MAKING POLICE VIDEOS PUBLIC

NJ attorneyThe recent ruling by New Jersey Superior Court Judge Vincent Grasso appears to allow public access to video recorded police dashboard camera. In 2 rulings issued by the Judge on October 2, 2014, the Court found that the video was not exempt from the Open Public Records Act. Judge Grasso wrote: “The Court finds that the contemporaneous recording of a traffic stop by a police dash cam that was required to be maintained and activated is not exempt”.

In view of the recent publicly viewed videos showing police shootings of what appears to be unarmed motorists attempting to comply with police requests for license and registration information, this seems like a victory for civil rights and individual rights.

In my experience as a practitioner however, it is often a pyrrhic victory. While I frequently receive video footage of a stop and arrest in my regular request for discovery on DWI maters, I often find that the video shows very little that may enlighten the viewer about the validity of the stop or the onsite testing performed at the scene of the arrest. The HGNT Test, the walk and turn test, the one leg stand and even the approach of the officer to the driver requesting credentials are rarely, if ever, captured on tape. The footage of these essential components of the arrest, however are of utmost significance to the defense of a drunk driving case as well as any abuse of police power exerted during the arrest.

 

Therefore, while I applaud the Court for the ruling and Governor Chris Christie’s recent signing on September 10th of a law that requires dash cams to be installed in new police car purchases or leases, I am cautiously optimistic as to just how much information this will really provide. I think the measure must go further to require police officers to wear body cameras that will record all their activities. This is the only way defense counsel and the public will be provided a true and accurate view of the arrest procedure.

Middlesex County Drug Offense Attorney

Middlesex County Drug Offense AttorneyThe Headline reads “Heroin’s Death Toll Rising, City Data shows, a

shift in those who use it”. The statistics show more people have died

from overdoses from heroin in New York City this year than in any year

since 2003. The further disturbing facts show that the hardest hit areas

of the city are among the white and higher income New Yorkers and

older Hispanic users in the Bronx.

The scenario is oft-repeated across the country. The younger hip users

begin by using prescription opiate pills that simulate the same high as a

heroin high. When they can no longer afford their habit, they switch to

heroin because it is a better high and much cheaper.

The carnage arrives in my office after the user is addicted, stealing from

family and friends, using credit cards to get cash, stealing a friend’s car

to drive to bad neighborhoods in Trenton or Newark to buy drugs that

could potentially kill them, or someone else.

Recently I represented a young addict, I went to see him in jail after

his family had called the police on him. He had stolen his girlfriend’s

mother’s car and cash, and driven to Trenton with his girlfriend to buy

drugs from a nefarious dealer on the street who sold him beat drugs and

took his money. This was probably a blessing in disguise as he ended up

sick with withdrawal, rather than dead from an overdose.

This kid was lucky though. His family loved him enough to find a

lawyer, to bail him out and get him into Middlesex County’s Drug Court

program. When I met him in jail he was 6’2”, 145 pounds. His skin

was sallow and he was emaciated and under nourished. After being

admitted into the program, in patient for six months, and the intensive

out patient, I bumped into him in Court one day while waiting for

another case.

“Ms. Brower” he shouted.

I turned to look at a young man I barely recognized. He had a smile on

his face. He had gained about 30 pounds. He looked healthy and happy.

He shook my hand.

“Thanks for everything, I am really doing great. Looking for a job and

staying clean.”

That is the kind of day that makes me certain that I have the best job

around.

Taking into Account Children’s Wishes in Custody Cases

Middlesex County Child Custody AttorneyIn a recent New York case, the Appellate Division, First Department, ruled in Melissa C.D., Rene ID that a Manhattan Judge erred in awarding sole custody of a separated couple’s daughter to the mother largely on the basis of alienating comments. In a unanimous appellate panel ruling, the Court found that the Judge should have given more weight to the mother’s behavior and the daughter’s own wishes.

In the case cited , the estranged couple had three children, a five year old daughter, a 14 year old daughter, a 17 year old son. The mother, left the marital home with the 5 year old daughter, leaving the son and older daughter in the care and custody of the father and in the family’ marital home. The court, after subsequent application to the Court by the mother awarded sole custody of the 5 year old and 14 year old daughter to the mother largely on a finding that the father had alienated the older children from their mother by making strong negative comment(s) about her to the children. This custody award was in contravention of the desire of the 14 year old daughter, whose preference was to stay with her father and brother in her home.
There are few issues as disturbing and difficult to deal with as a Judge, as well as a family practitioner as the issue of parental alienation. Making a determination as to who is at fault, even if the Court has damaging audio tapes and emails is time consuming and frustrating. The issues that give rise to the negative rants of the parties are the result of anger, hurt, and disappointment going back years. To unravel and try to diffuse the ongoing retribution attempts by the parties tries the patience of even the most even tempered professionals.

