found to be trustworthy, although it can be a challenging and convoluted analysis. One such scenario was addressed last week by the Supreme Court of New Jersey in State of New Jersey v. Kingkamau Nantambu. Continue reading Can an audio tape with a two minute “gap” in it be admitted into evidence?: The Supreme Court of New Jersey encounters a claim of undue prejudice in State of New Jersey v. Kingkamau Nantambu (A-97-13, Decided April 29, 2015)
18 U.S.C. 2113 (e) has a long and venerable history, even by the storied standards of the federal criminal code. It was originally enacted in 1934 in response to “an outbreak of bank robberies committed by John Dillinger and others” Carter v. United States of America, 530 U.S. 255, 280 (2000) (Ginsburg, J., dissenting).
In addition to robbing banks, these malefactors would, logically enough, then seek to avoid apprehension. In order to do this, they would frequently pause to take hostages, thus distracting and/or hamstringing pursuing law enforcement. Continue reading Can you receive a term of life imprisonment for forcing someone to accompany you to a different room in their own house?: Justice Scalia and a unanimous Supreme Court say “yes” in Whitfield v. United States of America, (though to be fair, I should note that Mr. Whitfield had just tried to rob a bank).
Eric Breslin, a partner with law firm Duane Morris LLP, has been appointed to the New Jersey Supreme Court Criminal Practice Committee. Breslin, a litigator in the firm’s Newark office, will serve on the committee through August 2015.
The Criminal Practice Committee reviews cases and issues referred to it by the state Supreme Court and makes recommendations regarding revisions and amendments to the New Jersey Rules Governing Criminal Practice. The rules dictate practice and procedure in all criminal proceedings in the state’s courts, including the municipal courts.
Continue reading Duane Morris Partner Eric Breslin Appointed to New Jersey Supreme Court Criminal Practice Committee
Duane Morris partner Eric R. Breslin will speak at the American Conference Institute’s 3rd National Forum on Securities: Litigation and Enforcement. The conference will be held on February 27, 2014 at the Grand Hyatt Washington Hotel.
ACI’s 3rd National Advanced Forum on Securities Litigation and Enforcement, is the only event in the industry where experienced in-house counsel, leading litigators, renowned jurists, and regulatory and enforcement officials from federal and state agencies will assemble in our nation’s capital to provide the highest level insights on the most current developments in the field.
Click here for more information.
The historical location data of a given individual’s cellular telephone can be put to a startling array of uses by state and federal law enforcement. Really, it is not hard to figure out how. Cellular phones send out signals at short time intervals in order to establish the presence of a nearby cell tower and to connect to it as required. This location information is recorded and preserved by the industry’s various service providers—T-Mobile, Sprint and the like.
The police have figured it out. If one can find the cell phone; in most cases, you can find its user and/or owner.
Continue reading Does the Government Need a Search Warrant to Obtain Cell Phone Location Data?: Within the Past Month, the Fifth Circuit said “No” while the New Jersey Supreme Court said “Yes”
We wrote earlier this year on the Fourth Amendment issue presented in Maryland v. King: whether a Maryland statute that allows the state to obtain DNA samples via “cheek swabs” from arrested individuals, as one step in the state’s routine booking and processing procedure, is an invalid warrantless search.
Continue reading Supreme Court Permits DNA Sampling of Persons Arrested, But Not Yet Convicted, in Maryland v. King
We wrote in February about the issue pending before the United States Supreme Court in Missouri v. McNeely: whether police can dispense with a search warrant and draw blood from an individual suspected of driving while intoxicated.
Well, in April, the Supreme Court ruled and in a decision authored by Justice Sotomayor held that usually police must obtain warrants in such situations.
Continue reading Update on Missouri v. McNeely: Supreme Court Holds Against Warrantless Blood Tests (Usually).