Table of Contents

Table of Contents

New Jersey Juvenile Rights Are Sacred

New Jersey Supreme Court issues "appropriate Procedure" in Juvenile Cases

New Jersey juvenile rights are much better than the protections offered by the Federal Constitution.

The law in NJ states: “wherever possible … no child should be interviewed except in the presence of his parents or guardian”.

More specifically, “the product of interrogation of a juvenile under 14 is not admissible in the absence of a parent or legal guardian “unless the adult was unwilling to be present or truly unavailable.” State v Presha, 163 NJ 304,  2000.

What was decided?

In a recent decision NJ juvenile rights have received more clarity and more protections.

In State in the Interest of A.A.  the New Jersey Supreme Court issued a policy for how police handle juvenile interrogations.

Specifically, the Court wrote: ““The police should advise juveniles in custody of their Miranda rights—in the presence of a parent or legal guardian—before the police question, or a parent speaks with, the juvenile. Officers should then give parents or guardians a meaningful opportunity to consult with the juvenile in private about those rights… That approach would enable parents to help children understand their rights and decide whether to waive them… If law enforcement officers do not allow a parent and juvenile to consult in private, absent a compelling reason, that fact should weigh heavily in the totality of the circumstances to determine whether the juvenile’s waiver and statements were voluntary.””

The Court has taken bold steps in making certain that NJ juvenile rights are clear to law enforcement.

 

Facts of the case

A.A. was 15 years old when the police detained him on murder charges.

His mother went to visit him in the police station holding cell. The only thing she was told was that her son “shot someone.”

Five police officers were in the room within 10 to 15 feet of A.A. and his mother while the two spoke.

A detective testified that he overheard the conversation and that the mother began to cry and left the room.

A.A. never received his Miranda.

The Family Part judge admitted the statements upon finding there was no “police interrogation or its functional equivalent,” and therefore no Miranda warnings were required.

In concluding that the juvenile’s statements were both inadmissible and were not harmless at the juvenile’s hearing, the Supreme Court repeated prior holdings that interrogation includes not only direct questioning but also “any words or actions on the part of the police … that the police should know are reasonably likely to elicit an incriminating response,” and in the case of a juvenile, that an admission “must be voluntary, in the sense not only that it was not coerced or suggested, but also that it was not the product of ignorance of rights or of adolescent fantasy, fright or despair.”

New Jersey Supreme Court's Conclusion

In closing, the New Jersey Supreme Court wrote: “We can envision nothing more appropriate or fair in the administration of juvenile justice. Independent of the right to counsel, a juvenile is entitled to meaningful support and assistance from a caring parent or guardian before saying anything to a police officer, as well as anything that can be heard or overheard, while in custody.”

important tip: Be Patient! You will Get Your Day in Court

The best NJ Juvenile Rights lawyer will tell you that when you talk to a police officer, everything you say can & will be used against you.
Do not try to explain your story to a police officer. There is always time for that.
If you make a mistake while you are telling your story to a police officer, this becomes evidence against you.

More Practice Areas

About the Author

Attorney At Law

Mr. Peyrouton is a Criminal Defense Attorney located in Hackensack, NJ.

His articles in the areas of Criminal Law have been published in The New Jersey Law Journal.

He is a distinguished author, trial attorney, and has had the privilege of arguing before the New Jersey Supreme Court.

Prior to becoming an attorney, Mr. Peyrouton was a world-class, competitive tennis player.

He is perfectly fluent in Spanish.

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About the Author

Attorney At Law

Mr. Peyrouton is a Criminal Defense Attorney located in Hackensak, NJ.

His articles in the areas of Criminal Law have been published in The New Jersey Law Journal.

He is a distinguished author, trial attorney, and has had the privilege of arguing before the New Jersey Supreme Court.

Prior to becoming an attorney, Mr. Peyrouton was a world-class, competitive tennis player.

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NJSA - 2C:43-7.2.
Eligibility for parole;
persons convicted of certain violent crimes

a. A court imposing a sentence of incarceration for a crime of the first or second degree enumerated in subsection d. of this section shall fix a minimum term of 85% of the sentence imposed, during which the defendant shall not be eligible for parole.


b. The minimum term required by subsection a. of this section shall be fixed as a part of every sentence of incarceration imposed upon every conviction of a crime enumerated in subsection d. of this section, whether the sentence of incarceration is determined pursuant to N.J.S.2C:43-6, N.J.S.2C:43-7, N.J.S.2C:11-3 or any other provision of law, and shall be calculated based upon the sentence of incarceration actually imposed. The provisions of subsection a. of this section shall not be construed or applied to reduce the time that must be served before eligibility for parole by an inmate sentenced to a mandatory minimum period of incarceration. Solely for the purpose of calculating the minimum term of parole ineligibility pursuant to subsection a. of this section, a sentence of life imprisonment shall be deemed to be 75 years.


c. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary and in addition to any other sentence imposed, a court imposing a minimum period of parole ineligibility of 85 percent of the sentence pursuant to this section shall also impose a five-year term of parole supervision if the defendant is being sentenced for a crime of the first degree, or a three-year term of parole supervision if the defendant is being sentenced for a crime of the second degree. The term of parole supervision shall commence upon the completion of the sentence of incarceration imposed by the court pursuant to subsection a. of this section unless the defendant is serving a sentence of incarceration for another crime at the time he completes the sentence of incarceration imposed pursuant to subsection a., in which case the term of parole supervision shall commence immediately upon the defendant’s release from incarceration. During the term of parole supervision the defendant shall remain in release status in the community in the legal custody of the Commissioner of the Department of Corrections and shall be supervised by the State Parole Board as if on parole and shall be subject to the provisions and conditions

Felony Degree

Prison & Fines

Examples

First-Degree

1st-degree felony charges in NJ are reserved for the most serious criminal offenses.

Second-Degree

2nd-degree felony charges carry 5-10 yrs in prison.
These charges can often be “downgraded” to 3rd or 4th-degree crimes.

Third-Degree

3rd-degree felony charges carry 3-5 years.
You have a good shot at PTI if you are charged with 3rd-degree.

Fourth-Degree

4th-degree felony charges carry up to 18 months in jail. But if you have a really good lawyer, he may be able to your case “remanded” to a lower court. In this way, you will be out of “felony” danger.