Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Wills and Estate Planning for Veterans and their Families January 3, 2018 at 7PM.

January 3, 2018 at 7PM.
   American Legion Post 306, 707 Legion Way, Middlesex NJ 08846

    Members of any American Legion, SOL and auxiliary can attend. Just bring your membership card and click the Facebook link going.

SPEAKER: Kenneth Vercammen, Esq. Edison, NJ (Author- Wills and Estate Administration by the ABA)
Member Edison American Legion SOL and Life Member, VFW Auxiliary
       The NJ Probate Law made a number of substantial changes in Probate and the administration of estates and trusts in New Jersey.

Main Topics:
1.   2018 changes to NJ Estate Tax   
2. 2018 changes in Federal Estate and Gift Tax 
3. The New Probate Law and preparation of Wills    
4. Power of Attorney  
5.  Living Wills             
6.  Administering the Estate/ Probate/Surrogate     

       COMPLIMENTARY MATERIAL: Brochures on Wills, "Answers to Questions about Probate" and Administration of an Estate, Power of Attorney, Living Wills, Real Estate Sales for Seniors, and Trusts.


Thursday, November 16, 2017


(N.J.S.A. 2C:2-3)
Causation has a special meaning under the law. To establish causation, the State must prove two elements, each beyond a reasonable doubt:
First, but for the defendants conduct, the result in question would not have happened. In other words, without defendants actions the result would not have occurred.
Second, the actual result must have been within the design or contemplation of the defendant. If not, it must involve the same kind of injury or harm as that designed or contemplated, and must also not be too remote, too accidental in its occurrence or too dependent on anothers volitional act to have a just bearing on the defendants liability or on the gravity of his/her offense.
A defendant is not relieved of responsibility for causing a result if the only difference between what actually occurred and what was designed, contemplated or risked is that a different person or property was injured or affected or that a less serious or less extensive injury or harm occurred.
Second, [for reckless conduct] that the actual result must have been within the risk of which the defendant was aware. If not, it must involve the same kind of injury or harm as the probable result and must also not be too remote, too accidental in its occurrence or too dependent on anothers volitional act to have a just bearing on the defendants liability or on the gravity of his/her offense.
Second, [for negligent conduct] that the actual result must have been within the risk of which the defendant should have been aware. If not, it must involve the same kind of injury or harm as the probable result and must also not be too remote, too accidental in its occurrence or too dependent on anothers volitional act to have a just bearing on the defendants liability or on the gravity of his/her offense.

A defendant is not relieved of responsibility for causing a result if the only difference between what actually occurred and what was designed, contemplated or risked is that a different person or property was injured or affected or that a less serious or less extensive injury or harm occurred.

Catholic Lawyers Guild - Wills and Power of Attorney Seminars for Senior Groups

 Churches and senior groups in Middlesex County can schedule a free daytime Wills or Power of Attorney seminars for the benefit of seniors and individuals who help seniors. The benefits of making gifts to churches and charitable groups will also be discussed.
We can provide a free quality educational/consumer programs to educate and entertain Seniors. Kenneth A. Vercammen has served as a speaker for 10 Senior citizen and adult school programs on Wills and Estate Administration in Edison, Metuchen, Woodbridge and throughout Middlesex County. We invite you to schedule a Wills seminar.
Years ago the AARP Network Attorneys of the Edison/Metuchen/Woodbridge area several years ago established a community Speakers Bureau to provide educational programs to AARP and senior clubs, Unions and Middlesex County companies. Now, Kenneth Vercammen and volunteer attorneys of the Middlesex County Estate Planning Council have provided Legal Rights Seminars to hundreds of seniors, business owners and their employees, unions, clubs and non-profit groups. These quality daytime educational programs will educate and even entertain. Clubs and companies are invited to schedule a free seminar. The following Seminars are now available:

Details on the 2 programs currently offered:

2. POWER OF ATTORNEY to permit family to pay your bills if you are temporarily disabled and permit doctors to talk with family

         All instructors are licensed attorneys who have been in practice at least 25 years. All instructors are members of the American Bar Association, New Jersey State Bar Association, and Middlesex County Bar Association.   All programs include free written materials.  
         You don't have to be wealthy or near death to do some thinking about a Will.  Here is your opportunity to listen to an experienced attorney who will discuss how to distribute your property as you wish and avoid many rigid provisions of state law.
         Topics discussed include: Who needs a Will?; What if you die without a Will (intestacy)?; Mechanics of a Will; Selecting an executor, trustee, and guardian; Proper Will execution; Inheritance Taxes, Estate Taxes Living Will; Powers of Attorney; $13,000 annual gift tax exclusion,  Bequests to charity, Why you need a Self-Proving Will and  Estate Administration/ Probate.
         Sample materials: Hand-outs on Wills, Living Wills/Medical Advance Directive, Power of Attorney, Probate and Administration of an Estate, Real Estate, Working with your Attorney, Consumers Guide to New Jersey Laws, and Senior Citizen Rights.

         At the request of senior citizen groups, unions, and Middlesex County companies and organizations, the Speakers Bureau is a service designed to educate citizens about how laws affect their lives and how the judicial system operates.  We have attorneys available to speak to businesspersons, educational, civic and social organizations on a wide range of topics during business hours.           

   Chances are many of your members have been in a situation where they could have benefited from legal advice.  Have you ever been in an accident? Has a motor vehicle or criminal complaint ever been filed against you or a member of your family? Many individuals face these and other types of problems. Often people do not protect their rights, only to later face lengthy license suspensions or even jail for failure to resolve legal problems early on.  That's why Legal Rights Seminars are offered. 
         This means your members can get advice and possibly prevent legal problems before they occur.   Most importantly, they can have peace of mind.
         Americans need an attorney when legal problems strike.  As in the case of medical services, early treatment can prevent catastrophe and its attendant cost in time and money. For example, psychological studies have demonstrated that there is a direct correlation between legal problems and lost work time and productivity.  Employees' work performance often has a direct relationship to personal legal problems.  Therefore, the sooner a solution can be found for the employees' problems, the sooner employees can focus on their work.

         In today's complex world, few people can function successfully and safely without competent legal advice.  In order to insure your estate plans are legally set up, you need to know exactly where you stand so that you can avoid possibly catastrophic mistakes impacting both you and your family. For additional information on the Legal Seminars, contact our Coordinator, Kenneth Vercammen’s law office at (732) 572-0500, email VercammenLaw@njlaws.com or fax 732-572-0030.
Website KennethVercammen.com provides Legal Information on New Jersey Laws. If your members need information on NJ legal topics, please visit our the New Jersey Laws website. It has recently expanded to provide extensive information on Wills and Probate. There are 50 articles available on the KennethVercammen.com website including: Wills & Estate Planning Probate / Estate Administration Power of Attorney Guardianship of Disabled Adults Living Wills Executor - Duties Codicil to a Will Removing an Executor of an Estate
As an added service questions asked by attendees will be entertained. All programs are free and include free written materials.
In today's complex world, in order to insure estate plans are legally set up, people need to know exactly where they stand so that they can avoid mistakes that can have a catastrophic impact on your family and you. We also sponsor the website KennethVercammen.com which contains 25 articles on Elder law and Probate. We would like to speak with you regarding the Wills Seminars. Very truly yours,

