Three More Supreme Court Grants of Certification

The Supreme Court announced that it has granted certification in three more cases. Two of them are criminal matters. The third addresses labor and constitutional law issues.

The labor appeal is Rozenblit v. Lyles, in which (as discussed here) the Appellate Division issued an opinion published at 461 N.J. Super. 20 (App. Div. 2019). The question presented, as phrased by the Supreme Court Clerk’s office, is “Does this collective bargaining agreement’s release time provision, which requires the Board of Education to pay the salaries and benefits of two teachers who devoted all of their work-time to the business affairs of the Jersey City Education Association, violate public policy, statutory authority (N.J.S.A. 18A:30-7), and/or the State Constitution (N.J. Const. art. VIII, § 3, ¶¶ 2-3)?”

The Appellate Division held that the provision at issue was not authorized by the statute and violated public policy. That court did not reach the constitutional issue. The Appellate Division’s ruling reversed a decision of the Law Division, which had found no problem with the provision in question.

State v. Desir, also an appeal from a published Appellate Division opinion (reported at 461 N.J. Super. 185 (App. Div. 2019), presents this question: “To what extent was the State obligated to provide discovery in connection with defendant’s challenge to the search warrant in this matter?” The case involved a charge of possession of a Schedule I narcotic with intent to distribute, to which defendant entered a conditional guilty plea after the Law Division denied his motion to compel discovery of a certain laboratory report. The Appellate Division held that the Law Division had abused its discretion in denying defendant’s motion for discovery and remanded the case for further proceedings.

Finally, in State v. Melvin, an appeal from an unpublished per curiam decision of a three-judge Appellate Division panel, the question presented is “May a sentencing judge consider a defendant’s conduct where the jury acquitted defendant of the underlying crimes?” The Appellate Division affirmed the sentence imposed by the Law Division, finding no impropriety in the Law Division’s analysis.