New Jersey v. Nance

In consolidated sentencing appeals, the issue before the New Jersey Supreme Court was whether an amendment to the Graves Act, N.J.S.A.2C:43-6.2 (section 6.2), which authorized a prosecutor to move before the assignment judge for a waiver of the Graves Act's mandatory minimum terms of incarceration for certain first-time offenders, was properly applied in defendants sentencing proceedings. The Court also considered whether sentencing judges have the discretion to elect one of the two alternative sentences set forth in section 6.2: to place the defendant on probation . . . or reduce to one year the mandatory minimum term of imprisonment during which the defendant will be ineligible for parole. After review, the Supreme Court concluded section 6.2 was misapplied in defendants' sentencing proceedings and therefore defendants should have been resentenced. The assignment judge, not the sentencing judge, has the authority to decide whether a defendant will be sentenced to a term of probation or a term of incarceration with a one-year period of parole ineligibility. If the defendant has been convicted of a first-degree or second-degree Graves Act offense, the assignment judge (or designee) must consider the presumption of incarceration prescribed by N.J.S.A.2C:44-1(d) when he or she chooses between the probationary and one-year mandatory minimum sentences envisioned by section 6.2. View "New Jersey v. Nance" on Justia Law