The Court reverses the Appellate Division’s judgment because it conflicts with Lehmann v. Toys ‘R’ Us, Inc., 132 N.J. 587 (1993), and L.W. v. Toms River Regional Schools Board of Education, 189 N.J. 381 (2007). Under Lehmann, sexual touching of areas of the body linked to sexuality happens, by definition, because of sex. The Court affirms the denial of plaintiffs’ motions to amend their complaint and to obtain certain records.
In a criminal jury trial, there is a presumption that foreign language interpretation services will be provided in person, which is consistent with the New Jersey Judiciary’s longstanding practice. The Court sets forth guidelines and factors to assist trial courts in deciding whether VRI should be used during criminal jury trials, and it remands the matter for the trial court to reconsider whether VRI is appropriate in the current case after assessing those factors.
The “religious tenets” exception of N.J.S.A. 10:5-12(a) -- “it shall not be an unlawful employment practice” for a religious entity to follow the tenets of its faith “in establishing and utilizing criteria for employment” -- is an affirmative defense available to a religious entity when confronted with a claim of employment discrimination. Here, it is uncontroverted that St. Theresa’s followed the religious tenets of the Catholic Church in terminating Crisitello. St. Theresa’s was therefore entitled to summary judgment and the dismissal of the complaint with prejudice.
The definition of “medical facility” under N.J.S.A. 59:6-1 does not restrict the substantive immunities granted in N.J.S.A. 59:6-4, -5, or -6, which are also not “superseded in the jail suicide context.” However, there was evidence presented in this case, both at the summary judgment stage and at trial, that falls outside of any immunities granted by N.J.S.A. 59:6-4, -5, and -6. The jury could reasonably have concluded from that evidence that the County defendants were negligent. The trial court was therefore correct to refuse to dismiss plaintiff’s negligence count at the summary judgment stage and to refuse to overturn the jury’s verdict after trial. The Court accordingly affirms the judgment of the Appellate Division, as modified.
The trial court did not abuse its discretion in finding manifest necessity justified a mistrial here. As the Appellate Division held, the State can present the counts of aggravated manslaughter and death by auto to a new grand jury based solely on the reckless driving evidence, without any evidence on intoxication.
A movant need not present evidence on all of the cohabitation factors set forth in Konzelman v. Konzelman, 158 N.J. 185, 202 (1999) -- or in N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(n), for cases in which the PSA was executed after the statute’s enactment -- to make a prima facie showing. If the movant’s certification addresses some of the relevant factors and is supported by competent evidence, and if that evidence would warrant a finding of cohabitation if unrebutted, the trial court should find that the movant has presented prima facie evidence of cohabitation and should grant limited discovery tailored to the issues contested in the motion, subject to any protective order necessary to safeguard confidential information. Here, defendant presented prima facie evidence as to several of the Konzelman cohabitation factors, and that evidence, if unrebutted, would warrant a finding of cohabitation. Defendant was therefore entitled to limited discovery.
The bribery statute applies to any “person” who accepts an improper benefit -- incumbents, candidates who win, and candidates who lose. N.J.S.A. 2C:27-2. The statute also expressly states that it is no defense to a prosecution if a person “was not qualified to act.” Ibid. So even if a candidate is unable to follow through on a corrupt promise, the language of the bribery statute makes it a crime to accept cash payments for a promise of future performance. The bribery statute’s history, relevant caselaw, and commentary from the Model Penal Code, on which the statute is modeled, confirm that the law extends to candidates.
The Parole Board cannot mandate participation in an RTP for inmates administratively paroled under the EYWO Act. Although N.J.S.A. 30:4-123.59 generally authorizes the Parole Board to impose parole conditions on adult inmates who have been administratively released under the EYWO Act, an RTP is not among the conditions that can be imposed in that setting.
The Court disagrees with the Appellate Division’s conclusion that the trial court should have excluded all the detective’s narration of the surveillance video. The trial court properly permitted the detective to testify about the manner in which he used the surveillance video to guide his investigation. Applying principles stated today in State v. Watson, _ N.J. _ (2023) (slip op. at 46-60), the detective’s testimony opining that the video showed defendant turning and firing his weapon should have been excluded from evidence. However, that error was harmless given the strength of the State’s evidence.
The trial court erred in admitting both the testimony placing defendant’s phone at or near the crime scene and the first-time in-court identification. Those errors, in combination, deprived defendant of a fair trial.
(1) Based on the identification evidence alone, defendant’s conviction cannot stand. The inherently suggestive nature of first-time in-court identifications, conducted in front of a jury, risks depriving defendants of their due process rights. The Court holds that first-time in-court identifications may only be conducted when there is good reason for them and sets forth certain practices that must be observed in connection with in-court identifications. (2) The narration evidence in this case also ran afoul of the evidence rules, which do not allow for continuous, running commentary on video evidence by someone who has merely studied a recording. The Court identifies certain safeguards to underscore the limited use of narration evidence and adds that a party intending to present narration evidence should provide opposing counsel with a written summary of the proposed testimony before trial. (3) Confrontation Clause challenges are fact-specific. The testimony here about consultation with other law enforcement agencies violated defendant’s right to confrontation, and the Court provides guidance for remand.
