State v. Higgs, 253 N.J. 333 (2023)


CJ Griffin argued before the New Jersey Supreme Court on behalf of amicus curiae ACDL-NJ regarding the relevancy of evidence about past internal affairs investigations into the police officer who shot defendant, the admissibility of defendant’s prior convictions under N.J.R.E. 609, and the admissibility of testimony of a detective who was not present at the scene. The ACDL emphasized the importance of access to internal affairs records to a defendant’s right to confrontation, and argued that the existing Appellate Division precedent for how defendants can access internal affairs records was unduly burdensome. Agreeing with ACDL-NJ that the prior standard for defendants to access internal affair records was too stringent, the Court adopted a new relevancy standard for defendants' motions to compel disclosure of officers' internal affairs files going forward. Here, the defendant would meet a relevancy standard, and thus certain records should have been disclosed to defense counsel for use during cross-examination. The defendant's conviction was ultimately reversed on all three grounds.

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