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STELIOS STOUPAKIS reports on a recent unpublished decision from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, which reversed a Defendant's conviction because the trial court did not consider the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 10, 2020
COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) has now been identified as being present in the United States.
Everyone should be aware of what you can do now to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The following are recommended steps from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) :
(1) Wash your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. Do this often.
(2) Do not touch your face, nose, hands or mouth, as that will spread the virus.
(3) Use your folded arm or a tissue if you cough or sneeze and discard the tissue immediately afterward.
(4) Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Stay home when you are sick.
(5) Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
For current information on COVID-19, as well as signs and symptoms,(...)
February 4, 2020
On January 13, 2020, Michael J. Rankin was sworn in as the Planning Board Attorney for the Township of West Caldwell for the 2020 term. Mr. Rankin's practice includes, amongst other things, all aspects of real estate law including, but not limited to, real estate litigation, commercial and residential transactions and land use.