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04/05/18: Cottman v. Board of Review - In this published unemployment decision, the Appellate Division reversed the disqualification imposed by the New Jersey Department of Labor for leaving work voluntarily without good cause attributable to the work. Just before Ms. Cottman was to begin her workday, her babysitter unexpectedly quit, leaving her without child care for her three disabled children. She attempted to find a replacement to work her shift, but she was unsuccessful. (Read more)

03/16/18: State v. Terry, N.J. Super (Albin, J.) (79 pp.) The state appealed from the appellate division's reversal of the trial court's denial of defendant's motion to suppress evidence found in a search of his vehicle. Police officers stopped defendant's vehicle after it ran a stop sign and almost struck the patrol car. Defendant initially failed to stop when officers activated their lights and sirens, eventually pulling into a gas station. Officers blocked in defendant's vehicle, and with weapons drawn ordered defendant to show his hands, which defendant ignored. The officers then ordered defendant to exit his vehicle, with defendant slow to comply. The officers then asked defendant for the vehicle's registration and insurance; when defendant failed to respond, one officer searched the vehicle's glovebox, observing a handgun on the passenger floorboard. The trial court denied defendant's motion to suppress the handgun, ruling that because defendant failed to produce his vehicle's registration and insurance, the officers had the right to search for those documents where they are typically kept, and concluded that the officer observed the handgun pursuant to the plain view doctrine. On appeal from a jury conviction, the appellate division reversed, ruling that the warrantless search of defendant's vehicle was unconstitutional. The court reversed the appellate division, ruling that where a driver failed to comply with a reasonable opportunity to produce a vehicle's registration, officers could conduct a limited search in places where a vehicle's registration would typically be kept, unless officers could otherwise readily determine that the driver or any passengers were the vehicle's lawful possessor. The court found that defendant's failure to produce the vehicle's registration, in combination with his behavior, raised a reasonable suspicion that the vehicle defendant was driving was stolen. In a dissenting opinion, Chief Justice Rabner noted that because officers had access to electronic vehicle registration record, there would be few circumstances justifying a warrantless credentials search.

03/01/18: State v. A.M. - An important published decision on language access by the Appellate Division finding that defendant whose primary language was Spanish was not provided adequate interpretation by a bilingual police officer who served as defendant’s interpreter. The interrogation was conducted with a mix of English and Spanish and the officer testified that he had never been formally trained or certified as an interpreter. The Appellate Division found that defendant’s waiver of his Miranda rights was not knowing, intelligent or voluntary because of the quality of the interpretation.