Casino Injuries

Kenneth Vercammen & Associates Law Office helps people injured due to the negligence of others. We provide representation throughout New Jersey. The insurance companies will not help. Don't give up! Our Law Office can provide experienced attorney representation if you are injured in an accident and suffer a Serious Injury.
Sometimes, store customers are injured in fall downs caused by holes in parking lots or trip in dimly lit areas. Customers may be injured by failure to repair broken sidewalks. Sometimes people trip when business fail to clean up broken or fallen items. No one plans on being injured in an accident, whether it is a fall down or other situation. Speak with a personal injury attorney immediately to retain all your rights. The businesses are responsible for the maintenance of their premises which are used by the public. It is the duty of the store to inspect and keep said premises in a safe condition and free from any and all pitfalls, obstacles or traps that would likely cause injury to persons lawfully thereon. It is further the duty of the store to properly and adequately inspect, maintain and keep the premises free from danger to life, limb and property of persons lawfully and rightfully using same and to warn of any such dangers or hazards thereon. You may be lawfully upon the premises as a business invitee in the exercise of due care on your part, and solely by reason of the omission, failure and default of the store, be caused to fall down If the store did not perform their duty to plaintiff to maintain the premises in a safe, suitable and proper condition, you may be entitled to make a claim. If severely injured, you can retain an attorney to file a claim for damages, together with costs of suit. Injured people can demand trial by jury.
1. Stop . . . do not leave the scene of the accident. CALL THE AMBULANCE, tell them where the accident occurred and (ask for medical help if needed). 2. Notify the property manager or owner, if possible. Insist they observe where you fell. For example, if you fall on an icy sidewalk at the store/ business, notify the manager. 3. Get names and addresses of all witnesses Witnesses will be a tremendous help to you in any subsequent court action if there is any question of liability involved. Get the names and addresses of as many witnesses as possible. If they refuse to identify themselves, jot down the license plate numbers of their automobiles. Do not discuss the accident with the witnesses. Do not give the witnesses names to anyone but the police, your attorney or your insurance company.
4. While waiting for ambulance, write down- Accident Information Date __ Time __ Location __ Weather __ Road conditions __ Damage __
5. Summary of accident __
6. Diagram of accident location
7. Call an ambulance. If you have any reason to suspect you were injured in the accident, go to a hospital immediately or see a physician promptly. Youll want it on record that you sought treatment right away, not in a week or so.
8. Write down name of Police Officers, Department and Badge Number, Ambulance crew, etc.
9. Do not assign or accept blame for the accident. - The scene of the accident is not the place to determine fault. Discuss the accident only with the ambulance and medical personnel, your attorney and with representatives of your insurance company. Give the other party only your name and address. - Be cooperative with the police.
10. Have immediate photos taken of accident site.
11. Call a personal injury attorney immediately, not a real estate attorney. Call Kenneth A. Vercammen- Trial Attorney Attorney At Law (732) 572-0500 When you need help the most, we will be ready to help you.
12. Never give a signed statement to the claims adjuster representing the property owners insurance company. The same goes for a phone recording. They may be used against you in court to deny your claim. Speak with your personal injury attorney first.
It is important that you -- 1. DO NOT discuss your case with anyone except your doctors and attorney. 2. DO NOT make any statements or give out any information. 3. DO NOT sign any statements, reports, forms or papers of any kinds, . 4. DO NOT appear at police or other hearings without first consulting with your attorney. INFORM YOUR ATTORNEY PROMPTLY of any notice, request or summons to appear at any hearings. 5. Refer to your attorney anyone who asks you to sign anything or to make any statement or report or who seeks information concerning your case. 6. Direct your doctor and other treatment providers not to furnish or disclose any information concerning your case to any entity other than your insurance company without YOU AND YOUR ATTORNEYS WRITTEN PERMISSION. 7. You may have insurance coverages such as Blue Cross, Blue Shield or Major Medical which require prompt attention. However, be sure to have your treatment providers send bills immediately to all of your insurance companies. 8. Notify your attorney promptly of any new developments. Small things may be important. Keep your attorney informed. 9. Maintain accurate records of all information and data pertaining to your case. 10. If you or any witnesses should move, be sure to notify your attorney of the new address.
Financial Recovery if injured while falling down
1. Kenneth Vercammen Helps Injured persons A person who is injured as a result of the negligence of another person is what we in the legal profession refer to as a personal injury claimant. In other words, they have been injured as a result of an accident, and now wish to prosecute a claim against a negligent property owner and its insurance company. As the attorney of record, we will be bringing this action for the injured person. Therefore, I request that all clients do as much as possible to cooperate and help in every way. The purpose of this article is to describe the procedure that we may follow and give you sufficient instructions to enable you to assist us in this undertaking. Needless to say, helping us is just another way of helping yourself.
Sidewalk Fall down Liability Certain cases impose limited liability on commercial landowners for injuries to pedestrians on abutting sidewalks. See Stewart v. 104 Wallace St., Inc., 87 N.J. 146 (1981). The duty to maintain the sidewalks flows from the economic benefit that a commercial landowner receives from the abutting sidewalk and from the landowners ability to control the risk of injury. Id. at 158; Davis v. Pecoreno, 69 N.J. 1, 8 (1975) (holding gas station owner liable for injury caused by packed snow and ice on abutting sidewalk because traffic was directly beneficial to his business and enured to his economic benefit). Several decisions of the Appellate Division delineate the appropriate limits of a commercial property owners liability for off-premises injuries. Critical to those decisions is the premise that a landowners liability may extend beyond the premises for activities that directly benefit the landowner. Thus, the owner of a shopping center was not liable to a woman who fell on a dirt path leading from the shopping center to a parking lot. See Chimiente v. Adam Corp., 221 N.J. Super. 580 (1987). In Chimiente, sidewalks provided a safe alternative route. Id. at 584. The dirt path conferred no direct economic benefit on the shopping center. Ibid. Similarly, a shopping center on Route 22 was not liable to a customer who was struck by a car while crossing the highway. See MacGrath, supra, 256 N.J. Super. at 250-51, 253. A restaurant that provided parking on the opposite side of the street, however, had a duty to provide safe passage from the lot to the restaurant. See Warrington v. Bird, 204 N.J. Super. 611 (1985), certif. denied, 103 N.J. 473 (1986). The restaurant knew that its patrons would cross the street, and derived a direct economic benefit from their use of the path. Id. at 617. Finally, a caterer was found liable for the death of a business invitee who was killed crossing a county highway after parking her car in a lot the caterer knew or should have known the invitee would use. See Mulraney v. Aulettos Catering, 293 N.J. Super. 315, certif. denied, _ N.J. _ (1996). Prominent among the reasons for the imposition of liability was the proposition that the use of the lot furthered the caterers economic interest. Id. at 321. Critical to the imposition of liability is a direct economic benefit to the commercial landowner from the path taken by the injured party and the absence of an alternative route.
1. Clients should provide my office with the following 1. Any bills 2. All Hospital or doctor records in your possession 3. Photos of scars, cuts, bruises 4. Photos of damage to your clothes and property 5. Photos of accident site 6. Major Med Card 7. Paystub if lost time from work
2. Attorney- Client Confidential Relationship First, I want to thank our clients for giving me the opportunity to assist them in their case. I am a legal professional and I have great pride and confidence in the legal services that I perform for clients during our relationship as attorney-client. If you have concerns about your case, please call my office. (732) 572-0500 We feel that this case is extremely important not only to you, but to this office as well. This is not simply a matter of obtaining just compensation for you, although that is very important; we take professional pride in guiding our clients carefully through difficult times to a satisfactory conclusion of their cases.
