Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Dastardly Murder of the French Cartoonist (A Different View).

For those not familiar with the Ten Commandments, let’s start with the first commandment, “Thou shall not Kill.”

Of course in Judeo-Christian morality, nothing justifies the killing of innocent people, and anyone that claims to believe in God and does such a thing is nothing more than the agent of evil (the devil).  There is little doubt that anyone that believes that they can murder because their
religion was offended will have a very steep climb into the gates of Heaven, to say the least.  As Pope Francis recently said, killing in the name of God is a perversion of religion.

It appears now, however, that the media, is now attempting to make the slain employees of Charlie Hebdo champions of freedom of speech.  Although on a lower level it is true that these cartoonists believed and engaged in publications under their right of freedom of expression, but the story does not end there.  The deeper question is did they, the cartoonist at Charlie Hebdo, have the moral right to publish obscene cartoons of religious figures?

As one philosopher once states, freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought. With freedom comes the collateral obligation of responsibility and moral virtues.  Because without those two components there can be no true freedom, but only chaos.

With freedom comes responsibility.  Does anyone in the name of freedom of speech have the moral right, the sensibility, to engage in sacrilegious speech and publication against any one’s faith, no matter how, misguided and foolish that faith may be?  No answer is no.

The bigger debate, which has not been addressed by the media is the why should anyone be allowed to engage in sacrilegious speech and press against anyone religious figure.  No matter how foolish and comical those religious teaching may or may not be. 

As a Christian and specifically, a Roman Catholic, I have witnessed the relenting Christian, and more specifically, Catholic bashing.  This bashing is common place in Hollywood movies, television, talk show hosts, “artists” comedians, and the press.  This bashing is often outright false, obscene, pathetic and sometimes pornographic.  I too, am saddened and sensitive to these blasphemies against my Church and my God.  I can sympathize with the followers of Muhammad who feel the same sadness when their faith is unfairly bashed.

My position is this: the murderers are fully responsible for what they did and should be treated with the full force of the law. Nothing justifies the killing of innocent people for acting foolishly and publishing obscene material. However, although they had the legal right to publish obscene portrayals of religious figures, they certainly do not have the moral right to do so.

Charlie Hebdo’s obscene portrayal of religious figures has zero redeeming value.  If people want to debate the redeeming values of Islam or the lack of redeeming values of this religion, that is a fair an honest debate that no one should be allowed to sensor.  However, no one in a civilized society should believe that portraying any historical religious figure in obscene pornography depictions is either wise, or morally acceptable.

This is the real debate, something that the politically correct “talking heads” in the media have refused to address. 

It is unwise and morally unacceptable to portray any religious figure obscenely and call it art or freedom of express.  The publishing of filth serves no legitimate purpose, has no redeeming values, and is certainly not moral or virtuous.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

License Suspension or Custodial Sentence May Be Imposed on Defendant Convicted of Careless Driving In the Appropriate Case.

The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled in State v. Palma that the municipal court may impose a license suspension and/or a jail term on a defendant convicted of careless driving pursuant to N.J.S.A. 39:4-96, but only if the judge identifies aggravating circumstances from evidentiary sources from the record.

The court held that the seven factors set forth in State v. Moran, a case dealing with reckless driving can be used in deciding whether to impose a jail term and/or license suspension for a conviction for careless driving.  The Moran factors are: (1) nature and circumstances of the defendant’s conduct; (2) defendant’s driving record; (3) whether the license suspension would impose a hardship on the defendant and his dependents; (4) need for personal deterrence; (5) driving cause property damage or personal injury, (6) any other factor the court determines to be relevant; (7) whether the character and attitude of the defendant indicate that he or she is likely or unlikely to commit another violation.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

New Jersey Appellate Court Reverses Manslaughter Conviction Because of Prosecutorial Errors During Opening Statement

In State v. Land, the appellate division opinion written by Judge Fisher reversed a first degree aggravated manslaughter and possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose convictions when the prosecutor in its opening statement cited facts and testimony of a witness which the prosecutor had reason to believe would not be testifying in the case.

Nonetheless the prosecutor knowing this, recited facts during her opening statement that could only be testified to by the unavailable witness.  The appellate division did not buy the State’s argument that the prosecutor was not sure that the witness would not testify.  In fact, at the time of trial, although the witness was granted immunity, refused to testify at trial, and none of the facts which the prosecutor claimed would come in through this witness never came in.

The appellate division held that even if the comments during the opening were made in good faith, and coupled with the fact that their was less than overwhelming evidence of guilt, the court was constrained to reverse the conviction . 

This case stands for the proposition that criminal defense counsel must listen carefully to prosecutor’s opening statement and make the appropriate objects at trial, and if necessary, on appeal.

277 North Broad Street
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Elizabeth (Union County), New Jersey 07207
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NJ Criminal Defense Attorney Who Has the Skill and Experience to properly represent you in all types of federal and state criminal cases in Union, Essex, Bergen, Middlesex, Hudson, Passaic, Somerset, Ocean and Monmouth Counties.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Municipal Courts in New Jersey Must Provide Court Records, Files on All Municipal Court Cases

New Jersey Court Rule 1:38 and Administrative Office of the Courts Directive No. 15-05 requires that the public have access to all municipal court records which include tape recordings of all court proceedings upon request by any party.

Many local municipal courts will hesitate to furnish these records and audio recordings but the law is clear, they must produce records of all court proceedings upon request. 

