A Mitigating Factor in Sentencing, and the “Rescue Doctrine,” Come Before the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court announced that it has granted certification in two more cases. The Court has accelerated and set a peremptory briefing schedule in one of those cases, State v. Lane. Any motion for leave to appear as amicus curiae must be filed, along with a copy of the proposed amicus brief, by December 6, 2021.

The question presented in Lane, as phrased by the Supreme Court Clerk’s office, is “Does mitigating factor fourteen, N.J.S.A. 2C:44-1(b)(14), that the ‘defendant was under 26 years of age at the time of the commission of the offense,’ apply retroactively?” Addressing that issue on the Sentencing Calendar, in an unpublished order, a two-judge panel of the Appellate Division held that the mitigating factor was not to be applied retroactively.

The other new appeal is Samolyk v. Berthe. The question presented there is “Does the rescue doctrine, which in some instances permits an injured rescuer to maintain a cause of action against the person whose negligence placed a victim in imminent danger, extend to the rescue of a dog?” Both the Law Division and the Appellate Division, in an unpublished per curiam opinion by a three-judge panel, held that the rescue doctrine does not extend that far.