The Supreme Court Adds Two More Criminal Appeals

The Supreme Court announced two more criminal cases that have been added to its calendar.  One is there by virtue of a dissent in the Appellate Division, while the Court granted certification in the other matter.

In State v. Vasco, the question presented, as phrased by the Supreme Court Clerk’s Office, is “Under the circumstances presented, did defendant provide an adequate factual basis for his guilty plea to fourth-degree unlawful possession of a weapon, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(d)?”  In the Appellate Division, a two-judge majority upheld defendant’s conviction for fourth degree unlawful possession of a deadly weapon.  Defendant had pled guilty, but later moved to withdraw that plea.  The Law Division denied that motion, and the Appellate Division majority affirmed that decision.  Judge Espinosa dissented, and defendant appealed to the Supreme Court as of right.

The other case is State v. Fede.  The question presented there is “Can defendant be guilty of obstruction of justice, N.J.S.A. 2C:29-1, for refusing to unlock the door to his residence and allowing police to enter to investigate a 911 report?”  In an unpublished per curiam opinion, a two-judge Appellate Division panel affirmed defendant’s conviction for obstruction of justice.  The Supreme Court has now granted certification to review that decision.