Defending yourself in all stages of the process. Meg McCormick Hoerner is a former New Jersey prosecutor, and current criminal defense lawyer.
Recent NJ Supreme Court Cases with Jeff Horn
In this (long-awaited) episode we have audio of a recent conversation with Jeff Horn of the Bold Sidebar Podcast. Jeff is a family law attorney.
You can follow Jeff's podcast, The Bold Sidebar, on all the major podcast players. Simply query "bold sidebar podcast".
Follow Meg: http://HoernerLaw.com
p1 - What is Qualified Immunity? Can Police be Charged Criminally?
MEG'S EPISODE NOTES:
Monday 6/15/2020 – US Supreme Court declined to hear 8 cases involving qualified immunity - – 7 of which involved police accused of excessive force / misconduct – 6 of the 7 involved plaintiff’s suing police and lower courts protected officers by saying qualified immunity applied 2 ways a case gets to the US Supreme Court
1. Original Jurisdiction – cases between two states / cases involving ambassadors / public ministers
2. Appellate Jurisdiction – cases on appeal from lower courts
a. Litigants ask them – file a writ of certiorari (ser shee or rare ee) “grant cert”
b. 4 of the 9 justices must vote to hear it
c. Only agrees to hear 100-150 of the more than 7000 cases it is asked to review each year
Court basically said we won’t even hear this case. We won’t even consider it.
Justice Clarence Thomas disagreed – wrote a 6 page dissent in one of the cases involving a guy in Tennessee who was bit by a police dog and who said he had put his hands up in surrender
Justice Thomas said he continues to have “strong doubts” about the qualified immunity doctrine and he would grant the petition for cert No relief = No accountability Scales of justice unbalanced If SCOTUS won’t revisit – Congress should
NEXT PODCAST What rights do you have when protesting?? If police aren’t accountable, how can you protect yourself from criminal charges or worse yet – physical harm?
As an adjunct instructor at Rowan University and former instructor at both the Cape May and Vineland police academies, she has a passion for sharing information about the law in NJ.
Follow Meg: http://HoernerLaw.com
p2 - What are your rights as a protestor?
What rights do you have when you’re protesting??
If police aren’t accountable, how can you protect yourself from criminal charges or worse yet – physical harm?
1.Can you protest?
2.Where can you protest?
Public (Streets, Sidewalks, Parks)
If on private property could be charged with trespass
Can’t block vehicle or pedestrian traffic
3. Can you use cell phone / other device to record?
Public property – YES - Can photograph / video
Police can’t seize and/or search cell phones without a warrant
Use care - Audio – Wiretap laws (NJ – only record audio if party to conversation)
4. Can police interact with the public?:
-A. Police have a duty to protect the Constitutional rights of individuals
a. 1st Amendment right - Peaceably assemble
-B. Field Inquiry: Police always have the right to approach someone and ask then if they would be willing to answer questions with zero level of suspicion
a. Individual under no obligation to answer questions
-C. Stop / Investigative Detention: RAS person has committed a crime (ex. marijuana smell)
a. No right to Miranda
b. Pat down for safety if RAS armed and dangerous (example don’t remove hands from pockets / furtive movement and then lie about it) (not a search)
i. PC for weapon / contraband (search)
-D. Arrest: Probable Cause
a. Search Incident to Arrest
5. What if you are stopped and/or that stop escalates to an arrest?
Am I free to leave?
If under arrest:
Don’t resist- even if you believe arrest is unlawful!! (Obstruction)
Ask for a lawyer
Don’t consent to any searches or anything
-If you feel rights are being violated – take note of officer name / badge number
-not all officers wear BWCs / have MVRs
6. What DOESN’T the First Amendment protect:
Trespass on private property
Hindering apprehension /OBSTRUCTION
Assault on officers
7. When can police use force?
Officers trained on de-escalating situations and using least amount of force
Oftentimes this doesn’t happen and force escalates
Use of force continuum:
Constructive Authority (ex. Issues commands)
Physical contact (ex. Hand on arm)
Physical force (ex. Wrestling suspect to the ground)
Mechanical force (ex. Use of baton, canine, chemical spray)
Lethal – to protect officer or another from death or serious bodily harm
Conclusion: Important to know and assert your Constitutional Rights – oftentimes as important, if not more important, to know the Limitations on those Rights to protect yourself from criminal charges and worse yet - physical harm
Post Pandemic Plan: COVID-19 NJ Judicial Orders - June 10th and 11th
COVID-19 NJ Courts 2020 Post-Pandemic Plan
Transition from Phase 1 (Remote Operations) to
Phase 2 (Limited On-site Presence and In-Person Court Events
Meg is the former Chief Assistant Prosecutor for the County of Cape May, New Jersey.
As an adjunct instructor at Rowan University and former instructor at both the Cape May and Vineland police academies, she has a passion for sharing information about the law in NJ. -The New Jersey judicial system is doing a good job of moving forward via technology. 🚓 -So far: Twelve-thousand criminal trial proceedings with eighteen-thousand participants. -What are the conflicts we are facing between problem solving and the Constitution? -For sure we'll be flirting with speedy-trial rights and requirements to bring charges in 180 days.
Related videos: https://youtu.be/t87KR6k48Z4 https://youtu.be/KDhz20GmEac
Follow Meg: 💻 http://HoernerLaw.com
May 29 NJ Judicial Order - COVID19
Meg discusses the latest COVID19 related Judicial order from the Supreme Court of New Jersey.
New Jersey Courts Test Virtual Grand Jury Trials
-The New Jersey judicial system is effectively shut down until May 28th.
-What are the criteria of prisoner release in NJ?
-Covid-19 in New Jersey prisons and jails.
-Due-process and a speedy trial.