3. Diary We want you to keep a diary of your experiences since your accident. In addition to this daily record, we also ask you to start describing a single day in the course of your life. In other words, describe what you do when you get up in the morning, the first thing you do after you go to work, what type of work and effort you put into your employment, what activities you engage in after work, etc. In other words, we need you to describe the changes in your working life, your playing life, your life as a husband or wife or child or parent. In your written description of your day, we would appreciate your explanation in the greatest detail possible and in your own words how the accident and subsequent injuries have affected your life, your personality, and your outlook. Remember that suffering does not entail mere physical pain; suffering can be emotional and can be transmitted to your family, friends, and co-workers. Keep a diary of all matters concerning this accident-no matter how trivial you think it may be. You should include notes on the treatments you receive, therapy, casts, appliances, hospitalization, change of doctors, change of medication, symptoms, recurrence, setbacks, disabilities and inconveniences. If you have any doubt about the propriety of including some particular information, please call the office and let us assist you.
4. Record expenses You can also begin to set up a system for recording the expenses incurred in conjunction with your claim in minute detail. Medical and legal expenses are a strong part of the value of your lawsuit, so good records of these expenses must be kept at all times. From time to time, however, there will be expenses incurred that you must keep track of yourself. We ask you to make every effort to avoid any possible error or inaccuracy as jurors have a relentless reverence for the truth. Keep your canceled checks and your list of expenses together, for we will need them at a later date. Your attorney will keep track of your legal expenses, which may include costs of filing, service of complaint, investigation, reports, depositions, witness fees, hospital/ medical records, etc.
5. Investigation and Filing of Complaint Procedurally, the following events occur in most personal injury cases. First, your attorney must complete the investigation. This will involve the collection of information from your physician, your employer, and our investigator. We will need your doctors to provide us with copies of all bills, medical records and possibly a medical report. When we feel that we have sufficient information to form an opinion as to the financial extent of your damages, we will commence negotiations with the opposition for a settlement. If the insurance company will not make an adequate offer, then a Complaint and Case Information Statement is prepared by your attorney. It is filed in the Superior Court, Law Division. Your attorney then will prepare a summons and have the defendants personally served with the Summons and Complaint. The defendant, through their insurance company, must file an Answer within 35 days. Kenneth Vercammen's office generally does not file a Complaint until the treating doctor signs an affidavit of merit setting forth why the injury is permanent and the diagnostic tests upon which the permanent injury is based. You will need to speak with your doctor to ask if you have a permanent injury.
6. Interrogatory Questions and Discovery The Answer is followed by a request for written interrogatories. These are questions that must be answered by each party. The Superior Court has set up certain Form A Interrogatory Questions which are contained in the Rules of Court. Generally, written interrogatories are followed by the taking of depositions, which is recorded testimony given under oath by any person the opposition wishes to question. The deposition is just as important as the trial itself. In the event you are deposed during the course of this action, you will receive detailed instructions as to the procedure and will be required to watch a videotape. After taking depositions, the case will be set down for an Arbitration. If the parties do not settle after the Arbitration, the case will be given a trial call date. Altogether, these procedures may take from six months to several years, and your patience may be sorely tried during this time. However, it has been our experience that clients who are forewarned have a much higher tolerance level for the slowly turning wheels of justice.
7. Doctor/ Treatment It will help your case to tell us and your doctors about any injury or medical problems before or after your accident. Good cases can be lost by the injured person concealing or forgetting an earlier or later injury or medical problem. Insurance companies keep a record of any and all claims against any insurance company. The insurance company is sure to find out if you have ever made a previous claim. Tell your doctors all of your complaints. The doctors records can only be as complete as what you have given. Keep track of all prescriptions and medicines taken and the bills. Also save all bottles or containers of medicine.
8. Bills Retain all bills which relate to your damages, including medical expenses, hospital expenses, drugs and medicines, therapy, appliances, and anything needed to assist in your recovery. If possible, pay these bills by check or money order, so that a complete record may be kept. If this is not possible, be certain to obtain a complete receipt with the bill heading on it, to indicate where the receipt came from and the party issuing it.
9. Evidence Be certain to keep anything that comes into your possession which might be used as evidence in your case, such as shoes, clothing, glasses, photographs, defective machinery, defective parts, foreign substances which may have been a factor in your accident, etc. Be sure to let the office know that you have these items in your possession.
10. Photographs Take photographs of all motor vehicles, accident site, etc., that may be connected--directly or indirectly--with your accident. Again, be sure to let the office know that you have such photographs.
11 Keep your attorney advised Keep this office advised at all times with respect to changes in address, important changes in medical treatment, termination of treatment, termination of employment, resumption of employment, or any other unusual change in your life.
12. Lost wages Keep a complete record of all lost wages. Obtain a statement from your company outlining the time you have lost, the rate of salary you are paid, the hours you work per week, your average weekly salary, and any losses suffered as a result of this accident. Where possible, also obtain other types of evidence such as ledger sheets, copies of time cards, canceled checks, check stubs, vouchers, pay slips, etc.
13. New information In the event that any new information concerning the evidence in this case comes to your attention, report this to the attorney immediately. This is particularly true in the case of witnesses who have heretofore been unavailable.
14 Do not discuss the case The insurance company may telephone you and record the conversation or send an adjuster (investigator) who may carry a concealed tape recorder. You should not discuss your case with anyone.
Obviously, we cannot stress too strongly that you DO NOT discuss this matter with anyone but your attorney or immediate, trusted family. You should sign no documents without the consent of this office. Remember that at all times you may be photographed and investigated by the opposition. If you follow the simple precautions which we have set out in your checklist, we feel that we will be able to obtain a fair and appropriate amount for your injuries. If you get any letters from anyone in connection with your case, mail or fax them to your attorney immediately.
15. Questioning If any person approaches you with respect to this accident without your attorneys permission, make complete notes regarding the incident. These notes should include the name and address of the party, a description of the person, and a narrative description of what was said or done. Under no circumstances should you answer any question(s). All questions should be referred to your attorneys office.
16. Investigation by Defendant Insurance Company Permit us to reiterate at this time that the oppositions insurance company will in all probability have a team of lawyers and investigators working diligently to counter your claim. During the course of their investigation, it is quite possible that they may attempt to contact you through various (and sometimes, devious) methods. Please do not make their jobs any easier for them by answering their questions.
We cannot emphasize too strongly that you should refrain at all times from discussing this matter with anyone--and that includes your employer, your relatives, your neighbors, and even your friends. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule.