510(k) evidence is generally inadmissible because the 510(k) clearance process solely determines substantial equivalency, and not safety and efficacy. However, in a products liability claim premised not only on principles of negligence, but particularly on the reasonableness of a manufacturer’s conduct in not performing clinical trials or studies, evidence of 510(k) clearance has significant probative value under N.J.R.E. 401 that is not substantially outweighed by the risk of prejudice and potential juror confusion under N.J.R.E. 403. Therefore, under the specific facts and circumstances of this case, the Court affirms the judgment of the Appellate Division. However, the Court parts ways with the Appellate Division’s decision as to its suggestion that the scope and admissibility of 510(k) evidence should be determined in a Rule 104 hearing. Instead, the scope and admissibility of 510(k) evidence should be resolved at the hearing on a motion in limine, which is how the issue was and, presumably, will be raised. Section 5 of the PLA does not bar plaintiffs’ recovery of punitive damages, and because evidence of 510(k) clearance should have been admitted in the first stage of trial as relevant to the reasonableness of Bard’s conduct in not performing clinical trials or studies, it would also be admissible in the second, punitive damages stage.
The trial court did not violate defendant’s speedy trial rights under the IAD, and it properly denied defendant’s motion to dismiss his indictment. The Court does not agree with the Appellate Division that defense counsel waived defendant’s rights under the IAD. But the Court affirms the Appellate Division’s other determinations -- that the IAD’s 180-day time period was tolled during the pendency of defendant’s pretrial motions and that defendant was “brought to trial” when jury selection began prior to the deadline.
Based on the language and structure of the relevant statutes, the State’s request for information from users’ accounts invokes heightened privacy protections. The nearly contemporaneous acquisition of electronic communications here is the functional equivalent of wiretap surveillance and is therefore entitled to greater constitutional protection. New Jersey’s wiretap act applies in this case to safeguard individual privacy rights under the relevant statutes and the State Constitution.
Expanding the search to the engine compartment and trunk went beyond the scope of the automobile exception. Although the trooper smelled marijuana in the passenger compartment of the car, his initial search yielded no results and provided no justification “to extend the zone of the . . . search further than the persons of the occupants or the interior of the car.” State v. Patino, 83 N.J. 1, 14-15 (1980). As a result, the seized evidence should be suppressed.
Defendant voluntarily went to the police station to give a witness statement. At the police station, defendant was interviewed twice. During his first interview, defendant was not in custody and thus not yet owed Miranda warnings. The factors set forth in O’Neill therefore do not need to be considered to assess the admissibility of the second interview. And before police interviewed defendant the second time, they properly administered Miranda warnings. With his rights in mind, defendant executed a knowing, intelligent, and voluntary waiver. During his second interview, defendant confessed. Neither the Fifth Amendment nor state common law calls for suppression of defendant’s statements.
The Court affirms as modified the Appellate Division’s judgment. The Court declines to adopt an exception to the American Rule for common law right of access claims to public records. Those claims impose significant burdens on municipal clerks and other records custodians; they require a careful balancing of competing interests and the application of an array of factors that can challenge even a seasoned judge. Imposing fee-shifting in this category of cases would venture far beyond the narrow exceptions to the American Rule that New Jersey courts have adopted to date. Accordingly, Gannett is not entitled to an award of attorneys’ fees in this appeal.
The Court affirms the Appellate Division’s core holding that trial courts determine on a case-by-case basis what conditions, if any, to place on a DME -- including who may attend and whether it may be recorded -- with no absolute prohibitions or entitlements. The Court further affirms that video recording, in addition to audio recording, should be included in the range of options; that the parties shall enter into a protective order when a defense expert is concerned about the disclosure of proprietary information; that when third-party observation is permitted, the trial court shall impose reasonable conditions to prevent any disruption of or interference with the exam; and that, if a foreign or sign language interpreter is needed, a neutral interpreter shall be selected by the parties or, failing agreement, by the court.
Parsells did not knowingly waive her tenured right to a full-time teaching position, and the Court therefore affirms the Appellate Division’s decision upholding the Commissioner’s award of “full back pay, benefits, and emoluments, less mitigation.” But the Court rejects the extension of Bridgewater-Raritan to impose a duty on school boards to notify, in advance, full-time teachers who consider voluntarily transferring to part-time teaching positions that they may not have a right to return to their full-time position.
Judges are encouraged, when practical, to respond “yes” or “no” to unambiguous and specific questions posed by juries during deliberations rather than solely re-read sections of the final jury charge. In general, when a specific request for clarification clearly calls for and is capable of a “yes” or “no” answer, like here, then judges should respond accordingly. Here, the answer to the jury’s question is indisputably “yes,” one can be a “supervisor” but not hold a “high-level” position in a drug trafficking network. Instead of responding “yes” to the question, however, the judge re-read the entire model kingpin charge; opined that those elements, three and four, sounded similar; and may have implicitly suggested that being a “supervisor” is sufficient to establish that a defendant held a “high-level” position within such an organization. The response to the question was an error clearly capable of producing an unjust result.