Drug Offenses and Parole Ineligibility (Part 5)

by | Mar 18, 2022 | Blog, Criminal Law, Monmouth County, New Jersey, Ocean County

The Court continued in relevant part: The State appealed, and the defendant contended he had a “statutory right to a resentence because the maximum terms of imprisonment for the Title 2A crimes exceeded the maximum terms of imprisonment for the equivalent crimes under the code. According to this argument, disparity in sentence is sufficient good cause to meet the statutory prerequisite.” We rejected that argument, stating: We need not delineate precisely the bounds of good cause. Obviously, the aggravating and mitigating factors to be taken into consideration in original sentencing should be weighed. A persistent offender, as defendant has been, may be subject to a sentence to an extended term of imprisonment beyond the maximum in the code. The most relevant factors in the determination of good cause should bear on any past criminal record, the nature and circumstances of the crime for which resentencing is applied for, its violence, heinousness or depravity, any parole violations, and the risk that the applicant for resentencing will commit another crime, in particular if the result of resentencing is that his release from imprisonment is advanced to an early future date. These criteria are negative, tending to rebut good cause without which a resentence may not be granted under N.J.S.A. 2C:1-1(d)(2).

In this case, appellants have posited that this and every defendant for whom a joint application has been filed established prima facie grounds for resentencing under the Rule. They argue that the Commission Report‘s findings of mass incarceration and pernicious racial disparity in sentencing, also recognized by the Directive, are sufficient to grant relief in every instance. Before us, the Assistant Attorney General asserted the court’s decision-making authority only came into play in those rare instances where, pursuant to the Directive, there was disagreement over whether a discretionary minimum term of parole ineligibility should apply instead of the previously imposed term. We reject those arguments.

The ”We” that the Court refers to in the first paragraph is the Appellate Division as a whole. The “We” referenced in the second paragraph is the three-judge pane deciding this particular case.