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The following are the Criminal Rules of Court regarding criminal trials in New Jersey in the Superior Courts:
RULE 3:14. PLACE OF TRIAL 3:14-1. Venue
An offense shall be prosecuted in the county in which it was committed, except that (a) If it is uncertain in which one of 2 or more counties the offense has been committed or if an offense is committed in several counties prosecution may be had in any of such counties. (b) If a person dies in one county as a result of an offense committed in any other county or counties, the prosecution may be had in any of such counties. (c) Whenever the body of any person who died as a result of an offense is found in any county, prosecution may be had in such county, regardless of where the offense was committed. (d) Whenever a person dies within the jurisdiction of this State as a result of an offense committed outside the jurisdiction of this State, or dies outside the jurisdiction of this State as a result of an offense committed within the jurisdiction of this State, the prosecution shall be had in the county in which the death occurred or the offense was committed. (e) Prosecution for acts of treason against this State which were committed outside the jurisdiction of this State shall be had in any county designated by the Chief Justice. (f) Prosecutions for libel shall be had either in the county in which the publication was made or the county in which the libeled person resided at the time of the publication. (g) An accessory may be prosecuted as such either in the county in which the offense to which he or she is an accessory is triable or the county in which he or she became such accessory. (h) Any person who steals the property of another, outside this State, or receives such property knowing it to have been stolen, and brings it into this State, may be prosecuted in any county into or through which the stolen property is brought. (i) Prosecutions for acts of forgery, embezzlement, conversion or misappropriation may be had either in the county in which such offense was committed or in the county in which the offender last resided. (j) Prosecutions for desertion may be had either in the county in which the wife or any child resided at the time of the desertion or in the county in which the wife resides when the prosecution is begun. (k) The county of venue for purposes of trial of indictments returned by a State Grand Jury shall be designated by the Assignment Judge appointed to impanel and supervise the State Grand Jury or Grand Juries pursuant to R. 3:6-11(b).
3:14-2. Motion for Change of Venue or Foreign Jury
A motion for change of venue may be made only by a defendant. A motion for trial by a foreign jury may be made by any party. Such motions shall be made to the judge assigned to try the case or to the Assignment Judge of the county in which the indictment was found or the accusation filed on notice to the other party or parties on such proofs as the court directs and shall be granted if the court finds that a fair and impartial trial cannot otherwise be had.
3:14-3. Foreign Juries; Order and Selection
If a foreign jury is ordered, the order shall specify the number of jurors to be returned and a venire directed to the sheriff of the county from which such jury shall be taken, which shall be returnable to the court in the county in which the matter is to be tried. The jurors shall be selected in the same manner as the general panel of jurors is selected in the county from which they are taken.
3:14-4. Order for Change of Venue; Costs
If a change of venue is ordered, the criminal division manager's office in which the indictment or accusation is pending shall transmit to the criminal division manager's office to which the matter is transferred all papers filed therein or duplicates thereof, and the prosecution shall continue in that county. The costs of trial shall be certified to the Assignment Judge of the county in which the indictment was found or the accusation was filed.
RULE 3:15. JOINDER AND SEVERANCE 3:15-1. Trial of Indictments or Accusations Together
(a) Permissible Joinder. The court may order 2 or more indictments or accusations tried together if the offenses and the defendants, if there are 2 or more, could have been joined in a single indictment or accusation. The procedure shall be the same as if the prosecution were under such single indictment or accusation. (b) Mandatory Joinder. Except as provided by R. 3:15-2(b), a defendant shall not be subject to separate trials for multiple criminal offenses based on the same conduct or arising from the same episode, if such offenses are known to the appropriate prosecuting officer at the time of the commencement of the first trial and are within the jurisdiction and venue of a single court.