If there are friends or neighbors or relatives who know all of the facts and circumstances surrounding the accident and can be of assistance to you, then they should be referred to this office so that their natural sympathy can be channeled into an effective asset for you.
Insurance companies pay money to claimants when they are satisfied there are both liability and damages that support a recovery. They can be expected to thoroughly investigate the facts of the accident and any past injuries or claims. The insurance company will obtain copies of all of the claimants past medical records.
The value of a case depends on the Permanent Injury, medical treatment and doctors reports Undoubtedly, you have questions as to how much your case is worth. We are going to be frank: The fact of the matter is there can be no answer to this question until we have completed the investigation in your case. Once we complete our investigation, of course, we can make a determination as to the amount of the defendants liability, if any, and even at that we will only be at a starting point. After that, we must obtain all necessary information concerning your lost wages, your disability, your partial disability, your life changes, and your prognosis. You may rest assured of one thing, however, and that is the fact that your case will not be settled below its true value, that is the fair compensation for the injuries you have received. You may also rest assured that no settlement agreement will be entered into without your consent.
The following information is taken from the old model jury charges dealing with fall downs by store customers. INVITEE - DEFINED AND GENERAL DUTY OWED An invitee is one who is permitted to enter or remain on land (or premises) for a purpose of the owner (or occupier). He/She enters by invitation, expressed or implied. The owner (or occupier) of the land (or premises) who by invitation, expressed or implied, induced persons to come upon his/her premises, is under a duty to exercise ordinary care to render the premises reasonably safe for the purposes embraced in the invitation. Thus, he/she must exercise reasonable care for the invitees safety. He/She must take such steps as are reasonable and prudent to correct or give warning of hazardous conditions or defects actually known to him/her (or his/her employees), and of hazardous conditions or defects which he/she (or his/her employees) by the exercise of reasonable care, could discover. BUSINESS INVITEE FALL DOWNS: The basic duty of a proprietor of premises to which the public is invited for business purposes of the proprietor is to exercise reasonable care to see that one who enters his/her premises upon that invitation has a reasonably safe place to do that which is within the scope of the invitation. Notes:
(1) Business Invitee: The duty owed to a business invitee is no different than the duty owed to other invitees.
(2) Construction Defects, Intrinsic and Foreign Substances: The rules dealt with in this section and subsequent sections apply mainly to those cases where injury is caused by transitory conditions, such as falls due to foreign substances or defects resulting from wear and tear or other deterioration of premises which were originally constructed properly.
Where a hazardous condition is due to defective construction or construction not in accord with applicable standards it is not necessary to prove that the owner or occupier had actual knowledge of the defect or would have become aware of the defect had he/she personally made an inspection. In such cases the owner is liable for failing to provide a safe place for the use of the invitee.
Thus, in Brody v. Albert Lipson & Sons, 17 N.J. 383 (1955), the court distinguished between a risk due to the intrinsic quality of the material used (calling it an intrinsic substance case) and a risk due to a foreign substance or extra-normal condition of the premises. There the case was submitted to the jury on the theory that the terrazzo floor was peculiarly liable to become slipper when wet by water and that defendant should have taken precautions against said risk. The court appears to reject defendants contention that there be notice, direct or imputed by proof of adequate opportunity to discover the defective condition. 17 N.J. at 389.
It may be possible to reconcile this position with the requirement of constructive notice of an unsafe condition by saying that an owner of premises is chargeable with knowledge of such hazards in construction as a reasonable inspection by an appropriate expert would reveal. See: Restatement to Torts 2d, §343, Comment f, pp. 217-218 (1965), saying that a proprietor is required to have superior knowledge of the dangers incident to facilities furnished to invitees.
Alternatively, one can view these cases as within the category of defective or hazardous conditions created by defendant or by an independent contractor for which defendant would be liable (see introductory note above).
Bozza v. Vornado, Inc., 42 N.J. 355, 359 (1954) (slip and fall on sticky, slimy substance in self-service cafeteria which inferably fell to the floor as an incident of defendants mode of operation).
Buchner v. Erie Railroad Co., 17 N.J. 283, 285-286 (1955) (trip over curbstone improperly illuminated).
Brody v. Albert Lifson & Sons, 17 N.J. 383, 389 (1955) (slip and fall on wet composition floor in store).
Bohn v. Hudson & Manhattan R. Co., 16 N.J. 180, 185 (1954) (slip on smooth stairway in railroad station).
Williams v. Morristown Memorial Hospital, 59 N.J. Super. 384, 389 (App. Div. 1960) (fall over low wire fence separating grass plot from sidewalk).
Nary v. Dover Parking Authority, 58 N.J. super. 222, 226-227 (App. Div. 1959) (fall over bumper block in parking lot).
Parmenter v. Jarvis Drug Stor, Inc., 48 N.J. Super. 507, 510 (App. Div. 1957) (slip and fall on wet linoleum near entrance of store on rainy day).
Nelson v. Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., 48 N.J. Super. 300 (App. Div. 1958) (inadequate lighting of parking lot of supermarket, fall over unknown object).
Barnard v. Trenton-New Brunswick Theatre Co., 32 N.J. Super. 551, 557 (App. Div. 1954) (fall over ladder placed in theatre lobby by workmen of independent contractor).
Ratering v. Mele, 11 N.J. Super. 211, 213 (App. Div. 1951) (slip and fall on littered stairway at entrance to restaurant).
DUTY TO INSPECT OWED TO INVITEE The duty of an owner (or occupier) of land (or premises) to make the place reasonably safe for the proper use of an invitee requires the owner or occupier to make reasonable inspection of the land (or premises) to discover hazardous conditions. Cases:
Handelman v. Cox, 39 N.J. 95, 111 (1963) (salesman showing merchandise to employees of defendant fell down cellar stairway partially obscured by carton) NOTICE OF PARTICULAR DANGER AS CONDITION OF LIABILITY If the jury members find that the land (or premises) was not in a reasonably safe condition, then, in order to recover, plaintiff must show either that the owner (or occupier) knew of the unsafe condition for a period of time prior to plaintiffs injury sufficient to permit him/her in the exercise of reasonable care to have corrected it, or that the condition had existed for a sufficient length of time prior to plaintiffs injury that in the exercise of reasonable care the owner (or occupier) should have discovered its existence and corrected it. Cases:
Tua v. Modern Homes, Inc., 64 N.J. Super. 211 (App. Div. 1960), affirmed, 33 N.J. 476 (1960) (slip and fall on small area of slipper waxlike substance in store); Parmenter v. Jarvis Drug Store, Inc., 48 N.J. Super. 507, 510 (App. Div. 1957) (slip and fall on wet linoleum near entrance of store on rainy day); Ratering v. Mele, 11 N.J. Super. 211, 213 (App. Div. 1951) (slip and fall on littered stairway at entrance to restaurant).
(1) The above charge is applicable to those cases where the defendant is not at fault for the creation of the hazard of where the hazard is not to be reasonably anticipated as an incident of defendants mode of operation. See: Maugeri v. Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, 357 F.2d 202 (3rd Cir. 1966) (dictum).
(2) An employees knowledge of the danger is imputed to his/her employer, the owner of premises. Handelman v. Cox, 39 N.J. 95, 104 (1963).
NOTICE NOT REQUIRED WHEN CONDITION IS CAUSED BY DEFENDANT If the jury members find that the land (or premises) was not in a reasonably safe condition and that the owner (or occupier) or his/her agent, servant or employee created that condition through his/her own act or omission, then, in order for plaintiff to recover, it is not necessary for the jury members also to find that the owner (or occupier) had actual or constructive notice of the particular unsafe condition.
