Two New Criminal Appeals for the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court announced that it has granted review in two new criminal appeals. One of those matters came to the Court on leave to appeal, while certification was granted in the other case.

The leave to appeal case is State v. Zingis. The question presented, as phrased by the Supreme Court Clerk’s office, is “In a prosecution for a second driving while intoxicated (DWI) offense, what evidence is the State required to present to prove that a prior conviction for DWI was not based on Alcotest breath sample test results deemed inadmissible in State v. Cassidy, 235 N.J. 482 (2018)?”

This is an unusual matter, as the Court granted leave to appeal and simultaneously directed that “the matter is remanded to a Special Master for a plenary hearing to consider and decide the following questions, along with any other questions that the Special Master, in his discretion, deems relevant to the undertaking: (1) Which counties had convictions affected by the conduct of Marc W. Dennis, a coordinator in the New Jersey State Police’s Alcohol Drug Testing Unit, as described in State v. Cassidy, 235 N.J. 482 (2018), and (2) What notification was provided to defendants affected by Dennis’ s conduct?” Judge Fall was appointed Special Master, and the Supreme Court retained jurisdiction over the matter. Finally, the Court provided that “upon the filing of the Special Master’s report on remand, the Clerk of the Court shall establish a supplemental briefing schedule on appeal and shall schedule the matter for oral argument on the record as developed by the Special Master and supplemental briefing.”

The other new case is State v. Miranda. The question presented there, as phrased by the Supreme Court Clerk’s office, is “Were the officers’ warrantless searches of the storage trailer and of the bag found in the trailer constitutional?” The Law Division denied defendant’s motion to suppress, and a two-judge Appellate Division panel affirmed that ruling in an unpublished per curiam opinion.