STATE OF NEW JERSEY VS. GREGORY MAURER
In this appeal we reversed the Law Division's denial of defendant's appeal from the prosecutor's rejection of his application for "Track Two" sentencing into Drug Court for CDS offenses. In rejecting defendant's appeal, the Law Division relied solely on defendant's prior conviction for a weapons crime, which the judge found rendered him ineligible, pursuant to the guidelines set forth in the Administrative Office of the Courts' "Manual for Operation of Adult Drug Courts in New Jersey" (July 2002).
We considered the history of New Jersey's successful Drug Court program, the application of the Manual's guidelines, and the Drug Court Statute, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-14 as recently amended. Having done so, we determined barring defendant from consideration for Drug Court was unfair and, if permitted, would constitute disparate sentencing because "Track One" offenders as facing sentencing for crimes such as second-degree robbery could be considered for entry into Drug Court but defendant could not. We therefore, reversed the Law Division's order and remanded the matter for further consideration of defendant's application, including the extent of his drug addiction, if any, and his dangerousness, including his criminal history, as provided for in the Drug Court Manual for "Track Two" offenders.