Sutnick & Sutnick Attorneys at Law
X
X

Default Template

The New Jersey rules of evidence, like the federal rules, were designed to govern how forms of proof are offered at trial. Under the federal rules of evidence, for example, a prosecutor cannot introduce evidence of a past crime for fear it may prejudice the jury. This can be particularly important in cases involving violent crimes such as domestic violence charges and aggravated assault where a prior conviction could be the nail in the coffin for the defendant.

The concern among jurists is that introducing evidence of prior crimes such as an assault charge in a domestic case or a weapons charge in a gun case will prejudice the jury, and they will end up convicting the defendant for his past acts rather than the present crime. While this is a long-standing federal rule, under the New Jersey rules of evidence it is up to the judge to decide if such information is admissible. But a new proposal may change that.

The new proposal is currently under consideration by the state Supreme Court. According to this proposal, prosecutors could not use a defendant's conviction for a past criminal act against them. A panel of legal experts appointed by the court put the proposal together after the court appointed them to study the issue. If it passes, New Jersey prosecutors will not be able to question the credibility of a defendant with convictions that are over10 years old.

While the justices have several months to make a decision on the proposal, if the new rules are implemented they could have a tremendous effect on criminal defense in the state of New Jersey. While some detractors scoff at the changes, these rules are not meant to keep criminals on the street, they are meant to keep innocent men out of prison. It seems that people forget, but in the United States a defendant is innocent until they are proven guilty.

Source: N.J.com, "N.J. Supreme Court weighs new protection for defendants with criminal histories," Salvador Rizzo, April 9, 2013

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

What Our Clients Are Saying

  • "Sutnick & Sutnick are two truly outstanding lawyers. They have helped me with several difficult issues over the years, and have never failed me once.

    I wholeheartedly recommend them to whoever reads this, as I do to all my friends and family whenever they need help. They are kind, professional, and know what they’re doing." T.K.

Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances.

View More

Do You Have Questions? We Have Answers.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

  • new jersey supreme court
  • HLA

No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.
Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances.

Court Plaza South, West Wing
21 Main St #171
Hackensack, NJ 07601

Phone: 201-212-4532
Fax: 201-342-7557
HACKENSACK OFFICE

172 East 161 Street
Bronx, NY 10451

Phone: 201-212-4532
Phone: 212-414-4330
Fax: 201-342-7557
BRONX OFFICE

500 Valley Road
Wayne, NJ 07470

Phone: 201-212-4532
Fax: 201-342-7557
WAYNE OFFICE