Supreme Court grants of leave to appeal are infrequent, but the Court’s latest wave of five new cases taken up for review includes three appeals on leave. All of those are criminal matters. The two other newly accepted cases, in which the Court granted certification, are civil appeals.
Two of the matters in which leave to appeal was granted are connected. The first is State v. Molchor, which itself involves two consolidated cases. The question presented there, as phrased by the Supreme Court Clerk’s office, is “Under the Criminal Justice Reform Act, N.J.S.A. 2A:162-15 to -26, can a defendant’s immigration status form the basis for the court’s pretrial detention decision?” In a published opinion that does not yet have an official citation but is available through computerized research, a three-judge panel of the Appellate Division answered “no.” That ruling reversed a decision of the Law Division.
In State v. Lopez-Carrera, a two-judge Appellate Division panel, in an unpublished order, summarily affirmed a decision of the Law Division that had applied Molchor and denied the State’s request that defendant be detained because he was about to be deported. The question presented in that case is “Under the Criminal Justice Reform Act, N.J.S.A. 2A:162-15 to -26, can a court consider the issuance of a Final Removal Order when deciding whether to detain the defendant?”
The final leave to appeal case is State v. McQueen, where the question presented is “Did the State’s acquisition of a recording of a telephone call placed from the police station’s phone violate the Fourth Amendment?” The Law Division granted defendant’s motion to suppress that recording, and a 2-1 majority of the Appellate Division affirmed that decision.
Turning to the civil cases, the question presented in Borough of Carteret v. Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Ass’n, Local 67 is “Was the arbitrator’s interpretation of the disputed clause in the parties’ collective negotiations agreement reasonably debatable?” The Chancery Division had confirmed the arbitration award, but an unpublished opinion by an Appellate Division panel of two judges reversed, finding the arbitrator’s interpretation of the disputed clause not reasonably debatable.
The final case, Bozzi v. City of Jersey City, comes to the Court from an unpublished, three-judge decision of the Appellate Division that affirmed a ruling of the Law Division that plaintiff was entitled, under the Open Public Records Act, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 et seq., to the names and addresses of persons possessing a dog license issued by the City. The Appellate Division relied entirely on the published opinion, involving the same plaintiff and decided by the same three-judge panel, captioned Bozzi v. Borough of Roselle Park, 462 N.J. Super. 415 (App. Div. 2020). The Roselle Park case is not before the Court. The question presented in the Jersey City case is “Under the Open Public Records Act, was plaintiff entitled to the names and addresses of individuals possessing a dog license issued by Jersey City?”