State v. Little

The New Jersey Supreme Court vacated the defendant’s convictions for aggravated assault and weapons offenses because the trial court’s voir dire of potential jurors deprived him of a fair trial. The State alleged that the defendant committed the crime with a gun, but a weapon was never recovered. Over a defense objection, during voir dire, the trial court posed to the potential jurors: “The law does not require that the State recover a gun, even though the defendant has been charged with weapons-related offenses. If the State does not produce the physical firearm allegedly used in this case will this affect your ability as a juror?” The Supreme Court held that the question improperly suggested that jurors should not consider the absence of a handgun as a factor when they evaluated the State’s evidence.

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