July 28, 2020
ROBERT B. SPAWN reports on a recent case initiated in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.
On July 6, 2020, several major movie theater companies (the "Theaters"), which have been forced to cease business due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, filed suit against the State of New Jersey. In their Complaint, the Theaters allege that the State acted unconstitutionally and unlawfully in allowing certain places of public assembly to reopen while simultaneously requiring that movie theaters remain closed. The Theaters further allege that the continued government-mandated closure of their businesses is a violation of their First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and freedom of expression; a violation of the Equal Protection under the law; a violation of(...)
June 16, 2020
STELIOS STOUPAKIS reports on a recent unpublished decision from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, which reversed a Defendant's conviction because the trial court did not consider the prejudice to the Defendant caused by the destruction of evidence by the arresting police department.
The Appellate Division reasserted the fundamental principle that when evidence has been destroyed, the Court must determine whether the Defendant was prejudiced by the destruction of the evidence. If so, such prejudice outweighs the argument that the evidence had been destroyed "without bad faith."
Here the Defendant's wife telephonically obtained a Temporary Restraining Order ("TRO") pursuant to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act ("PDVA"), based on an alleged incident that(...)
June 11, 2020
RONALD J. HERMAN reports on a recent New Jersey Case, in which the Plaintiff-mother is currently serving a forty-year sentence for the 2010 murder of her two children's father. The children, who were seven years old at the time of the murder, heard gunshots in their house and entered their father's bedroom to see him dying.
Following the murder, the children were placed with the Defendant, the children's paternal grandmother. A trial ensued regarding the custody of the children. During the proceedings, the court ordered an evaluation of the children by a psychologist who was jointly selected by the parties. At the evaluation, the children expressed no desire to see their mother. Furthermore, the children had been undergoing therapy for the trauma they incurred from the murder.(...)
April 16, 2020
Barry Kozyra and Michael Rankin report that New Jersey has now legalized Virtual Notarization of certain legal documents during the public health emergency under the Governor's Executive Order 103.
The law allows for remote signatures to be applied and notarized as to Wills, Codicils, Deeds, Mortgages and other legal instruments. There are strict legal requirements to be followed as to preserving a record of the signing of the document and preparation of the documents.
Mr. Kozyra said, "This is welcome relief for our many clients who need to proceed with important legal affairs during this unprecedented crisis and cannot travel to or meet with counsel or others. It does so with safeguards to prevent fraud or other mischief in the execution of personal and business documents."
March 30, 2020
Kozyra & Hartz, LLC, congratulates its associates, Margarita Romanova and Robert Spawn, for their hard work in co-coordinating this year's Essex County Bar Association High School Mock Trial Competition, which took place at the Essex County Veterans Courthouse in Newark. After seventeen high schools went head-to-head throughout the month of January 2020, the competition concluded with Montclair High School defeating Montclair Kimberley Academy in the finals.
Ms. Romanova and Mr. Spawn would like to thank all of the attorneys who volunteered their time to serve as judges for the competition, as well as all of the teacher-coaches and administrators who ensured that the event ran smoothly.
And, most importantly, congratulations to all of the participating students, whose hard(...)