State v. Amer

The defendant appealed to the New Jersey Appellate Division from his convictions based on a string of “smash and grab” burglaries. Before trial, he was held pursuant to the Interstate Agreement on Detainers (IAD) because he was serving a sentence in Pennsylvania. Under the IAD, New Jersey had 180 days to bring him to trial. Those time constraints proved challenging to meet. The trial court ordered an expedited motions schedule, which resulted in sloppy briefing and rushed hearings. An exasperated trial court denied the defendant’s motion to suppress physical evidence and his post-arrest statements. The court then began jury selection. But when the jury was selected, the court continued the trial for six weeks. The defendant was convicted after the long layoff. The Appellate Division upheld the lower court’s pre-trial determinations but vacated the sentence. The Court held that the defendant was rightly deemed ineligible for drug court because he was serving a sentence in Pennsylvania. The Court remanded for the lower court to provide a statement explaining the overall fairness of the sentence imposed, pursuant to¬†State v. Torres.

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