PSL Motions (Part 1)

by | Feb 7, 2021 | Blog, Criminal Law, Monmouth County, New Jersey, Ocean County

On December 1, 2020, a three-judge appellate panel decided the Union County case of State v. Ian Steingraber. The principal issue under N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6.4 was whether a court could sentence a defendant to parole supervision for life (PSL) after the prosecutor failed to file the otherwise-required PSL motion.

Judge Rose wrote for the Court and held in relevant part: N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6.4 requires the State to move for PSL as a presentence condition to certain convictions for endangering the welfare of a child, including the conviction at issue here, N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4(b)(5)(a). At the time of defendant’s sentence, the PSL statute provided in pertinent part: Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, . . . a court imposing sentence on a person who has been convicted of endangering the welfare of a child pursuant to paragraph (4) or (5) of subsection b. of N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4, . . . shall include, upon motion of the prosecutor, a special sentence of parole supervision for life in addition to any sentence authorized by Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes, unless the court finds on the record that the special sentence is not needed to protect the community or deter the defendant from future criminal activity. (emphasis added).

As the PCR court correctly recognized, “the State did not file” a motion for PSL and “the trial court made no findings regarding its imposition.” Under Rule 1:6-2, however, a motion need not be filed formally; it may be made orally during a court hearing. Indeed, we have recognized “the rules of court permit oral motions if they are ‘made during a trial or hearing,’ or if ‘the court permits it to be made orally.'” State v. Washington, (App. Div. 2018).

The New Jersey Court Rules that begin with the number “1” are rules of general application. That means that they apply to our state’s civil, criminal, and municipal courts.