3:15-2. Relief From Prejudicial Joinder
(a) Motion by State Before Trial. If two or more defendants are to be jointly tried and the prosecuting attorney intends to introduce at trial a statement, confession or admission of one defendant involving any other defendant, the prosecuting attorney shall move before trial on notice to all defendants for a determination by the court as to whether such portion of the statement, confession, or admission involving such other defendant can be effectively deleted therefrom. The court shall direct the specific deletions to be made, or, if it finds that effective deletions cannot practically be made, it shall order separate trials of the defendants. Upon failure of the prosecuting attorney to so move before trial, the court may refuse to admit such statement, confession or admission into evidence at trial, or take such other action as the interest of justice requires. (b) Motion by Defendant and State. If for any other reason it appears that a defendant or the State is prejudiced by a permissible or mandatory joinder of offenses or of defendants in an indictment or accusation the court may order an election or separate trials of counts, grant a severance of defendants, or direct other appropriate relief. (c) Time. A motion for separate trial of counts of an indictment or accusation must be made pursuant to R. 3:10-2, unless the court, for good cause shown, enlarges the time.
3:15-3. Trial of Criminal Offenses and Lesser, Related Infractions
(a) Joinder of Criminal Offense and Lesser Related Infraction. (1) Except as provided in paragraph (b), the court shall join any pending non-indictable complaint for trial with a criminal offense based on the same conduct or arising from the same episode. (2) Regardless of whether a jury sits as the finder of facts with respect to the criminal offense, and unless the complaint charges a disorderly persons offense or a petty disorderly persons offense that must be submitted to the jury in accordance with the provisions of N.J.S.A. 2C:1-8(e), the Superior Court judge shall sit as a municipal court judge on the complaint and shall render the verdict with respect to the complaint on the proofs adduced in the course of trial. (3) If evidence is held to be admissible with respect to the trial of the complaint but inadmissible with respect to the trial of the criminal offense, the court shall hear that evidence outside of the jury's presence and may, in its discretion, postpone such hearing until the jury has retired to deliberate. The court shall not render its verdict on the complaint until the jury has rendered its verdict or until the jury has been dismissed. (b) Relief From Joinder. If for any reason it appears that a defendant or the State is prejudiced by the joinder required by paragraph (a), the court may decline to join or may grant other appropriate relief. A defendant's request to avoid joinder shall constitute a waiver of any claim against twice being placed in jeopardy that would not have arisen had the defendant's request been denied. (c) Consequence of Failure to Join. In no event shall failure to join as required in paragraph (a) be deemed to constitute grounds for barring a subsequent prosecution of the complaint except as required by statute or by the Federal or State Constitutions.
RULE 3:16. PRESENCE OF THE DEFENDANT
(a) Pretrial. The defendant must be present for every scheduled event unless excused by the court for good cause shown. (b) At Trial or Post-conviction Proceedings. The defendant shall be present at every stage of the trial, including the impaneling of the jury and the return of the verdict, and at the imposition of sentence, unless otherwise provided by Rule. Nothing in this Rule, however, shall prevent a defendant from waiving the right to be present at trial. A waiver may be found either from (a) the defendant's express written or oral waiver placed on the record, or (b) the defendant's conduct evidencing a knowing, voluntary, and unjustified absence after (1) the defendant has received actual notice in court or has signed a written acknowledgment of the trial date, or (2) trial has commenced in defendant's presence. A corporation shall appear by its attorney for all purposes. The defendant's presence is not required at a reduction of sentence under R. 3:21-10 or, except as provided in R. 3:22-10, at a hearing on a petition for post conviction relief.
RULE 3:18. MOTION FOR JUDGMENT OF ACQUITTAL 3:18-1. Motion Before Submission to Jury
At the close of the State's case or after the evidence of all parties has been closed, the court shall, on defendant's motion or its own initiative, order the entry of a judgment of acquittal of one or more offenses charged in the indictment or accusation if the evidence is insufficient to warrant a conviction. A defendant may offer evidence after denial of a motion for judgment of acquittal made at the close of the State's case without having reserved the right.
3:18-2. Motion After Discharge of Jury
If the jury returns a verdict of guilty or is discharged without having returned a verdict, a motion for judgment of acquittal may be made, even if not earlier made pursuant to R. 3:18-1 or it may be renewed within 10 days after the jury is discharged or within such further time as the court fixes during the 10-day period. The court on such motion may set aside a verdict of guilty and order the entry of a judgment of acquittal and may so order if no verdict has been returned.
