Friday, August 10, 2012

No New Trial When Defendant Assaults His Attorney

The New Jersey Appellate Division has held that a criminal defendant "cannot engage in courtroom misconduct and then expect to be rewarded with a mistrial or new trial for his or her egregious behavior where the trial judge took appropriate cautionary measures to ensure a fair trial."

The defendant was charged (and convicted) of first degree carjacking and a number of other offenses. He had resisted arrest and assaulted a police officer and police dog.

The court recounted in incident at trial

At the conclusion of the State's case and in the jury's presense, defendant assaulted defense counsel, fought the sheriff's officers, attempted to escape from the courtroom, and was subdued by the sheriff's officers. The trial judge immediately removed the jury from the courtroom following the outburst.

Defense counsel, with commendable presence of mind, moved for a mistrial. The trial court denied the motion, "concluding that defendant's conduct was calculated to disrupt and delay the matter."

Through new counsel, defendant then moved for a new trial. That motion was denied. This appeal followed.  (MIke Frisch)

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