State v. Marolda

The New Jersey Appellate Division dealt with a Post Conviction Relief petition in a very Jersey saga: The defendant had a gambling problem and opened up a series of fake accounts to circumvent the betting limits imposed by “Elvis”, his bookmaker. And it got worse from there. Not only did the defendant get indicted for promoting gambling, but his wife was indicted, too. At the same time, the prosecutor brought a civil forfeiture action for $3 million seized from the defendant. The defendant pled guilty, and as part of his plea, he agreed to the forfeiture. He received probation, and the charges were dropped against his wife. He filed an untimely PCR petition 13 years after his conviction, claiming that the court should relax the time restrictions. The trial court denied a hearing and dismissed the petition without relief. The Appellate Division affirmed. The defendant sought to undo his plea by asserting his actual innocence, but neither court was persuaded, noting that he had ample opportunity to file the petition years ago. The Court also ruled that any attack on the civil forfeiture should be made under Rule 4:50-1 in the Civil Part, not in a PCR in criminal court.

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