The criminal justice system can be confusing for New Jersey residents, as many people do not always understand the sentences some people receive after convictions. There are times when those expecting an offender to get a harsh penaltyare disappointed because plea bargaining allows for a lesser sentence. While this can upset a victim or relatives, plea bargaining is a necessary tool.
Sentences for a crime do not always include jail or prison time. Alternative sentences are designed to punish or deter further crime without making the defendant serve time. Examples of alternative sentences in New Jersey and across the United States include probation, suspended sentences, fines, restitution and adjudication diversion programs.
New Jersey residents may not know that the amount of money Americans owe on their credit cards is fairly consistent across the country. A survey of credit card debt levels in the nation's largest metropolitan areas conducted by CreditCards.com found only a $900 difference in average debt levels between the most indebted and least indebted cities. The credit card information and comparison website published its findings on July 26.
New Jersey citizens may be familiar with the concept of career criminals, those deemed by the law to have committed excessive offenses of a certain minimum magnitude. The federal Armed Career Criminal Act provides for additional prison time for those meeting the criteria of the law at the time of conviction. With three prior eligible offenses, an individual could be subject to an increased sentence. However, the Supreme Court in its June 26 decision has now ruled that one of the phrases defining eligibility was too vague.
Residents of New Jersey may be aware that James Holmes' prosecutors are seeking the death penalty while his defense attorneys are fighting for his life through a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. In other words, they are claiming he did not know that what he was doing was wrong when he started shooting people at a Colorado movie theater in 2012. Prosecutors showed jurors photographs and obtained witness testimony while the defense tried to keep the focus on Holmes' state of mind when he committed the murders.
Some New Jersey residents may know that a bill concerning drunk driving penalties passed both legislative houses but was rejected by Gov. Chris Christie and sent back with revisions. The bill dealt with the length of time an offender's license is suspended in New Jersey and the use of ignition interlock devices.
New Jersey criminal cases often involve testimony by multiple witnesses and, sometimes, a confession by a criminal defendant. Confessions and eyewitness accounts of events have both been shown to be problematic, as memory is inherently faulty and easily influenced.
A New Jersey man has been implicated in a single-vehicle collision that occurred on Jan. 1. He has been charged with DWI and other crimes in relation to the accident. A court appearance has been scheduled for him to answer to the charges at a later date.
Law enforcement officials took into custody on Dec. 22 a 63-year-old man accused of dealing in child pornography. The accused individual is from Rockaway, according to authorities.
According to reports by the Riverdale Police Department, an allegedly drunk man dressed as an elf was found passed out behind the wheel of a car on Dec. 19. Officers reportedly responded to a call regarding a suspicious vehicle around 3:30 a.m. They claim they smelled a strong odor of alcohol coming from the man and his vehicle.