Friday, February 20, 2015

Appeals Court Overturns Attorney’s Conviction Because Municipal Court Judge Abused her Discretion in Allowing Private Prosecutor to Prosecute Municipal Court Case against Attorney-Defendant.

In the case State v. Howard Myerowitz, the Secaucus Municipal Court allowed the complaining witness to retain a private prosecutor against Mr. Myerowitz for a charge of harassment.
The New Jersey Appellate Division reversed the conviction on the basis that the municipal court erred by allowing the private complaining party to have her private prosecutor to prosecute the municipal court charge.

The appellate panel held that the defendant was denied a fair trial and the proceedings were “procedural defective”, since the municipal court did not follow R. 7:8-7(b), and the seminal case State v. Storm.  The court reiterated that the appointment of a private prosecutor is only permitted when cross-complaints are filed.  As held in Storm, the wide-spread use of private prosecutors in municipal courts would lead to the “erosion of public confidence” in the municipal court system.
Further, the appellate court held that private prosecutors may only be permitted if the cross-complaints would create a conflict of interest for the appointed municipal court prosecutor.  Further, in all private prosecutor applications the attorney seeking appointment must fill out a specific form approved by the Administrative Office of the Courts, which was not done in this case.
If you have been charged with a disorderly person’s offense in Secaucus Municipal Court, or any other municipal court in Union, Essex, Bergen, Monmouth, Ocean, Middlesex, Somerset, Passaic counties, you should seek the experience of an attorney with twenty-five years of criminal defense experience in defending people charged with crimes in New Jersey.

Dated: February 20, 2015
277 North Broad Street
P.O. Box 261
Elizabeth, New Jersey
Telephone No. (908) 354-7006; Cell No. (201) 240-5716

Quote of the day: “... for the ones with great difficulty and no clear evidence of success, plot away at the task of awakening in just a few men, a small spark of faith, of hope and of charity.”  Karl Rahner, S.J.