Double jeopardy bars crime prosecution if a plea in municipal court
State v Miles 443 NJ Super 212 (App. Div. 2015)
The defendant was arrested during an undercover drug operation. Defendant was charged on a warrant with possession of a CDS with intent to distribute on or near school property. Defendant was also charged on a summons with a disorderly persons offense of possession of marijuana.
After defendant was indicted, he appeared pro se in municipal court via videoconference after being incarcerated for a family matter. The disorderly persons drug offense, which was not joined with the indictable offense, was pending. Without the presence or participation of the State, but in accord with the existing "practice," the judge amended the offense to loitering and then took a plea from defendant. Predicated upon his plea, defendant sought to bar the prosecution of the indictable charge.
The court held that the subsequent prosecution and conviction on the indictable charge was barred under the "same evidence" test, which is still recognized under state constitutional principles. The court reasoned that the "fundamental fairness" doctrine did not apply, notwithstanding the State's failure to join the disorderly offense with the indictable charges and defendant's reasonable expectation that his plea to the disorderly offense charge resolved all charges, which arose out of his arrest.