Motion To Reopen Detention Based on New and Material Evidence That Was Previously Unknown at the Initial Hearing
Docket No. A-3234-21
Decided September 30, 2022
Submitted by New Jersey Criminal Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark
In a recent unpublished opinion, the Appellate Court of New Jersey decided the State’s appeal of an order that granted defendant’s motion to reopen his detention hearing and denied the State’s detention motion.
Defendant was arrested on April 11, 2022 and charged with reckless vehicular homicide within 1,000 ft. of school property (1st degree), assault by auto within 1,000 ft. of school property (3rd degree), causing death while driving with a suspended license (3rd degree), and various motor vehicle summonses. The State subsequently moved for detention.
On April 26, 2022 defendant’s remote detention hearing was conducted. The State presented the complaint-warrant, motor vehicle summonses, school zone map, defendant’s driver abstract, the detective’s incident report, and the affidavit of probable cause. Defendant’s wife testified on his behalf and stated that she worked remotely and was willing to assume supervision as his third-party custodian. Defense counsel also proposed as a conditional condition of release that the defendant submit to a “remote breath alcohol monitoring” mechanism operated by a private detective. This tool, known as a “SCRAM” device, operates on facial recognition software and requires the user to blow into it to self-administer the test after the private detective randomly contacts him, which will be approximately 3-4 times per day. Defendant would pay for all costs associated with the SCAM device.
The next day, the trial court granted the State’s motion for detention, finding that the State overcame the presumption of release by clear and convincing evidence. The court determined there were no conditions of release that could be imposed that would protect the safety of the community. The trial court memorialized its findings in an order dated May, 9, 2022.
Three days later, on May 12, defendant moved to reopen the detention hearing. Defendant cited that there was new and material information, including (1) evidence that the distance between the collision and Elementary School was 1,250 feet; (2) records confirming defendant completed his IDRC requirement; (3) the FRO cited in the PSA could not have been issued against defendant, who was four years old in 1984; (4) documentation confirming defendant was enrolled in a substance abuse treatment program for alcohol recovery and mental health treatment after the incident and prior to his arrest and can reenroll in treatment if released by the court; (5) the victim’s autopsy report, furnished after the detention hearing, “supported the notion that the decedent was suffering from a heart condition at the time of the collision”; and (6) the availability of the electronic monitoring device referenced at the detention hearing. He sought release on Level III plus monitoring with added conditions of alcohol monitoring and substance abuse treatment.
The trial court granted defendant’s motion to reopen the hearing and denied the State’s detention motion. The trial court found that the defendant had presented the court with “new and previously unknown information” which was the measurement placing the subject collision outside the stated school zone, the immediate availability of the SCRAM [R]emote Breath Alcohol Testing device, with continuous monitoring by [OMS], and defendant’s prior completion of an IDRC program. The court also found that the new previously unknown information was material as well since the new evidence created a reasonable possibility that the result of the hearing would have been different had the evidence been disclosed. The State appealed.
On appeal, the State contended that the trial court abused its discretion in finding that Remote Alcohol Monitoring mitigates the serious risk the defendant poses to the community. The Appellate Court disagreed with the State’s assertion and affirmed the trial court’s ruling, finding that there was no basis to disturb the trial court’s order. The Appellate Court noted that the trial court made detailed findings to support its decision to reopen defendant’s detention hearing, and imposed many conditions on the defendant, in addition to random alcohol testing, which the court felt would reasonably assure the safety of the community.
At Hark & Hark, we are experienced attorneys who represent clients for appeals in Superior Court for issues like the previously discussed case pertaining to motions to reopen detention based on new and material evidence that was previously unknown at the initial detention hearing. 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.