Appeal of Judgment of Conviction and Order Denying Motion to Be Readmitted into the Pretrial Intervention Program (“PTI”)
Docket No. A-0107-20
Decided October 14, 2022
Submitted by New Jersey Criminal Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark
In a recent unpublished opinion, the Appellate Court of New Jersey decided defendant’s appeal of her judgment of conviction and the order denying her motion to be readmitted into the Pretrial Intervention Program (“PTI”).
In July 2014, defendant pled guilty to third-degree resisting arrest and was admitted into PTI. She was represented at the plea y a private attorney and the PTI order of postponement stated defendant was to be in the program for one year. Shortly before completing PTI, in May 2015, a probation officer filed a report stating that defendant had violated her PTI conditions.
At the PTI termination hearing in July 2015, neither defendant or her attorney appeared. Consequently, the court issued a bench warrant for her arrest, but failed to address whether the alleged violations had occurred; whether defendant willfully violated the PTI conditions; or whether the defendant remained a viable candidate for PTI. Defendant was terminated from the PTI program nonetheless.
In 2019, defendant moved to be readmitted into PTI and represented that she never received notice of the PTI violation charges or the July 2015 hearing. Defendant argued that she has led a law-abiding life since 2015, has been employed full time and has continued to pursue educational opportunities.
In January 2020, the trial court conducted oral argument on defendant’s motion to be readmitted into the PTI program. The judge did not conduct an evidentiary hearing, but instead explained that he had read and reviewed the motion papers. The judge then heard very brief arguments from the public defender representing the defendant, and the State informed him that it would rely on its papers. The same day, the judge issued a written opinion denying the motion. The trial court determined that defendant had failed to explain why she had not completed her PTI conditions and finding defendant’s violations to be willful. Due to defendant’s lack of explanation, the court concluded that she would not be successful in PTI at the present time. Defendant subsequently appealed.
On appeal, defendant contended that her 2015 termination from PTI was improper because it was not based on a showing that she had violated her conditions. She also argues that she should have been readmitted into PTI. The Appellate Court determined that since there was no hearing conducted in 2015 that addressed the factors governing the termination of PTI it must reverse the order denying her readmittance into PTI and remand the case for an evidentiary hearing. The Appellate Court noted that the evidentiary hearing should consist of determining (1) whether her PTI was improperly terminated in 2015; and (2) whether she should be readmitted into PTI. The Appellate Court also did not believe that the trial judge had the opportunity to properly exercise his discretion in determining whether Holloway had willfully failed to comply with her PTI conditions and whether Holloway remains a viable candidate for PTI under the original or modified conditions.
At Hark & Hark, we are experienced attorneys who represent clients for appeals in Superior Court for issues like the previously discussed case pertaining to the termination or reinstatement of PTI. We work hard to ensure that our clients receive exceptional representation in order for them to receive the most favorable outcome in their case as a result.
We offer payment plan options to clients financially incapable of providing full payment upfront. If you are facing a similar situation to that of the defendant in this case, please call us to discuss the matter. At Hark & Hark, we represent clients for any case in any county in New Jersey including Atlantic County, Bergen County, Burlington County, Camden County, Cape May County, Cumberland County, Essex County, Gloucester County, Hudson County, Hunterdon County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Morris County, Ocean County, Passaic County, Salem County, Somerset County, Sussex County, Union County, and Warren County and any town including Audubon, Gloucester City, Oaklyn, Audubon Park, Gloucester Township, Pennsauken, Barrington, Haddon Heights, Pine Hill, Bellmawr, Haddon Township, Pine Valley, Berlin Borough, Haddonfield, Runnemede, Berlin Township, Hi-Nella, Somerdale, Brooklawn, Laurel Springs, Stratford, Camden, Lawnside, Voorhees, Cherry Hill, Lindenwold, Waterford, Chesilhurst, Magnolia, Winslow, Clementon, Merchantville, Woodlynne, Collingswood, Mt. Ephraim, and Gibbsboro.