Three New Criminal Appeals for the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court announced that it has granted review in three new cases. All of them are criminal matters. In one case, the Court granted leave to appeal. The other two involve grants of petitions for certification.

The leave to appeal case is State v. Keogh. The question presented, as phrased by the Supreme Court Clerk’s office, is “Were defendants subjected to custodial interrogation when they were interviewed by the detectives such that they should have been given Miranda warnings?” In an unpublished per curiam opinion by a three-judge panel, the Appellate Division held that what occurred did not constitute a custodial interrogation that required the Miranda warnings. That ruling reversed a Law Division decision that had suppressed statements of defendants made during the interviews at issue.

In State v. Amer, the question presented is “Was defendant brought to trial within 180 days of the State receiving his request for disposition as required by the Interstate Agreement on Detainers?” The Appellate Division, in an unpublished opinion by a three-judge panel, rebuffed defendant’s argument, finding that defendant had waived the right to assert the 180-day limit of the Interstate Agreement. The panel affirmed defendant’s convictions but remanded for resentencing pursuant to State v. Torres, 246 N.J. 246 (2021).

Finally, State v. Berry, a case that also encompasses two other defendants, all of whom were charged with and convicted of being “kingpins” or leaders of a narcotics trafficking network, presents this question: “Did the jury charge on N.J.S.A. 2C:35-3, leader of a narcotics trafficking network, adequately instruct the jury on the element of that offense that the defendant must be a ‘high level’ member of the network, and did the Appellate Division appropriately reverse the trial court’s denial of defendant Berry’s motion for a judgment of acquittal on that offense?” In an opinion reported at 471 N.J. Super. 76 (App. Div. 2022), the Appellate Division found grounds to reverse the “kingpin” verdicts as to all three defendants but affirmed the convictions of those defendants for other offenses.