Smith v. First National Stores, 94 N.J. Super. 462 (App. Div. 1967) (slip and fall on greasy stairway caused by sawdust tracked onto the steps by defendants employees); Plaga v. Foltis, 88 N.J. Super. 209 (App. Div. 1965) (slip and fall on fat in restaurant area traversed by bus boy); Torda v. Grand Union Co., 59 N.J. Super. 41 (App. Div. 1959) (slip and fall in self-service market on wet floor near vegetable bin). Also see: Thompson v. Giant Tiger Corp., 118 N.J.L. 10 (E. & A. 1937); Wollerman v. Grand Union Stores, Inc., 47 N.J. 426 (1956); Lewin v. Orbachs, Inc., 14 N.J. Super. 193 (App. Div. 1951); Maugeri v. Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, 357 F.2d 202 (3rd Cir. 1966).
In Wollerman v. Grand Union Stores, Inc., 47 N.J. 426, 429-430 (1966), the court held that where string beans are sold from bins on a self-service basis there is a probability that some will fall or be dropped on the floor either by defendants employees or by customers. Since plaintiff would not be in a position to prove whether a particular string bean was dropped by an employee or another customer (or how long it was on the floor) a showing of this type of operation is sufficient to put the burden on the defendant to come forward with proof that defendant did what was reasonably necessary (made periodic inspections and clean-up) in order to protect a customer against the risk of injury likely to be generated by defendants mode of operation. Presumably, however, the burden of proof remains on plaintiff to prove lack of reasonable care on defendants part. If defendant fails to produce evidence of reasonable care, the jury may infer that the fault was probably his. See also: Bozza, supra, 42 N.J. at 359.
Whether or not defendant has furnished an invitee with a reasonably safe place for his/her use may depend upon the obviousness of the condition claimed to be hazardous and the likelihood that the invitee would realize the hazard and protect himself/herself against it. Even though an unsafe condition may be observable by an invitee the jury members may find that an owner (or occupier) of premises is negligent, nevertheless, in maintaining said condition when the condition presents an unreasonable hazard to invitees in the circumstances of a particular case. If the jury members find that defendant was negligent in maintaining an unsafe condition, even though the condition would be obvious to an invitee, the fact that the condition was obvious should be considered by the jury members in determining whether the invitee was contributorily negligent (a) in proceeding in the face of a known hazard or (b) in the manner in which the invitee proceeded in the face of a known hazard.
DISTRACTION OR FORGETFULNESS OF INVITEE Even if the jury members find that plaintiff knew of the existence of the unsafe or defective condition, or that the unsafe or defective condition was so obvious that defendant had a reasonable basis to expect that an invitee would realize its existence, plaintiff may still recover if the circumstances or conditions are such that plaintiffs attention would be distracted so that he/she would not realize or would forget the location or existence of the hazard or would fail to protect himself/herself against it. Thus, even where a hazardous condition is obvious the jury members must first determine whether in the circumstances the defendant was negligent in permitting the condition to exist. Mere lapse of memory or inattention or mental abstraction at the critical moment is not an adequate excuse. One who is inattentive or forgetful of a known and obvious danger is contributorily negligent unless there is some condition or circumstance which would distract or divert the mind or attention of a reasonably prudent person. Note:
In McGrath v. American Cyanamid Co., 41 N.J. 272 (1963), the employee of a subcontractor was killed when a plank comprising a catwalk over a deep trench up-ended causing him to fall. The court held that even if the decedent had appreciated the danger that fact by itself would not have barred recovery. The court said if the danger was one which due care would not have avoided, due care might, nevertheless, require notice of warning unless the danger was known or obvious. If the danger was created by a breach of defendants duty of care, that negligence would not be dissipated merely because the decedent knew of the danger. Negligence would remain, but decedents knowledge would affect the issue of contributory negligence. The issue would remain whether decedent acted as a reasonably prudent person in view of the known risk, either by incurring the known risk (by staying on the job), or by the manner in which he proceeded in the face of that risk.
In Zentz v. Toop, 92 N.J. Super. 105, 114-115 (App. Div. 1966), affirmed o.b., 50 N.J. 250 (1967), the employee of a roofing contractor, while carrying hot tar, tripped over a guide wire supporting an air conditioning tower on a roof. The court held that even if plaintiff had observed the wires or if they were so obvious that he/she should have observed them, the question remained whether, considering the hazard and the work of the employee, he/she was entitled to more than mere knowledge of the existence of the wires or whether he/she was entitled to a warning by having the wires flagged or painted in a contrasting color. This was a fact for the jury to determine. The jury must also determine whether defendant had reason to expect that the employees attention would have been distracted as he/she worked os that he/she would forget the location of a known hazard or fail to protect himself against it. The court also held the plaintiffs knowledge of the danger would not alone bar his/her recovery, but this knowledge goes to the issue of contributory negligence.
In Ferrie v. DArc, 31 N.J. 92, 95 (1959), the court held that there was no reasonable excuse for plaintiffs forgetfulness or inattention to the fact that a railing was temporarily absent from her porch, as she undertook to throw bones to her dog, and fell to the ground because of the absence of a railing she customarily leaned upon. The court held:
When an injury results from forgetfulness or inattention to a known danger, the obvious contributory negligence is not excusable in the absence of some condition or circumstance which would divert the mind or attention of an ordinarily prudent man. Mere lapse of memory, or inattention or mental abstraction at the critical moment cannot be considered an adequate diversion. One who is inattentive to or forgetful of a known and obvious condition which contains a risk of injury is obvious condition which contains a risk of injury to guilty of contributory negligence as a matter of law, unless some diversion of the type referred to above is shown to have existed at the time.
The following discussion in 2 Harper & James, Torts, §27.13, pp. 1489 et seq., (1956), cited with approval in Zentz v. Toop, supra, 92 N.J. Super. at 112, may be helpful in understanding the principles involved in the above charges:
Once an occupier has learned of dangerous conditions on his/her premises, a serious question arises as to whether he/she may--as a matter of law under all circumstances--discharge all further duty to his/her invitees by simply giving them a warning adequate to enable them to avoid the harm. A good many authorities, including the Restatement, take the position that he/she may. But this proposition is a highly doubtful one both on principle and authority. The alternative would be a requirement of due care to make the conditions reasonably safe--a requirement which might well be satisfied by warning or obviousness in any given case, but which would not be so satisfied invariably.
* * *
1. Defendants duty. People can hurt themselves on almost any condition of the premises. That is certainly true of an ordinary flight of stairs. But it takes more than this to make a condition unreasonably dangerous. If people who are likely to encounter a condition may be expected to take perfectly good care themselves without further precautions, then the condition is not unreasonably dangerous because the likelihood of harm is slight. This is true of the flight of ordinary stairs in a usual place in the daylight. It is also true of ordinary curbing along a sidewalk, doors or windows in a house, counters in a store, stones and slopes in a New England field, and countless other things which are common in our everyday experience. It may also be true of less common and obvious conditions which lurk in a place where visitors would expect to find such dangers. The ordinary person can use or encounter all of these things safely if he/she is fully aware of their presence at the time. And if they have no unusual features and are in a place where he/she would naturally look for them, he/she may be expected to take care of himself if they are plainly visible. In such cases it is enough if the condition is obvious, or is made obvious (e.g., by illumination). * * *