In this case however, the higher Court took what appears to be the higher ground and better approach. Rather than try to punish the father for his alienation attempts, the court chose to weigh all the factors that would better serve the best interest of the 14 year old and her wishes. The Court found that to take her out of her home and environment where she was comfortable and safe and put her in her mother’s home with her mother’s lover and younger sister, another strange home, where she had no friends or support, against her will, would not serve her best interests.

Sometimes the only way to combat the poisonous venom of parental alienation is give the child a safe place to live through it all with the necessary support systems the child needs to survive. In this case, the NY Court took the time and patience to make the difficult decision to do right by this child, and respect her wishes.

Child Custody Attorney – Lawyer In Middlesex County, NJ

East Brunswick Child Custody AttorneyThe Ruling in Plotnick v. DeLucia, wherein the Court held that a woman’s right to privacy and to control her body during pregnancy outweighs the father’s right to notification and entry into the delivery room raises many other questions of first impression.

On its face, it seems that this is a just decision. A woman in her final stages of pregnancy and early labor should not be subjected to stress levels that would endanger herself or the baby. She should be protected and enjoy a safe haven during childbirth.

The troubling part of the issues involved in the decision is that the fighting between mother and father over the children has now entered a new zone. It was bad enough to watch estranged parents play tug of war with young children. The very foundation of the childhood of these children is devoid of any feeling of safety and comfort. Now the time line starts before the umbilical cord is cut, that the parents are fighting over whose name is on the birth certificate and when the father can see his child.

The time has come for parents of all shapes and sizes, two moms, two dads, estranged or surrogates, to realize that they are bringing a real life person into the world and that person has rights of their own. These real life people have the right to a childhood filled with love and caring and learning about the world and parents have no right to take that away.

Adoptions

One of the most pleasant parts of my practice is the handling of adoptions. Whether it is a stepparent adoption, an adoption through an agency or a foster parent adoption, it is always a joyous event. After the background checks are complete and the paperwork properly filed, when the happy day arrives and all has been done properly, the final day of the adoption is an informal celebratory event. Even the court staff joins in the happy day when a new official family member is officially acknowledged by the court.

Drug Offenses

When you are charged with a drug offense, whether it is in an automobile or in your own home or in the home of another, this can be a harrowing experience and the legal consequences can be substantial. Nevertheless, there are many ways to defend you when you are charged with a crime involving drugs. I will thoroughly investigate your case to make sure your rights have been protected in the way that the search was conducted. If the arrest came about because you are suffering from substance abuse issues, I will advise and refer you to the resources available for treatment. You are in good hands in my office, as I will do all that I can to defend you.

Assault

When you are charged with assault whether it originates form a domestic dispute, a bar fight or is done in self-defense, the legal ramifications in addition to the physical pain are significant. You may also face restitution exposure for injuries inflicted. This is a time when you need experienced legal counsel to protect you from a stiff jail term. I will explore the possibilities of your potential defense options. With my experience and understanding of the law I will guide you through and protect your rights.

Civil Union Dissolution & Same Sex Divorces

With the changes in the law allowing first Civil Unions in New Jersey and now Same Sex Marriage comes inevitably the possibility that these unions may need to be dissolved or the parties’ may seek a divorce.

I have extensive experience in dealing with first the civil union dissolutions and have knowledge and expertise to handle your divorce if necessary

East Brunswick Attorney Thoughts

East Brunswick Divorce AttorneyLately, one of the most frustrating aspects of the practice of law, especially in my small office, has been the lack of courtesy in returning phone calls and e-mails. Whether it is other attorneys, court staff, or clients, there is so much wasted phone time and computer time requesting return phone calls to schedule pending matters or obtain simple information in furtherance of a case. Of course there are the shining stars in the courthouse and in other law offices that take the time to be courteous and professional, but, they are the exception. If 2014 could bring something positive in my practice, it would be that my wish would come true, that someone out there would just CALL ME BACK!!!

East Brunswick Family Court Divorce Attorney

EastBrunswick Family Court AttorneyIf you live in East Brunswick  you can find a number of listings for East Brunswick Family Court Divorce Lawyers, so finding an Middlesex County divorce attorney is is easy. What can be quite difficult is hiring one that truly cares about your custody, visitation, child support and or divorce issues as much as you do. Our East Brunswick law firm pledges to do just that.

 

East Brunswick Family Court Attorney