A Motion to Dismiss Case and Four Criminal Matters for the Supreme Court

Today, and earlier this week, the Supreme Court announced that it had granted certification in five cases. Four are criminal appeals and one is a civil matter.

The civil case, which involves claims of legal malpractice, is McDonald Motors Corporation v. Delaney. The question presented, as phrased by the Supreme Court Clerk’s office, is “In this action in which plaintiff alleges that defendant failed to adequately disclose a conflict of interest with a member of the planning board, did plaintiff plead sufficient facts to survive a motion to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted under Rule 4:6-2(e)?” In an unpublished per curiam opinion, a two-judge Appellate Division panel affirmed the Law Division’s rulings that granted dismissal.

In State v. Walker, the question presented is “When a Megan’s Law registrant is released from inpatient substance abuse treatment, how long does the registrant have to verify their home address under N.J.S.A. 2C:7-2(e) before they can be held criminally liable?” In a bench trial, the Law Division convicted defendant of failing to re-verify his address pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:7-2(e), a part of Megan’s Law. A three-judge panel of the Appellate Division affirmed that ruling in an unpublished per curiam opinion.

State v. Burney presents this question: “Was the expert testimony regarding the coverage range of a cell phone tower admissible, and did one of the victim’s in-court identification of defendant, or the jury instructions associated with that identification, amount to reversible error?” Defendant was convicted of robbery, burglary, and other crimes. The Appellate Division, in an opinion reported at 471 N.J. Super. 297 (App. Div. 2022), rejected most of defendant’s contentions on appeal, but remanded the matter for the taking of expert testimony about defendant’s medical condition and the impact of that condition on the voluntariness of defendant’s statements to the police.

In State v. Torres, the question presented is “Was the warrantless search and seizure of defendant and his clothing permissible as a search incident to arrest?” The case was back before the Appellate Division after a remand to the Law Division for further findings regarding defendant’s suppression motion. The Law Division denied that motion, and the Appellate Division affirmed that ruling in an unpublished per curiam opinion by a two-judge panel.

The final case is State v. Erazo. The concise question presented there is “Were defendants’ statements to the detectives made knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily?” After a suppression motion by defendant was denied, he pled guilty to murder and sexual assault. He appealed the denial of the suppression motion, and a three-judge panel of the Appellate Division reversed that ruling.