Interesting website on workings of local government can be found at www.njrandomgovt.blogspot.com.

Your decision in choosing a New Jersey criminal defense lawyer is important, make that choice wisely.  I invite you to look at the proven results of Attorney Sanzone. CriminalDefenseNJ.com

Law Office of Vincent J. Sanzone, Jr., Esq.
P.O. Box 261
277 North Broad Street
Elizabeth (Union County), New Jersey 07207
Tel: (908) 354-7006

Monday, February 3, 2014

Court Reverses Conviction Holding Identification of Defendant By His Large Penis by Victim was Prejudicial

In State v. Pena, Mr. Pena received some good news when the appellate division held that testimony of a prior case regarding Pena’s penis was prejudicial.  In this case Mr. Pena was charged with first-degree sexual assault when it was alleged that he inserted his finger inside her.  In this case the victim, E.D. claimed that she could identify him based among other things on the abnormally big penis. 

At trial the defendant presented pictures of his 4-inch penis and argued that in fact he had not an abnormally large penis but an abnormally small one.  Initially, the trial judge ruled that the pictures were not relevant, but on interlocutory appeal, the pictures were admitted at trial. 

Unfortunately, at trial the trial judge also allowed the prosecutor to introduce evidence regarding a prior lewdness conviction in which Mr. Pena’s seize was an issue.  In that case the witness reported that while erect Mr. Pena’s penis was 8” in length. 

The appellate division reversed the conviction holding that the trial court misapplied and did not make proper findings as to why the other crimes 404b evidence should have been admitted.  Because it appeared from the record that the trial judge allowed the evidence to refute the defendant’s contention that he had a small (identity) penis. 

This reversal seems to be of questionable validity since 404b evidence can be introduced to prove identity, and at first glance it appears that the trial judge made a correct call.   Obviously, this conviction did not sit well with the appellate division panel and hence, this is what they hung their reversal on.  

Law Office of Vincent J. Sanzone, Jr., Esq.

P.O. Box 261

277 North Broad Street

Elizabeth (Union County) New Jersey 07207

Tel: (908) 354-7006

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The New Graves Act Increased Penalties in New Jersey

On August 8, 2013, the Governor signed a new law with effective date of August 8, 2013, which now upgrades the crime of unlawful possession of a firearm to a crime of the first degree in certain circumstances. (See New Law)

Specifically, anyone with a prior conviction for a crime which triggered the no-early release statute, N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2, will now be charged with a first-degree gun possession, and must serve a period of parole ineligibility.  Anyone else in possession of handgun, rife or other firearm, who has no prior record, will be charged as a second-degree crime.

In addition, if the firearm was used in the commission of a crime a mandatory period of parole ineligibility from one-third to one-half the sentence, or three-years which ever is less.

Looks like the New Jersey legislatures are making it harder for defendants to take pleas on these offenses and there will be more trials for experienced competent New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorneys.

Law Office of Vincent J. Sanzone, Jr.
Elizabeth (Union County) New Jersey 07208
P.O. Box 261
277 North Broad Street
Raymond Building
Elizabeth, N.J. 07207
Tel: (908) 354-7006

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Cross-Examination of Prosecution Intent To Distribute Expert

Prepared as a Public Service by the Law Office of Vincent J. Sanzone, Jr.

In New Jersey state court prosecution of defendant's charged with possession with intent to distribute,  similar to federal prosecutions, the state is permitted to introduce testimony from a law enforcement officer in their organization that the defendant possessed the contraband drugs not for personal use but with intent to distribute.

On might ask the logical question as to how this so-called expert is able to testify as to the intent of another.  Of course, few people have the ability to read the mind of some else.  In fact, in truth, most people cannot read their own mind with any reliability.  However, the state or government is permitted in having its so-called "expert witness" testify as to mind of another.  In reality, the state or government expert will always testify that the quantity of drugs seized is consistent with intent to distribute and not for personal use.  The expert will give this conclusion without knowing anything about the drug usage and habits of the defendant.

The courts have attempted to mitigate this powerful testimony with the legal fiction that the expert can only testify in the form of a hypothetical question, and not refer to the defendant by name.  The courts have decided that somehow this protects the defendant from the expert giving an ultimate opinion about the guilt of the defendant.  This meeker attempt to protect the defendant from the expert's opinion of guilt fails miserably and is no use to the defendant, because everyone in the court room knows who the expert is talking about, since he recites as the basis of his opinion, the facts elicited at trial.

In cross-examining these witnesses it is always important that the attorney stress, that this is in fact his or her opinion only.  That no empirical testing has been done to disprove or disprove his or her theory.  That no peer review was done with this opinion.  That no supervisor reviewed his or her opinion.  That the expert receives his or her paycheck from the same source as the prosecutor.  That they work in the same office.  That they never testified for the defense.  That the opinion is only as good as the investigation conducted.  That they have not done any independent investigation.  That they have not reviewed the defendant's medical records.  That they have not reviewed the defendant's treatment records.  That they never attempted to interview the defendant as to his drug use, and how long he or she has been using drugs.  Never attempted to interview family members of the defendant.  The list goes on and on.

If you have been charged with a drug offense, either with possession, distribution or intent to distribute case you are urged to contact the Law Office of Vincent J. Sanzone, Jr., Esq.  An experienced and successful New Jersey criminal defense attorney, serving all state courts.  Union, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Middlesex, Bergen counties.