Author Archives: Joe Lombardo

Can Police Search Your Phone without a Warrant?

Cell phones help to make modern life possible, but they can also make our private details public.  In addition to the slew of security breaches and malicious hacks that seem to plague smart phone users, there’s another way phones can expose your personal information, too: police searches. Everyone knows that police need a warrant to search through your home — but what about your text messages, photos, phone calls, and internet searches?  Does your digital information enjoy the same Constitutional protections as your physical possessions?  It’s an issue that’s stirring up controversy right here in New Jersey, with one drug distribution case in Monmouth County shining new light on a legal precedent which has stood for decades.

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Are You Eligible for New Jersey’s Pretrial Intervention Program?

You’ve been charged with a serious crime like drug possession, and now you’re looking at enormous fines, years in prison, and worst of all, a criminal record that will follow you around for a lifetime.  But what if there a was a way to avoid all that?  Wouldn’t you be interested?  If you’re facing criminal charges in New Jersey, there’s good news: if you’re able to meet certain conditions, you might be eligible to participate in something called the Pretrial Intervention Program.  How do you benefit from the program, and what are the requirements for participating?  Could you be a candidate?  Read on to find out.

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NJ Man Flees Accident Scene to Avoid Angry Girlfriend, But Can’t Avoid Criminal Charges

There’s no doubt that car accidents are stressful and scary experiences for everyone involved. Nonetheless, it’s extremely important that you never leave the scene before you have a chance to speak with police — or else you may find yourself charged with a crime.  It’s a lesson one New Jersey man learned the hard way this weekend, after fleeing the scene of an accident to escape his angry girlfriend.

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Holiday Weekend Brings Rash of Deadly Shootings to Newark

The holidays are meant to embody the spirit of family, brotherhood, and peace.  Sadly, the recent holiday break brought just the opposite to Newark, with police reporting nearly a dozen shootings over the post-Thanksgiving weekend.  In response to the numerous deaths, injuries, and weapons crimes, Mayor Ras Baraka has declared a “state of emergency,” and is expanding police patrols throughout the city, including longer shifts and the creation of a new precinct.

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Walmart Denies Stalling Accusations in Tracy Morgan Trucking Accident Lawsuit

The commercial trucking accident that caused  comedian Tracy Morgan to suffer a severe traumatic brain injury has received an extensive amount of coverage in the press and mass media.  In recent weeks, Mr. Morgan’s lawyers have informed the public that neither they nor doctors know if Mr. Morgan will ever be able to make a full recovery or resume his career. While this new is certainly tragic, it is perhaps not entirely unexpected considering that the severity of the June 2014 accident had already taken the life of comedian James “Jimmy Mack” McNair.

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Unlawfully Seized Criminal Evidence Can Be Excluded in State Courts Because of the Mapp v. Ohio Supreme Court Decision

In light of the recent reports of the passing of Dollree Mapp on November 4, 2014, many in the legal community have taken a moment to reflect back on the seminal US Supreme Court case in that Ms. Mapp was involved. Absent the case of Mapp v. Ohio, the handling of unlawfully seized evidence in state courts would be quite different today. However to understand as to why the Mapp case was a seminal moment in American criminal law, we must first discuss the state of the law in 1961, prior to the Supreme Court Decision in Mapp that extended protections to apply against the states.

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NJ Sports Betting Update: Judge Issues Temporary Restraining Order

As we wrote about, earlier this fall the Christie administration directed New Jersey law enforcement to stop prosecuting casinos and racing tracks for offering sports betting to patrons.  At the time, the administration said it wasn’t technically authorizing such betting, but merely repealing the state’s former ban. Some praised Governor Christie’s move as a bold bid to save a declining casino industry, while others scoffed at what they interpreted as blatant disregard for federal law.  In either case, it was a surprising move which led many to predict further legal controversy in the days to come — and now, those predictions have proven correct.  U.S. District Court Judge Michael Shipp has issued a temporary restraining order at the request of the N.C.A.A. and the major professional sports leagues, which are gearing up to seek a permanent ban once and for all.

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Is it Time to Ban New Jersey’s Red Light Cameras?

This isn’t the first time we’ve written about New Jersey’s ongoing red light camera fiasco. Between the felony bribery charges leveled at Redflex upper management in Chicago, a fired whistleblower’s allegations that Redflex bribed officials in no fewer than 13 states (including, you guessed it, New Jersey), and the dismissal of a whopping 17,000 traffic tickets from American Traffic Solutions, the cameras are somewhat less than popular.  Their poor reputation doesn’t look like it will improve anytime soon, since even more evidence against the cameras has recently come to light.

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MA, MO Ban Defective Guardrails Linked to Fatal Accidents

Massachusetts and Missouri have placed temporary bans on highway guardrails manufactured by Trinity Industries.  State Highway officials say the guardrails, which have been linked to deaths and amputation injuries, have a defective design which allows them to puncture cars and their occupants like “spears.”  Now at the center of multiple product suspensions and personal injury lawsuits, Trinity maintains that its guardrails are perfectly safe and meet all federal guidelines.

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Increased Court Fees Coming to New Jersey November 17, 2014

If you have a New Jersey court date scheduled for November 17, 2014 or later, get your wallet ready. On the heels of Senate Bill 946, a slew of new and increased fees are coming to the state judiciary this winter.  The state court system has proposed raising 65 existing fees and creating an additional 17 new ones in hopes of raising an estimated $42 to $49.9 million in revenue.  The increases are broad in scope, and affect everything from filing for divorce to getting a gun permit.  Will you be affected?

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