On the other hand, the fact that a condition is obvious--i.e., it would be clearly visible to one whose attention was directed to it--does not always remove all unreasonable danger. It may fail to do so in two lines of cases. In one line of cases, people would not in fact expect to find the condition where it is, or they are likely to have their attention distracted as they approach it, or, for some other reason, they are in fact not likely to see it, though it could be readily and safely avoided if they did. There may be negligence in creating or maintaining such a condition even though it is physically obvious; slight obstructions to travel on a sidewalk an unexpected step in a store aisle or between a passenger elevator and the landing furnish examples. Under the circumstances of any particular case, an additional warning may, as a matter of fact, suffice to remove the danger, as where a customer, not hurried by crowds or some emergency, and in possession of his/her facilities, is told to watch his/her step or step up at the appropriate time. When this is the case, the warning satisfies the requirement of due care and is incompatible with defendants negligence. Here again, plaintiffs recovery would be prevented by that fact no matter how careful he/she was. But under ordinary negligence principles the question is properly one of fact for the jury except in the clearest situations.
In the second line of cases the condition of danger is such that it cannot be encountered with reasonable safety even if the danger is known and appreciated. An icy flight of stairs or sidewalk, a slippery floor, a defective crosswalk, or a walkway near an exposed high tension wire may furnish examples. So may the less dangerous kind of condition if surrounding circumstances are likely to force plaintiff upon it, or if, for any other reason, his/her knowledge is not likely to be a protection against danger. It is in these situations that the bit of the Restatements adequate warning rule is felt. Here, if people are in fact likely to encounter the danger, the duty of reasonable care to make conditions reasonably safe is not satisfied by a simple warning; the probability of harm in spite of such precaution is still unreasonably great. And the books are full of cases in which defendants, owing such a duty, are held liable for creating or maintaining a perfectly obvious danger of which plaintiffs are fully aware. The Restatement, however, would deny liability here because the occupier need not invite visitors, and if he/she does, he/she may condition the invitation on any terms he/she chooses, so long as there is full disclosure of them. If the invitee wishes to come on those terms, he/she assumes the risk.
The Restatement view is wrong in policy. The law has never freed landownership or possession from all restrictions or obligations imposed in the social interest. The possessors duty to use care towards those outside the land is of long standing. And many obligations are imposed for the benefit of people who voluntarily come upon the land. For the invitee, the occupier must make reasonable inspection and give warning of hidden perils. . . But this should not be conclusive. Reasonable expectations may raise duties, but they should not always limit them. The gist of the matter is unreasonable probability of harm in fact. And when that is great enough in spite of full disclosure, it is carrying the quasi-sovereignty of the landowner pretty far to let him ignore it to the risk of life and limb.
So far as authority goes, the orthodox theory is getting to be a pretty feeble reed for defendants to lean on. It is still frequently stated, though often by way of dictum. On the other hand, some cases have simply--though unostentatiously--broken with tradition and held defendant liable to an invitee in spite of his/her knowledge of the danger, when the danger was great enough and could have been feasibly remedied. Other cases stress either the reasonable assumption of safety which the invitee may make or the likelihood that his/her attention will be distracted, in order to cut down the notion of what is obvious or the adequacy of warning. And the latter is often a jury question even under the Restatement rule. It is not surprising, then, that relatively few decisions have depended on the Restatement rule alone for denying liability.
2. Contributory Negligence. . . But there are several situations in which a plaintiff will not be barred by contributory negligence although he/she encountered a known danger. . . For another, it is not necessarily negligent for a plaintiff knowingly and deliberately to encounter a danger which it is negligent for defendant to maintain. Thus a traveler may knowingly use a defective sidewalk, or a tenant a defective common stairway, without being negligent if the use was reasonable under all the circumstances.
Conclusion We appreciate that this is a great deal of information to absorb. However, we are certain that our clients appreciate having this information from the outset. Each request and bit of information given here represents an important part in recovering full value for your injury. Therefore, we respectfully request your full cooperation. If you have questions or concerns regarding these instructions, we encourage you to feel free to contact the office at any time. These situations show that the invitee will not always be barred by his/her self-exposure to known dangers on the premises.
is important to clean your wounds. Additionally, you should seek medical attention and advice regarding rabies treatment. If you are not familiar with the dog or its owner, contact your local animal control board and report the incident. Animal control officers may be able to locate the dog and determine its rabies vaccination status. See your doctor if you have been injured by a dog or other animal. In addition, it may be important to contact us to help you protect your legal rights. Please keep in mind that there are time limits within which you must commence suit. If someone hops your fence, trespasses on your land, and your dog bites him, you are not liable. However, New Jersey does impose strict liability if your dog bites someone if it is loose or if the person bitten was in a public place or permitted on your property. NJSA 4:19-16 provides: The owner of any dog which shall bite a person while such person is on or in a public place, or lawfully on or in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, shall be liable for such damages as may be suffered by the person bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of such dog or the owners knowledge of such viciousness. For the purpose of the New Jersey Statute 4:19-16, a person is lawfully upon the private property of such owner when he is on the property in the performance of any duty imposed upon him by the laws of this state or the laws or postal regulations of the United States, or when he is on such property upon the invitation, express or implied, of the owner thereof. Thus, in New Jersey, a dog does not get two bites. A person can even be liable if your dog or other pet or animal injures someone although not biting it. Being jumped on or chased by a dog could be grounds for a civil liability. It is also strict liability if any of your dangerous animals injure someone, i.e. pet, buffalo or tiger.
For the purpose of this state law, a person is lawfully upon the private property of such owner when he/she is on the property in the performance of any duty imposed upon him by the laws of this state or the laws or postal regulations of the United States, or when he/she is on such property upon the invitation, express or implied, of the owner thereof. In deciding whether the plaintiff was on or in a public place or lawfully on or in a private place, including the property of the defendant, you should note that anyone whose presence is expressly or impliedly permitted on the property is entitled to the protection of the statute. The permission extends to all areas where the plaintiff may reasonably believe to be included within its scope. DeRobertis v. Randazzo, 94 N.J. 144 (1983). In a case such as this where the defendant has raised the negligence of the plaintiff as a defense, the defendant has the burden of proof. This means that the defendant has the burden to prove plaintiffs unreasonable and voluntary exposure to a known risk. This means that the plaintiff knew the dog had a propensity to bite either because of the dogs known viciousness or because of the plaintiffs deliberate acts intended to incite the animal. For example, one who beats or torments a dog has no call upon the owner if in self-defense the dog bites back. Budai v. Teague, 212 N.J. Super. 522 (Law Div. 1986); see also Dranow v. Kolmar, 92 N.J.L. 114, 116-17 (1918). In conclusion, a New Jersey dog does not get two bites.
The law imposes upon the landlord or owner of any commercial or business property the duty to use reasonable care to see to it that the sidewalks and common areas are reasonably safe for residents and members of the public who are using them. In other words, the law says that the landlord or owner of a commercial property must exercise reasonable care to see to it that the condition of hallways and sidewalks are reasonably safe and does not subject pedestrians to an unreasonable risk of harm. The concept of reasonable care requires the landlord or owner of a commercial property to take action with regard to conditions within a reasonable period of time after the owner becomes aware of the dangerous condition or, in the exercise of reasonable care, should have become aware of it.

