Tag Archives: NJ

NFL May Have Violated the NJ Consumer Fraud Act

case involving a fan who claims he was overcharged for tickets to the Seahawks-Broncos game is headed to the NJ Supreme Court. He paid $2000 each for two tickets worth no more than $800.

NJ law protects plaintiff and consumers like him against inflated prices by requiring at least 95% of the tickets to be sold to the general public. According to plaintiff, the NFL only sold 1% in a nationwide lottery.

Plaintiff expects the class action will result in the NFL paying millions to those fans who paid more than the face value of their tickets.

Entrepreneurial Young People Can Now Snow Shovel Without a Permit in NJ

Snow shoveling always has been a means for young people to learn how to run a business. They learn how to advertise, interact with customers, work for a competitive wage, and learn something about service to the community. All businesses are at the service of others; and, snow shoveling, like delivering newspapers, or running a lemonade stand, give young people a way of learning responsibility.

Governor Christie just signed into law (before a major snowstorm) making it legal for residents to offer snow shoveling services without first applying for a permit. Last year, Bound Brook, New Jersey police stopped two entrepreneurial teens for going door-to-door and offering to shovel snow for a small fee. The police told the boys they were not allowed to solicit businesses without a permit. In Bound Brook, the license costs $450. The case made national headlines.

Republican State Sen. Mike Doherty sponsored the “‘right-to-shovel'” bill, stating it “was incredible that some towns wanted teens to pay expensive licensing fees just to clear snow off driveways.”

“The bill removes only licensing requirements for snow shoveling services, and only applies to solicitations made within 24 hours before a predicted snow storm. Towns with laws prohibiting door-to-door solicitation will be able to enforce those laws in all other circumstances.”

Real Housewives of New Jersey’ Stars Joe and Teresa Giudice Sentenced to Prison

Posted by Daniella Bucci.

The Real Housewives of NJ stars and Montville residents Joe and Teresa Giudice were each sentenced in Newark federal court to 41 months and 15 months in prison, respectively. The couple pleaded guilty in March to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and three types of bankruptcy fraud. The conspiracy consisted of both Joe and Teresa agreeing to commit the fraud. This white collar offense is inchoate, that is, was complete when the agreement was made. The bankruptcy fraud consisted of the couple failing to disclose assets and used bankruptcy as a screen to get out of the debt they were buried in. It is not surprising that the couple, who each grew up in modest homes,  landed in debt, as we were all exposed to their lavish lifestyle on Bravo TV where they tried to keep up with the Joneses.

The Giudice’s also admitted that they hid assets from bankruptcy creditors and submitted phony loan applications to get some $5 million in mortgages and construction loans. The couple had applied for these loans for over 7 or 8 years, resulting in the banks suffering major losses, one of which faced a $414,000 loss. On top of that, Joe Guidice also pleaded guilty to failing to file a tax return for 2004, and admitted that he didn’t file taxes on income of approximately $1 million between 2004 and 2008. Last but not least, the couple that once believed they were invincible failed to reveal $75,000 worth of assets on a probation form. Teresa, currently serving her time in Danbury Federal Prison in Connecticut, is set to be released on December 23rd of this year. Joe will be sentenced to his 41-month sentence in March.

Daniella is a graduate student in accounting at the Feliciano School of Business, Montclair State University.

Fighting a DUI in New Jersey–A Review of Criminal Procedure

In a recent NJ.com article, expert lawyers in DUI laws revealed how they attack drunk driving charges.  Normally, defense lawyers rely on plea bargaining when a client is charged with a crime. Plea bargaining involves an agreement between a prosecutor and defendant where the defendant will plead to a lesser charge in return for dismissal of other charges or to the original charge in lieu of a lighter sentence. Sometimes it may involve a quid pro quo to the prosecutor for information leading to other crimes. But New Jersey does not allow plea bargaining in DUI cases. As a result, defense lawyers have no choice except to work to dismiss the DUI case entirely or prove the evidence results in a downgrade to a lesser charge.

