State v. Greene, 242 N.J. 530 (2020)


Pashman Stein Walder Hayden P.C. submitted a brief and argued before the New Jersey Supreme Court on behalf of amicus curiae Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers of New Jersey. In this case, the New Jersey Supreme Court was faced with the issue of whether a prosecutor’s opening statement containing a detailed summary of a witness’ testimony of a confession to murder she allegedly heard deprived the defendants of their right to a fair trial when the witness recanted and refused to testify.

The appellate court overturned the convictions because the opening statement was “too prejudicial” and the instruction to the jury was “woefully inadequate” and “could not unring the bell.” The New Jersey Supreme Court granted certification.

Pashman Stein attorney Alan Silber argued to the Supreme Court that the alleged confession was “a powerful and indelible communication that could not be erased from the juror’s minds.” Pashman Stein argued that the prosecutor’s statement violated the Confrontation Clause of the U.S. and New Jersey Constitutions and asked the court to disregard the good faith of the prosecutor in seeking a curative instruction to the jury since New Jersey jurisprudence warns about the dangers of providing too much detail in an opening statement that may not materialize.

The New Jersey Supreme Court affirmed the judgement of the Appellate Division and held that the telling of incriminating statements was not likely to be forgotten by the jury and therefore the defendant was entitled to a new trial.

Our firm is proud of the results it has achieved for clients, some of which are noted here.  Of course, each legal matter is unique on many levels, and past successes are not a guarantee of results in any other pending or future matters.


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