Drug Offenses and Parole Ineligibility (Part 4)

by | Mar 16, 2022 | Blog, Criminal Law, Monmouth County, New Jersey, Ocean County

The three-judge panel continued in relevant part: Considering the phrase in the context of criminal proceedings has been a less common occurrence. In State v. Szemple, the Court considered whether the defendant established “good cause” for post-conviction discovery, under State v. Marshall (1997). The Court concluded the defendant’s delay in seeking the information, without explanation and without any proof it would “cast doubt on the jury’s verdict” did not outweigh “the competing interests of finality and fundamental fairness.”

Courts have found “good cause” to interview jurors about deliberations in a case pursuant to Rule 1:16-1, when there was “some event or occurrence . . . injected into the deliberation in which the capacity for prejudice inheres.” State v. Loftin (1996) (quoting Pressler, Current N.J. Court Rules, cmt. 1 on R. 1:16-1 (1996)). We have held the purpose of that “rule was to ‘accommodate the public interest both in maintaining the secrecy of jury deliberations and in avoiding gross injustice by permitting inquiry into the events surrounding the jury’s decision only where’ a showing is made ‘that misconduct occurred which tainted the verdict.'” State v. R.D. (App. Div. 2001) (quoting Pressler, Current N.J. Court Rules, cmt. 1 on R. 1:16-1 (2002)).

Our decision in State v. Johnson (App. Div. 1980) presents facts that are most similar to this appeal, in that it involved our review of the resentencing of the defendant, not under a court rule, but rather a statute that employed the good cause standard. In Johnson, the defendant was convicted of various crimes and sentenced before enactment of the current Criminal Code in 1979 to a thirty-three-year indeterminate term at the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center. Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:1-1(d)(2), defendants became eligible “for the reduction or modification ‘for good cause shown’ of sentences of imprisonment imposed prior to the Code’s effective date for offenses which are eliminated or downgraded in the code.” The specially designated three-judge panel which heard all such motions concluded the defendant was entitled to resentencing and reduced his sentence.

Reference to the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center indicates that the defendant in Johnson was found guilty of a sex offense. It is rare for sex offenses to be “eliminated or downgraded. The trend under our criminal code is to amend statutes and codes to provide for harsher penalties.