Motion To Dismiss Indictment Based on Stated Completion of Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) Program: Denied

State of New Jersey v. Devon Grant

Docket No. A-3147-19

Decided May 31, 2023

Submitted by New Jersey Criminal Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark

In a recent unpublished opinion, the Appellate Court of New Jersey decided defendant’s appeal from an order denying his motion to dismiss his indictment based on his stated completion of the pre-trial intervention (PTI) program.

Defendant, along with two other individuals, shoplifted electronics at Walmart over the course of three days. The men were all arrested on the third day. While officers on scene searched defendant’s vehicle, they discovered four bags of heroin and suboxone. After defendant was indicted for these third-degree crimes, he was eventually admitted into PTI. As a condition of PTI, Grant was ordered to be supervised for twenty-four months, complete one hundred hours of community service, pay $1,739.22 in restitution (to be split jointly and severally amongst the three co-defendants), and submit to random drug urinalyses.

Defendants term of PTI was extended because he was involved in a car accident and suffered serious bodily injuries. In November 2018, defendant tested positive for opiates and THC and was ordered to appear at a PTI termination hearing. A bench warrant was issued for his arrest once he failed to appear. As a result, defendant was terminated from PTI in March 2019.

In November of 2019, defendant filed a motion to dismiss the indictment claiming he had substantially complied with PTI. Defendant argued that he had essentially completed his community service and paid most of the joint and several restitution that was ordered. Moreover, defendant contended that he had a prescription for the opiates found in his vehicle and that he completed an outpatient drug program. Defendant had requested oral argument if the matter was opposed. Although the State opposed defendant’s motion, no oral argument ever took place. The trial court denied defendant’s motion in a January 2020 order, and articulated that it was sorry that the defendant could not salvage his PTI but the history of this case makes it inappropriate to vacate the prior termination. Defendant ultimately pleaded guilty to third-degree shoplifting and third-degree degree possession of heroin and was sentenced to one year of noncustodial probation. Defending subsequently appealed.

On appeal, defendant argued that this case must be remanded since the trial court failed to make required findings of fact and conclusions of law in support of the denial of his motion to dismiss the indictment for substantially complying with PTI. Alternatively, defendant contended that the trial court erred in denying the motion. The State argued that it opposed defendant’s motion to dismiss as it disagreed as to the reasoning behind defendant’s positive opiate test, his failures to appear in court, the payment of over half the restitution, and the timing and completion of his community service.

The Appellate Court determined that it need not and cannot determine whether the trial court correctly concluded that defendant should not have his case dismissed for successful completion of PTI. Thus, the court reversed and remanded the matter for the trial court to clearly state its factual findings and correlate them with the relevant legal conclusions. The trial court’s prior order denying defendant’s motion to dismiss his indictment is devoid of any factual findings, and instead included only a conclusory statement that, because of the history of his case, it is inappropriate to readmit defendant into PTI. The court further noted that the judge reconsidering the motion should have the opportunity to consider defendant’s specific facts and weigh them against the burden of having a criminal record.

At Hark & Hark, we are experienced attorneys who represent clients in Superior Court for issues like the previously discussed case pertaining motions to dismiss indictments. 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.

Criminal Civil Lawyer

Jeffrey Hark is a New Jersey Civil and Criminal Lawyer.

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