E497: 1. Avoid Shoplifting convictions 2. July 15, 2016 Friday Summer Blast Happy Hour 3. Recent Cases: Stop of car and search improper based on strange pause State v. V.A.-M 4. Latest YouTube Videos
NJ LAWS EMAIL NEWSLETTER E497
Kenneth Vercammen, Attorney at Law
In this issue:
1. Avoid Shoplifting convictions
2. July 15, 2016 Friday Summer Blast Happy Hour
3. Recent Cases: Stop of car and search improper based on strange pause State v. V.A.-M
4. Latest YouTube Videos
1. Avoid Shoplifting convictions
Shoplifting is one of the worst offenses to have on your record. Employers are reluctant to hire someone they can't trust. If charged with shoplifting, hire an attorney to defend the charges. If a prior conviction, hire an attorney to expunge the criminal record.
The state must prove the Defendant had the "knowing" intent to commit a criminal act in a shoplifting case.
Sometimes the defendant has mental issues and was not aware that there was a criminal act being committed.
NJSA 2C: 4-2. Evidence of mental disease or defect admissible when relevant to element of the offense.
Evidence that the defendant suffered from a mental disease or defect is admissible whenever it is relevant to prove that the defendant did not have a state of mind, which is an element of the offense. In the absence of such evidence, it may be presumed that the defendant had no mental disease or defect, which would negate a state of mind, which is an element of the offense.
The NJ Model Jury charges set forth the elements of SHOPLIFTING [CONCEALMENT] (N.J.S.A. 2C: 20-11b(2))
The statute provides in pertinent part that it is a crime for:
any person purposely to conceal upon his person or otherwise any merchandise offered for sale by any store or other retail mercantile establishment with the intention of depriving the merchant of the processes, use or benefit of such merchandise or converting the same to the use of such person without paying to the merchant the value thereof.
In order for the finder of fact to find the defendant guilty of shoplifting, the State must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
1. that defendant purposely concealed upon his person or otherwise any merchandise offered for sale by (name of commercial establishment);
2. that (name of commercial establishment) was a store or other retail mercantile establishment; and
3. that defendant did so with the purpose of depriving the merchant of the processes, use, or benefit of such merchandise [OR of converting such merchandise to his/her use] without paying the merchant the value thereof.
The first element that the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt is that defendant purposely concealed upon his person or otherwise any merchandise offered for sale by any store or other retail establishment. The term "conceal" means to conceal merchandise so that, although there may be some notice of its presence, it is not visible through ordinary observation.1 The term "merchandise" means any goods, chattels, foodstuffs or wares of any type and description, regardless of the value thereof.2
A person acts purposely with respect to the nature of his or her conduct or a result of his conduct if it is the person's conscious object to engage in conduct of that nature or to cause such a result. That is, a person acts purposely if he or she means to act in a certain way or to cause a certain result. A person acts purposely with respect to attendant circumstances if the person is aware of the existence of such circumstances or believes or hopes that they exist.
Update: We will be outside on the big Boardwalk Bar. Get VIP wristband and VIP name sticker from Ken Vercammen, Esq and helpers. Walking distance from the beach, Belmar train station and marina. A good reason to leave work early on Friday. Near Main St.
Look for Banner of NJ State Bar Association & US Flag. Ken Vercammen will be wearing a blue Hawaiian shirt.
We need a couple of volunteers for a short period of time
1 Volunteer: Help hang up signs and banner 5:00
1 Volunteer: Help check names off and give out VIP wristbands 5:00-6:00, 6:00-7:00, 7:00-7:30
1 Volunteer: Help collect business cards and give out some free stuff.
1 Volunteer: Help lug canned food donations for Community Food Bank to car at end of party
Schedule [rain or shine]
5:30-7:30pm Hot & Cold Buffet inside near front door
5:30 Music by Sami Eldebs outside and DJ with prizes inside
6-7 $1.50 House Drinks, Bud/BudLt draft & House Wine Special at the outside Boardwalk Bar
July 16 7pm Edison Elks Beef & Brew $25.00 for tickets call 732) 985-2487 or buy at 375 Old Post Road, Edison NJ 08817-4653
July 17 Freedom Fest Sunday Marshall Tucker Band
July 20 RVRR Summer Pub Crawl
July 24 5k Run/Walk VFW Post #133 East Brunswick, NJ 9:00 AM free burgers, beer, and food
3. Stop of car and search improper based on strange pause
State v. V.A.-M. App. Div. unreported 14-2-8638
After his motion to suppress was denied in municipal court, 18-year-old defendant V.A.-M. pleaded guilty to loitering to obtain a controlled dangerous substance and was sentenced to a fine of $350, plus court costs and fees. Defendant appealed, and the Law Division affirmed the municipal court's denial of defendant's motion to suppress and imposed the sentence. Defendant then challenged the stop of the motor vehicle in which he was a passenger and the subsequent warrantless search and seizure of a pipe from his pants pocket that was alleged to be drug paraphernalia.
Because the police stop could not be justified either as an investigatory stop or under the community-caretaking doctrine, the appellate panel reversed. The community-caretaking doctrine did not justify the stop of the vehicle and warrantless search of defendant, as the officers did not have an objectively reasonable basis to believe that an emergency required immediate action to protect life or prevent serious injury. The police officer did not indicate that he stopped the vehicle because of the manner in which it was driving. As such, the Law Division's reliance on the "strange pause" of the vehicle and its attempt to continue driving was misplaced. Moreover, the officer testified that once he spotted the vehicle and realized that it matched the description he had received from dispatch, he intended to stop it based on the anonymous citizen's report alone.
The panel found that the anonymous call to police reporting benign and non-criminal activity was insufficient to justify an investigative stop. The call reported a parked car, with a white male running up and down a hill. While a concerned citizen was apparently sufficiently troubled to call police, the reported activity was more in the nature of innocent frolicking than criminal activity. A parked car and a male running up and down a hill on a winter evening did not rise to the level of reasonable articulable suspicion of criminal activity necessary to justify an investigatory stop. Because the stop was constitutionally defective, the subsequent statements by, and search of, defendant the court suppressed. Source Daily Briefing - 12/14/2015