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July 2014 Archives

Will the New Jersey Supreme Court make a new crime?

Most people in New Jersey recognize that it is legislators who are responsible for passing laws that criminalize certain behaviors. It is then the executive branch's responsibility to enforce those laws and the judicial branch's job to interpret those laws. This system of government, however, does have certain issues, such as the fact that the New Jersey Supreme Court has the ability to decide if certain actions actually constitute crimes under ambiguous laws.

Divorce settlements do more than divide the marital assets

While many people in Trenton may have heard that in a divorce a spouse gets half or his or her spouse's things, that is not entirely true. In reality, divorcing spouses must divide their marital assets, or the property and possessions they have acquired jointly during the span of their marriage, but they must do so equitably. This allows for one spouse to get a greater share of the marital assets than the other spouse when it is fair. Divorce is about more than just dividing the assets, however, it is also about dividing the debt.

Cory Booker works to reform criminal justice system

Sen. Cory Booker may be relatively new to the Senate, but that doesn't mean that he is taking things slowly. The freshman senator from New Jersey has recently announced that he and Rand Paul will be co-sponsoring a bill that would make it easier to expunge the records of nonviolent juvenile offenders. Since a criminal record can seriously hinder a young person's opportunities, even a record for something as minor as drug possession, this kind of legislation could go a long way to help young people.

Middle class continues to take on debt despite stagnant incomes

There are some people in Trenton who point to those who file bankruptcy and say it is their own fault. For some reason, bankruptcy has a negative connotation attached to it, one that speaks of irresponsibility, stupidity and bad money management. Sure, there are some people in New Jersey filing for bankruptcy because they truly are bad at managing and spending their money. Most people, however, are filing bankruptcy for one of a thousand or more other reasons, often through no fault of their own.

That young person's confession may not be reliable, part II

Earlier in the week we talked about young people's ability to understand their Miranda rights. We also discussed the proclivity teenagers have for waiving their rights to silence and to have a criminal defense lawyer present during questioning. Although some people may not see a problem in this as it is getting juvenile "delinquents" off the streets, it can be quite problematic when these teenagers confess to things they have never done.

That young person's confession may not be reliable

When someone confesses to a crime, it is often seen as a slam dunk for prosecutors. If the individual confessed, it means he or she did the crime, right? Well, it is not always that straightforward. If it is a teenager, chances are the confession is more a product of stress, confusion or fear than it is an actual admission of guilt. If a teenager or college student is charged with a crime in Mercer County, it is very possible that he or she will confess to a crime he or she did not commit.

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