Kenneth Vercammen is past president of the Middlesex County NJ Municipal Court Prosecutor's Association. He served as the Cranbury Township Prosecutor.

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is a NJ trial attorney who has published 130 articles in national and New Jersey publications on Criminal Law and litigation topics. He was awarded the NJ State State Bar Municipal Court Practitioner of the Year. He lectures to police departments as a volunteer on criminal cases, Municipal Court, DWI, traffic and other litigation matters. He is co- Chair of the ABA Criminal Law Committee,GP and was a speaker at a recent ABA Annual Meeting attended by 10,000 attorneys and professionals. To schedule a confidential consultation, email us at, call or

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December 14, 2015


We hold that the drug-trafficking recidivist provision in N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6(f) cannot be the basis to impose a mandatory extended term for the offense of drug trafficking within 500 feet of a public housing facility under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7.1. N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6(f) has never been amended to add the subsequently-enacted N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7.1 to its list of drug trafficking offenses for which an extended term is required. The prosecution may move to apply N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6(f) to the N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5 count, and the resulting minimum term of parole ineligibility will survive the merger of that count with the N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7.1 count. Because defendant attempted to explain away the cash in his pocket by using his post-arrest statement that "he was unemployed and that he won the money in Atlantic City gambling," the prosecutor's reference to his statement and his unemployment was not reversible error.


In this appeal, we consider whether the scope of the permissible area and persons to be searched, pursuant to a search warrant, extends to the location where defendant was found, seated in a vehicle, parked on the street, five or six houses away from the premises where a search warrant was being executed. The motion judge found there was probable cause to search defendant based upon the search warrant. We reverse holding pursuant to Bailey v. United States, __ U.S. __, 133 S. Ct. 1031, 185 L. Ed. 2d 19 (2013), the search and seizure was beyond the spatial limits of the search warrant.

STATE V. WITT A-0866-13T2

STATE V. WITT A-0866-13T2
       The court granted leave to appeal an order granting defendant's motion to suppress evidence seized during a warrantless search of his vehicle. The court affirmed not only because it is bound by State v. Pena-Flores, 198 N.J. 6 (2009), and its many antecedents, and not only because no exigencies  for the  search were  revealed  during the suppression hearing,  but also    because  there was no legitimate basis for the motor vehicle stop that preceded the search. In this last regard, the record demonstrated that the police officer stopped defendant's vehicle because defendant did not dim his high beams as he drove by the officer's parked patrol vehicle. Because the patrol vehicle was not an "oncoming vehicle," and because there were no other "oncoming vehicles" on the road at the time, the police officer did not have objectively reasonable grounds to believe defendant had violated the high-beam statute, N.J.S.A. 39:3-60, in making the vehicle stop.


       We   held that the  Juvenile  Justice Commission's "interim policy" on transferring juveniles to adult prisons was invalid, because it was not adopted in compliance with the Administrative Procedures Act. We also found that the agency's action in transferring Y.C. was contrary to State ex rel. J.J., 427 N.J. Super. 541 (App. Div. 2012), which invalidated the JJC's transfer regulations and indicated that the     agency must adopt new regulations before transferring a juvenile to an adult prison. We ordered that Y.C. be given a new transfer hearing, to be conducted by the Office of Administrative Law, and ordered the JJC to adopt new regulations within 180 days.

STATE v. NUNEZ A-3197-11T2

STATE v. NUNEZ A-3197-11T2
We reverse defendant's murder conviction because the trial judge permitted the State to bolster its case by calling defendant's investigator to testify to a prior consistent statement of the State's only eyewitness in violation of defendant's right to counsel.


06/17/14 STATE VS. ADAMS A-1640-12T4
       Defendant was arrested for a new crime while participating in the Intensive Supervision Program (ISP) following modification of a custodial sentence on a prior conviction to permit that participation. R. 3:21-10(b)(6). The precise question presented is whether defendant is entitled to jail credits pursuant to Rule 3:21-8 against the sentence for the new crime from the date of his arrest for that crime until the date he was either sentenced by the judge for the new crime or resentenced by the three- judge ISP panel for "fail[ure] to perform satisfactorily following entry into" ISP, R. 3:21-10(e). We conclude that a defendant in this circumstance is entitled to jail credits for days in confinement from the date of arrest to the date the first sentence is imposed.
       Our decision is informed by State v. Hernandez, 208 N.J. 24 (2011), which deals with jail credits involving multiple charges, R. 3:21-8; N.J.S.A. 2C:44-5(b). And it is informed by State v. DiAngelo, 434 N.J. Super. 443 (App. Div. 2014), which applies Hernandez in a case involving resentencing for a violation of probation.

06/17/14 STATE v. SYLVESTER A-5192-12T4

06/17/14 STATE v. SYLVESTER A-5192-12T4

       N.J.S.A. 2C:40-26b makes it a fourth degree offense to drive while one's license is suspended or revoked for a second or subsequent conviction for driving a car while under the influence of alcohol (DWI). In a bench trial before the Law Division on this charge, defendant argued that her second DWI conviction had been voided ab initio by the municipal court when it granted her PCR petition two months after she was indicted for one count of violating N.J.S.A. 2C:40-26b. Thus defendant argues the State cannot rely on this vacated second DWI conviction to meet its burden of proof under N.J.S.A. 2C:40-26b. The trial court rejected this argument. We affirmed.
       It is undisputed that at the time defendant committed this offense, she was aware her driver's license had been revoked by a presumptively valid second conviction for DWI. We rely on State v. Gandhi, 201 N.J. 161, 190 (2010) to hold that a second DWI conviction vacated through PCR granted by a court after a defendant engages in conduct prohibited in N.J.S.A.2C: 40-26b, cannot be applied retroactively to bar a conviction under this statute.