According to the article, oftentimes, defense lawyers will find a technicality. For example, lawyers will challenge a blood draw (which now under both state and federal law must be preceded by a warrant) by demanding an explanation as to how it was performed. The results can be suppressed if the draw was not done by a physician or nurse, or the area was cleaned with alcohol instead of iodine. Some of the sample must be made available to the defense to conduct their own independent tests; failure to do so may result in suppression.

Blood results corroborated by field sobriety tests is stronger evidence of DUI; however, in cases involving injuries to a driver, field tests are foreclosed, leaving only the blood tests. If challenged, again, the case can be dismissed. Issues can arise from the accident scene itself, which can also result in a dismissal. As stated, warrants are necessary in order to perform a blood draw. According to William Proetta of Edison, a defense lawyer that was interviewed, “[I]f a person doesn’t consent or is unconscious, you need to call in a telephonic warrant. If emergency workers are asking the driver questions, without having Mirandized him, an attorney would argue those statements can’t be used against him.” Telephonic warrants are faster to obtain and are encouraged by the courts.

Breath tests using an Alcotest have a different set of procedures–all of which can be challenged in a suppression motion. Repair and calibration records may be subpoenaed, and failure by the State to do so may result in a dismissal. Officers conducting the test must get two successful readings and change the mouth pieces between each reading. The person must be observed for 20 uninterrupted minutes and cannot regurgitate or vomit, as this will produce a false reading. No cell phones or electronic devices can be present in the room.

Lawyers say there are many other ways to challenge the results. They recommend that people pulled over for a DUI not refuse the test, because refusal is a separate charge. The challenge becomes a little trickier in that they have to show the officer read the driver “the wrong statement” when asking if they will take the test. Also, the driver has to clearly say “No.” not once, but twice, to be considered refusal and ambiguous answers, such as, “‘I don’t know.'” or “‘I want a lawyer.'” are not enough.

Defense lawyers will employ experts, often former police officers who are trained in the Alcotest, to testify as to what the officers should have done. Also, discovery challenges are commonplace. If the prosecutor fails to produce discovery within 30 days, that can result in a dismissal. Dashcam video must produced as well; but that can be a double-edged sword. It can be used to impeach an officer’s testimony, or in the alternative, prove that the defendant in fact could not stand or was slurring his or her words.

A DUI can be proven by an officer’s observations as well, without the aid of other evidence. According to Ernesto Cerimele, a DUI defense lawyer in Newark,

If the officer’s report says the driver reeked of alcohol and admitted to drinking several beers, that still counts . . . . Even if the blood or Alcotest evidence is thrown out, if the officer’s observations of the driver and the ‘totality of the circumstances’ point to a driver being intoxicated, he can still be found guilty. The harder cases to defend against are frequently those where the officer fully documents everything he heard and observed in his police report.

Finally, the case can be dismissed if a trial is delayed beyond 60 days, pursuant to New Jersey Administrative Office of the Courts’ guidelines. Based on hardship, inequity and the right under the Sixth Amendment to a speedy trial, a defense lawyer can move for dismissal if the prosecution does not have his or her case ready in time. In one case cited by the article, a prosecutor was given an extra 30 days to produce discovery and failed. That resulted in an immediate dismissal by the judge.



Tesla Can Sell Directly to Consumers in NJ

It is now legal for Tesla and other manufacturers of zero-emission cars to sell directly to customers in New Jersey. Tesla’s business model includes selling its battery-driven cars from its boutique stores. One of them is located in Short Hills Mall, Short Hills, NJ.

Customers are free to learn about the vehicles through interactive displays and test drives. Tesla does not want to sell its cars through franchises because they sell mostly gas-powered vehicles. Since most of their revenue comes from gas-powered sales, franchises would not be encouraged to sell zero-emission cars.