Two Accelerated Appeals, and Four More, for the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court announced that it has granted review in six cases. Three of those involve grants of leave to appeal and three are grants of certification. The Court accelerated the schedule for two of the leave to appeal cases.

The first of the two accelerated cases is State v. Mackroy-Davis. The question presented, as phrased by the Supreme Court Clerk’s office, is “Did the trial court abuse its discretion by designating particular periods of excludable time for purposes of calculating the speedy trial deadlines under the Criminal Justice Reform Act, N.J.S.A. 2A:162-15 to -26?” The Law Division so acted on its own motion, and the Appellate Division denied defendant’s motion for leave to appeal. The Supreme Court imposed a peremptory briefing schedule and required that any motions to appear as amicus curiae be filed, together with the proposed amicus brief, by March 23.

The other accelerated matter is In re Proposed Construction of Compressor Station, where the question presented is “In this matter concerning plans for the construction of a compressor station in the Highlands preservation area, should a company that was granted an exemption from the provisions and regulations of the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection be allowed to intervene in an appeal of that agency decision?” Acting as the court of first instance since the appeal was from an action of an administrative agency, the Appellate Division denied intervention. Here, too, the Supreme Court set a peremptory briefing schedule and set a February 25 deadline for amicus applications.

The other leave to appeal case is State in the Interest of E.S. That case presents this question: “In this juvenile proceeding, where the juvenile moved to suppress evidence and the State moved for waiver of the matter to the Law Division, did the Family Part judge abuse his discretion in determining to proceed with the waiver hearing before the suppression motion?” In a published opinion that does not yet have an official reporter citation but was discussed here, the Appellate Division ruled that Family Part judges have discretion as to whether, on a case by case basis, a waiver hearing or a suppression hearing should come first, but that there should be “a general preference to have the suppression hearing conducted first in the Family Part.”

In Green Knight Capital, LLC v. Calderon, the question presented is “Was permitting a third party to attempt redemption of the tax sale certificate after plaintiff had filed a foreclosure complaint consistent with N.J.S.A. 54:5-98 and Simon v. Cronecker, 189 N.J. 304 (2007)?” In an opinion reported at 469 N.J. Super. 390 (App. Div. 2021), the Appellate Division held that allowing redemption was permissible.

Holm v. Purdy presents this question: “Does the Workers’ Compensation Act, N.J.S.A. 34:15-36, impose a legal duty on an insurance broker to advise new members of an LLC of the need to opt-in for worker’s compensation coverage?” In an unpublished opinion, a two-judge Appellate Division panel held that the insurance broker had a duty and that whether the broker failed in that duty was for a jury.

The final new appeal is State v. Miller. The question presented there is “In this proceeding for post-conviction relief, did defendant show that he received ineffective assistance of trial counsel entitling him to a new trial? ” This case has been to the Supreme Court before and was on remand below. Reversing the Law Division, a three-judge panel of the Appellate Division, in an unpublished opinion, held that defendant had shown that counsel did not provide effective assistance.