State v. Lopez-Carrera

In State v. Lopez-Carerra, the New Jersey Supreme Court granted leave to appeal from the Appellate Division’s ruling in State v. Molchor, 464 N.J. Super. 274 (App. Div. 2020). In Molchor, the Appellate Division held that the Criminal Justice Reform Act, N.J.S.A. 2A:162-15 to -26, does not permit a judge presiding over a detention hearing from ordering detention simply to thwart an undocumented-immigrant defendant from being removed by federal authorities. The Supreme Court affirmed the Appellate Division. In doing so, the Court stressed that “appearance” involves action and is best considered in the context of the defendant’s voluntary act of showing up. Since the act addresses a defendant’s own choices, an unrelated agency’s decisions should not play into a detention judge’s analysis.

Molchor