Casino crimes

Compiled by Kenneth A. Vercammen, Past Chair NJ State Bar Municipal Court and DWI Section
Our office represents people charged with criminal and disorderly persons offenses. We provide representation throughout New Jersey. Criminal charges can cost you. If convicted of a criminal offense, you face prison, high fines, Probation over 18 months and other penalties. Don't give up! Our Law Office can provide experienced attorney representation for criminal matters. Our website KennethVercammen.com provides information on criminal offenses we can be retained to represent people.
According to the NJ Judiciary Website http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/criminal/crproc.htm#indictment, the Criminal Division of Superior Court manages criminal complaints from the time they are lodged to their resolution or disposition. The accused, or defendant is charged with an offense as a result of a formal complaint issued by a law enforcement agent or a citizen who believes an offense has been committed against their person or property. It can also result from an indictment by a panel of citizens gathered to consider evidence, called a grand jury. Arrests can occur at the scene of a crime or based on warrants or sworn statements ordering a court appearance. All arrests must be based on probable cause, or reasonable grounds to believe that an offense has been committed, and the defendant may have committed the offense. Complaints state the reasons for the charge, and refer to offenses listed in the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice (Title 2C) that includes all of the laws against criminal behavior.
Criminal offenses are heard, or considered in Superior Court, and are more serious than non-criminal charges heard in municipal courts where the offense occurred. Defendants found guilty, or convicted of crimes face more serious consequences, with punishments spanning probation supervision and fines to the loss of liberty through confinement for a year or more. Crimes are classified by degree. Degrees range from first to fourth degree offenses. A First degree crime carries the potential penalty of 10-20 years in prison. A Second degree crime carries a potential penalty of 5-10 years. Defendants who are convicted of first and second degree crimes face a presumptive term of incarceration. It is assumed that they will be sentenced to serve time in prison. A Third degree crime may result in 3-5 years if convicted, while Fourth degree crimes carry a potential penalty of up to 18 months in jail. There is a presumption of non-custodial sentences on 3rd and 4th degree offenses.
Complaints heard in municipal courts are disorderly persons offenses or petty disorderly persons violations, which carry less restrictive punishments upon conviction. Disorderly persons offenses may be sentenced to up to 6 months in a county jail. Petty disorderly convictions may render up to 30 days in jail.
First Appearance
Once a complaint is issued, defendants are either arrested or issued a summons or notice to appear in municipal or Superior Court on a first appearance. If they fail to appear, a warrant may be issued for the accuseds arrest by a judge if there is proof of service, or evidence that the accused received the summons or notice and failed to appear. At the first court appearance, defendants are advised of their rights. Their bail is reviewed.
Right To Counsel
At their first appearance defendants are advised of their right to counsel. This means that they are entitled to have an attorney represent them and answer the charges.
In making indigence determinations, Criminal Division staff consider defendants ability to post bail, the amount of bail posted, the willingness of friends and family members to pay for an attorney, and any factor related to a defendants claim of impoverishment. They review tax returns, credit and wage records and any other relevant information regarding the ability of defendants to hire their own attorneys.
Pre-Indictment Events Following the filing of a complaint and the first court appearance, the prosecutors office in each county determines whether to pursue a criminal complaint. Prosecutors determine if cases have merit and sufficient evidence to pursue a conviction. In most counties, the prosecutors Case Screening Unit reviews police reports and interviews victims and witnesses to determine if the original charges will be prosecuted. If there is insufficient evidence, the charges are downgraded to disorderly persons offenses and remanded or sent to the municipal courts for a hearing or dismissed. In some counties, prosecutors pre-screen potential Superior Court filings before a complaint is signed.
The Grand Jury
If a criminal case has not been, downgraded, diverted or dismissed, the prosecutor will present the case to a grand jury for an indictment. The grand jury is composed of a group of citizens who have been selected from voter registration, drivers license and tax lists. The grand jury considers evidence presented by the county prosecutor and determines if there is sufficient evidence to formally charge defendants and require them to respond to the charge(s). An indictment is not a finding of guilt. Generally, neither the accused nor their attorneys are present. Witnesses normally testify regarding the crime. After considering evidence, if a majority of the 23 jurors vote to indict defendants, they must face further criminal proceedings. The return of an indictment is called a true bill. If a majority finds the evidence to be insufficient to indict, the grand jury enters a no bill and the charge(s) are dismissed. The jury may, however, decide to charge defendants with a less serious offense, to be downgraded or remanded to the municipal court. The accused must appear in municipal court to face a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons charge.
The Indictment Process The grand jury will consider evidence presented by the county prosecutor and determine if there is sufficient evidence to formally charge the defendant and oblige him to respond to the charge(s). The indictment is not a finding of guilt or a conviction. The finding is a true bill that triggers further proceedings in the Criminal Superior Court. If a majority finds the evidence to be insufficient to indict, the grand jury enters a no bill and the charge(s) are dismissed. The jury may, however, decide to charge the defendant with a less serious offense, to be heard in municipal court. In this instance, the offense has been downgraded or remanded. The accused must appear in municipal court to face a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons charge.
The Pre-Arraignment Conference and The Arraignment
Within twenty-one days of the return of an indictment, a pre-arraignment conference is held. This pre-arraignment conference is scheduled by Criminal Division Staff. Defendants may wish to apply for public defender representation at this point if they are not yet represented. Prior to this conference, discovery or evidence is available to defense counsel. This exchange of evidence provides the defense with an opportunity to review the evidence the prosecution intends to use against the accused prior to the conference. After reviewing the discovery provided prior to the pre arraignment conference, defendants may decide to apply for Pretrial Intervention, or to enter plea bargain negotiations. Defendants may also indicate their intention to plead guilty to the charge for which they were indicted.
Arraignment/Status Conference Standards
A formal arraignment occurs no later than 50 days after an indictment. Upon notification by the Criminal Division, defendants must appear and face formal notification of their charges. They may plead guilty at this point, either to the charges listed in the indictment, or to revised charges resulting from plea negotiations. If plea negotiations are ongoing, the parties may review the status of the plea offer. Defendants may also opt to apply for the Pretrial Intervention program at this juncture, or be admitted into the program if they have not applied prior to arraignment. If a guilty plea is entered at the formal arraignment, Criminal Division judges order a presentence investigation to be conducted by Criminal Division case supervisors. Sentencing will follow the presentence investigation, generally 4 to 6 weeks after convictions. Status Conferences and the Pretrial Conference
Defendants who have pleaded not guilty at this point may continue plea negotiations or preparation for trial. Pretrial case resolutions may occur at a status conference, where a defendant may decide to enter a guilty plea with or without a negotiated plea bargain.
At Pretrial Conferences, defendants may enter a guilty plea to the charges. At the Pretrial Conference, there is a plea cutoff date, after which no further plea negotiations can occur. If no agreement to plead guilty is reached, the matter will proceed to trial. Criminal Division staff track conferences to ensure that cases are moving without undue delays. The Administrative Office of the Courts evaluates statistics entered by Criminal Division staff in each criminal court to stay abreast of overall case movements statewide. The Criminal Practice Division assists local court staff to address backlogs if they should occur.
Conclusion It is well established that the prosecution of a defendant is a criminal proceeding. In such a proceeding the burden of proof is upon the state to establish all elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Defense counsel must subpoena its necessary witnesses and prepare for trial. Never attempt to represent yourself if you are facing serious charges. Criminal offenses carry substantial penalties which will effect you for the rest of your life. The space limits of this article do not allow detailed explanation of the extensive caselaw on criminal offenses. Other defenses are explained in greater details in other articles on KennethVercammen.com.
3:7-1. Entitling of Papers

The indictment and all subsequent papers in connection therewith shall be entitled in the Superior Court.
Note: Source-R.R. 3:4-1(b).
3:7-2. Use of Indictment or Accusation

A crime punishable by death shall be prosecuted by indictment. Every other crime shall be prosecuted by indictment unless the defendant, after having been advised of the right to indictment, shall waive the right in a signed writing, in which case the defendant may be tried on accusation. Such accusation shall be prepared by the prosecuting attorney and entitled and proceeded upon in the Superior Court. Nothing herein contained, however, shall be construed as limiting the criminal jurisdiction of a municipal court over indictable offenses provided by law and these rules.
Note: Source-R.R. 3:4-2(a)(b). Amended August 28, 1979 to be effective September 1, 1979; amended July 13, 1994 to be effective September 1, 1994.
3:7-3. Nature and Contents of Indictment or Accusation

(a) Nature and Contents Generally. The indictment or accusation shall be a written statement of the essential facts constituting the crime charged, need not contain a formal commencement and shall be signed by the prosecuting attorney. The indictment shall be endorsed as a true bill by the foreperson and conclude: against the peace of this State, the government and dignity of the same. Allegations made in one count of the indictment or accusation may be incorporated by reference in another count. It may be alleged in a single count either that the means by which the defendant committed the offense are unknown or that the defendant committed it by one or more specified means. An indictment or accusation or any count thereof charging the violation of a statute or statutes shall state the official or customary citation thereof, but error in the citation or its omission shall not be ground for dismissal of the indictment or accusation or for reversal of a conviction if the error or omission did not prejudicially mislead the defendant. Surplusage in the indictment or accusation may be stricken by the court on defendants motion.
(b) Indictment for Murder or Manslaughter. Every indictment for murder shall specify whether the act is murder as defined by N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3(a)(1), (2) or (3) and whether the defendant is alleged: (1) to have committed the act by his or her own conduct or (2) to have procured the commission of the offense by payment or promise of payment, of anything of pecuniary value or (3) to be the leader of a drug trafficking network, as defined in N.J.S.A.2C:35-3, and who, in furtherance of a conspiracy enumerated in N.J.S.A. 2C:35-3, commanded or by threat or promise solicited the commission of the offense. In every indictment for aggravated manslaughter or manslaughter, it is sufficient to charge that the defendant committed aggravated manslaughter or manslaughter contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:11-4.
Note: Source-R.R. 3:4-3(a)(b)(c), 3:4-4. Paragraphs (a) and (b) amended August 28, 1979 to be effective September 1, 1979; paragraph (b) amended September 28, 1982 to be effective immediately; paragraph (b) amended July 13, 1993 to be effective immediately; paragraphs (a) and (b) amended July 13, 1994 to be effective September 1, 1994.
3:7-4. Amendment of Indictment or Accusation

