Does Criminal Liability for “Bribery in Official and Political Matters” Attach to a Candidate Who is Not an Incumbent and Does Not Win Election? The Supreme Court Will Decide

The Supreme Court announced that it has granted certification in State v. O’Donnell. The question presented, as phrased by the Supreme Court Clerk’s office, is “Does N.J.S.A. 2C:27-2, which imposes criminal liability for ‘bribery in official and political matters,’ apply to a candidate for political office who is not an incumbent and is ultimately not elected?” In an opinion reported at 471 N.J. Super. 360 (App. Div. 2022), and discussed here, the Appellate Division held that the statute applied to such a candidate. That ruling reversed a decision of the Law Division that had granted defendant’s motion to dismiss the indictment.