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State v. Szemple

New Jersey Supreme Court

June 23, 2021

In 1991, the defendant was convicted of a murder that occurred in 1975. A major piece of the prosecution’s case was a letter produced by the defendant’s father-in-law that purported to be from the defendant to his wife in which he made an inculpatory statement. Decades later, on collateral attack, the defendant moved to compel the State to produce any statements or reports memorializing interviews with his wife following her father’s production of the letter. In doing so, the defendant claimed the discovery sought might support a motion for a new trial. The New Jersey Supreme Court agreed with the trial court that the defendant’s new trial motion required a showing of reasonable diligence. The defendant could not make that showing because he waited too long to make the request.

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