The court may amend the indictment or accusation to correct an error in form or the description of the crime intended to be charged or to charge a lesser included offense provided that the amendment does not charge another or different offense from that alleged and the defendant will not be prejudiced thereby in his or her defense on the merits. Such amendment may be made on such terms as to postponing the trial, to be had before the same or another jury, as the interest of justice requires.
Note: Source-R.R. 3:4-5. Amended August 28, 1979 to be effective September 1, 1979; amended July 13, 1994 to be effective September 1, 1994.
3:7-5. Bill of Particulars

A bill of particulars shall be ordered by the court if the indictment or accusation is not sufficiently specific to enable the defendant to prepare a defense. The defendant shall move therefore pursuant to Rule 3:10-2. The application shall point out clearly the particulars sought by the defense. The prosecutor shall furnish the bill of particulars within 10 days after the order of the court. Further particulars may be ordered when a demand therefor is promptly made. A bill of particulars may be amended at any time, subject to such conditions as the interest of justice requires. Any particulars that have been furnished to the defendant pursuant to R. 3:13-3 and 4 shall not be subject to an application pursuant to this rule.
Note: Source-R.R. 3:4-6; amended June 29, 1990, to be effective September 4, 1990; amended July 13, 1994 and December 9, 1994, to be effective January 1, 1995.
3:7-6. Joinder of Offenses

Two or more offenses may be charged in the same indictment or accusation in a separate count for each offense if the offenses charged are of the same or similar character or are based on the same act or transaction or on 2 or more acts or transactions connected together or constituting parts of a common scheme or plan. Relief from prejudicial joinder shall be afforded as providedby R. 3:15-2.
Note: Source-R.R. 3:4-7; amended August 28, 1979 to be effective September 1, 1979.
3:7-7. Joinder of Defendants

Two or more defendants may be charged in the same indictment or accusation if they are alleged to have participated in the same act or transaction or in the same series of acts or transactions constituting an offense or offenses. Such defendants may be charged in one or more counts together or separately and all of the defendants need not be charged in each count. The disposition of the indictment or accusation as to one or more of several defendants joined in the same indictment or accusation shall not affect the right of the State to proceed against the other defendants. Relief from prejudicial joinder shall be afforded as provided by R. 3:15-2.
Note: Source-R.R. 3:4-8.
3:7-8. Issuance of Warrant or Summons Upon Indictment or Accusation

Upon the return of an indictment or the filing of an accusation a summons or warrant shall be issued in accordance with R. 3:3-1 by the criminal division manager as designee of the deputy clerk of the Superior Court in the manner provided by law for each defendant named in the indictment or accusation who is not under bail. The criminal division manager as designee of the deputy clerk of the Superior Court, upon request, shall issue more than one warrant or summons for the same defendant. If the defendant fails to appear in response to a summons, a warrant shall issue.
If a summons is issued upon indictment to a defendant who has not been previously held to answer a complaint, the defendant shall undergo all post-arrest identification procedures that are required by law upon arrest, on the return date of the summons, or upon written request of the appropriate law enforcement agency.
Note: Source-R.R. 3:4-9. Amended July 22, 1983 to be effective September 12, 1983; amended July 13, 1994 to be effective January 1, 1995.
3:7-9. Form of Warrant and Summons

The warrant shall contain the name of the defendant or, if the defendants name is unknown, any name or description by which the defendant can be identified with reasonable certainty, shall describe the offense charged in the indictment or accusation and shall command that the defendant be arrested and brought before the court. Conditions of pretrial release shall be fixed by the court and endorsed thereon, and in such case the sheriff or warden may take any bail. The summons shall be in the same form as the warrant except that it shall be directed to thedefendant and require the defendant to appear to plead before the court at a stated time and place. The summons shall also state that if the defendant fails to so appear, a warrant for defendants arrest shall issue.
Note: Source-R.R. 3:4-10(a)(b); amended July 13, 1994 to be effective January 1, 1995.
3:7-10. Execution of Service; Return

(a) Execution of Warrant. The warrant shall be executed in accordance with R. 3:3-3.
(b) Summons to an Individual. The summons shall be served upon an individual in accordance with R. 4:4-4.
(c) Summons to a Corporation. Service of a summons upon a defendant corporation, municipal or otherwise, shall be made in accordance with R. 4:4-4. If the defendant corporation does not appear, the court shall order the clerk to enter an appearance for said corporation and endorse the plea of not guilty on the indictment or accusation, and further proceedings may then be had thereon in the same manner as if the corporation had appeared and so pleaded. A plea to an indictment or accusation by a defendant corporation shall be made by an attorney of this State.
(d) Service Upon a Corporation by Publication. If the summons directed to a corporation is returned not served and it appears to the satisfaction of the court that the summons could not be served, the court shall by order direct the corporation to cause its appearance and plea to be entered by a day certain. A copy of such order shall within 5 days after the date thereof be published in a newspaper in this State once, at least 2 weeks preceding the day certain so specified. If the defendant corporation does not appear within the time specified by the order, the court, if satisfied that publication has been duly made, shall direct the clerk to enter an appearance and a plea of not guilty for the defendant corporation, and thereupon further proceedings may be had on the indictment or accusation as provided by these rules.
(e) Return. The officer executing a warrant shall make prompt return thereof to the court, and at the request of the prosecuting attorney any unexecuted warrant shall be returned and cancelled. The officer serving a summons shall make return thereof on or before the return day. At the request of the prosecuting attorney made at any time while the indictment or accusation is pending, a warrant returned unexecuted and not cancelled or a summons returned unserved or a duplicate thereof may be delivered by the clerk to the sheriff or other authorized officer for execution or service.
Note: Source-R.R. 3:4-11, 3:4-12(a)(b), 3:4-13. Paragraph (d) amended July 7, 1971 to be effective September 13, 1971.
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About the Author Kenneth A. Vercammen is a trial attorney in Edison, Middlesex County, New Jersey. He often lectures for the New Jersey State Bar Association, New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education and Middlesex County College on personal injury, criminal / municipal court law, and drunk driving. He has published 125 articles in national and New Jersey publications on municipal court and litigation topics. He has served as a Special Acting Prosecutor in seven different cities and towns in New Jersey and also successfully defended hundreds of individuals facing Municipal Court and Criminal Court charges. In his private practice, he has devoted a substantial portion of his professional time to the preparation and trial of litigated matters. He has appeared in Courts throughout New Jersey several times each week on many personal injury matters, Municipal Court trials, matrimonial hearings, and contested administrative law hearings. Since 1985, his primary concentration has been on litigation matters. Mr. Vercammen gained other legal experiences as the Confidential Law Clerk to the Court of Appeals of Maryland (Supreme Court), with the Delaware County, PA District Attorney Office handling Probable Cause Hearings, Middlesex County Probation Dept as a Probation Officer, and an Executive Assistant to Scranton District Magistrate, Thomas Hart, in Scranton, PA. KENNETH VERCAMMEN & ASSOCIATES, PC ATTORNEY AT LAW 2053 Woodbridge Ave. Edison, NJ 08817 (Phone) 732-572-0500 (Fax) 732-572-0030