RULE 3:19. VERDICT 3:19-1. Several Defendants or Counts; Written Verdict Sheets
(a) Several Defendants or Counts. If there are 2 or more counts of an indictment or 2 or more defendants tried together, the jury may return a verdict or verdicts with respect to a defendant or defendants as to whom it has agreed, specifying the counts on which it has agreed; the defendant or defendants may be tried again on the count or counts as to which it has not agreed. (b) Written Verdict Sheets. In the discretion of the court, a written verdict sheet may be submitted to the jury in conjunction with a general verdict to facilitate the determination of the grade of the offense under the Code of Criminal Justice or otherwise simplify the determination of a verdict when multiple charges are submitted to the jury. The verdict sheet shall be marked as a court exhibit and retained by the court pursuant to Rule 1:2-3.
3:19-2. Acquittal by Reason of Insanity
If a defendant interposes the defense of insanity and is acquitted after trial on that ground, the verdict and judgment shall so state. The procedure for disposition of the defendant shall be as provided by N.J.S.A. 2C:4-8 and 2C:4-9 and by R. 4:74-7, except that in the case of defendants acquitted of murder by reason of insanity all hearings pursuant to R. 4:74-7(e) shall be in open court unless good cause is shown for a hearing in camera.
RULE 3:20. NEW TRIAL 3:20-1. Trial by Court or Jury
The trial judge on defendant's motion may grant the defendant a new trial if required in the interest of justice. If trial was by the judge without a jury, the judge may, on defendant's motion for a new trial, vacate the judgment if entered, take additional testimony and direct the entry of a new judgment. The trial judge shall not, however, set aside the verdict of the jury as against the weight of the evidence unless, having given due regard to the opportunity of the jury to pass upon the credibility of the witnesses, it clearly and convincingly appears that there was a manifest denial of justice under the law.
3:20-2. Time for Making Motion
A motion for a new trial based on the ground of newly-discovered evidence may be made at any time, but if an appeal is pending, the court may grant the motion only on remand of the case. A motion for a new trial based on a claim that the defendant did not waive his or her appearance for trial shall be made prior to sentencing. A motion for a new trial based on any other ground shall be made within 10 days after the verdict or finding of guilty, or within such further time as the court fixes during the 10-day period.
If charged with any criminal offense, immediately schedule an appointment with a criminal trial attorney. Don't rely on a real estate attorney, public defender or a family member who simply attended law school. When your life and job is on the line, hire the best attorney available.
Kenneth Vercammen, Attorney at Law 2053 Woodbridge Ave. Edison, NJ 08817 (Phone) 732-572-0500 (Fax) 732-572-0030
TRIAL AND LITIGATION EXPERIENCE In his private practice, he has devoted a substantial portion of his professional time to the preparation and trial of litigated matters. He appears in Courts throughout New Jersey several times each week on many personal injury matters, Criminal and Municipal/ traffic Court trials, Probate hearings, and contested administrative law hearings.
Mr. Vercammen served as the Prosecutor for the Township of Cranbury, Middlesex County and was involved in trials on a weekly basis. He also argued all pre-trial motions and post-trial applications on behalf of the State of New Jersey.
He has also served as a Special Acting Prosecutor in Woodbridge, Perth Amboy, Hightstown, Carteret, East Brunswick, Jamesburg, South Brunswick, South River and South Plainfield for conflict cases. Since 1989, he has personally handled hundreds of criminal and motor vehicle matters as a Prosecutor and now as defense counsel and has had substantial success.
Previously, Mr. Vercammen was Public Defender for the Township of Edison and Borough of Metuchen and a Designated Counsel for the Middlesex County Public Defender's Office. He represented indigent individuals facing consequences of magnitude. He was in Court trying cases and making motions in difficult criminal and DWI matters. Every case he personally handled and prepared.
His resume sets forth the numerous bar associations and activities which demonstrate his commitment to the legal profession and providing quality representation to clients.
Since 1985, his primary concentration has been on litigation matters. Mr. Vercammen gained other legal experiences as the Confidential Law Clerk to the Court of Appeals of Maryland (Supreme Court) with the Delaware County, PA District Attorney Office handling Probable Cause Hearings, Middlesex County Probation Department as a Probation Officer, and an Executive Assistant to Scranton District Magistrate, Thomas Hart, in Scranton, PA.