State v. Thompson, 250 N.J. 556 (2022)


Michael J. Zoller argued before the New Jersey Supreme Court on behalf of amicus curiae ACDL-NJ regarding the beginning of the running of the five-year statute of limitations under N.J.S.A. 2C:1-6c when a defendant is identified via the use of DNA evidence. Despite the state being in possession of the two elements necessary to identify the defendant in 2004, the state, due solely to its own decisions, did not definitively match the defendant’s DNA to DNA recovered at the scene until 2016. We argued that the statute of limitations should be read narrowly for the protection of defendants and should begin to run the moment the state is in possession of the DNA taken from the scene and the comparable DNA sample is collected from the defendant. The New Jersey Supreme Court agreed, holding that the statute of limitations begins to run when the state obtains DNA samples and has the technology necessary to make the match, even if they have not actually done so. CJ Griffin co-authored the amicus brief.

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