Categories
In The Courts News

Lindenwold Man Admits Trafficking High-Dosage Oxycodone Pills as Part of Camden & Gloucester City Drug Rings

CAMDEN, N.J. – A Camden County, New Jersey, man admitted on July 7, 2020 that he bought and sold 80 milligram oxycodone pills as part of his role in drug trafficking operations based in Gloucester City and Camden, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Wayne Muse, 73, of Lindenwold, New Jersey, pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge Renée Marie Bumb to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute a quantity of oxycodone and one count of distributing and possessing with intent to distribute a quantity of oxycodone.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Muse and others, including Rocco DePoder and Erick Bell, allegedly agreed to distribute oxycodone in South Jersey between January and March 2020.

On Feb. 13 and 14, 2020, Muse communicated with DePoder using the telephone – in communications that were intercepted during a wiretap investigation led by the FBI – and arranged to sell DePoder 60 80 mg. oxycodone pills, which Muse planned to purchase from an individual identified as “Seller-1.” On Feb. 14, 2020, DePoder paid Muse $600, and Muse used $300 of that money to buy the 60 oxycodone pills from Seller-1. Muse then provided the 60 oxycodone pills to DePoder, keeping the remaining $300. Between January and March 2020, Muse also sold oxycodone pills to Bell.

Each count of the information carries a maximum prison term of 20 years and a maximum fine of $1 million.

Others, including DePoder and Bell, were charged in criminal complaints in March 2020.  Their cases are pending, and they are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of FBI Philadelphia Division, South Jersey Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael J. Driscoll; the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-Office of the Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Scott J. Lampert; the Camden County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Gilbert L. Wilson; the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, under the direction of Director Jared M. Maples; the Camden County Police Department, under the direction of Chief Joseph Wysocki; and the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Bethanne M. Dinkins, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea. He also thanked the FBI Newark Division, New Jersey State Police, Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for their assistance.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gabriel J. Vidoni of the Office’s Camden branch and Sara F. Merin of the Newark Office.

Categories
In The Courts Recent News

Cumberland/ Gloucester/Salem Vicinage Offers Time Payment Modifications in Municipal Courts


The Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem Vicinage has implemented a program in all municipal courts in Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties for court users seeking modify their time payment schedule.

This program of the vicinage’s Municipal Division allows litigants to submit an online request to have their time payment modified or request alternative options, if applicable.

To submit a request, a defendant with a time payment in a Cumberland, Gloucester, or Salem municipal court can send an email to: v15munidiv.mbx@njcourts.gov.

The email must contain the following information:
• Name
• Date of birth
• Court
• Ticket/Complaint number
• The monthly amount they are able to pay
• Request to review their time payment
• Any additional information they believe will be relevant for the judge to review

Time payments will be reviewed by the municipal court judge and a response will be forwarded to the defendant via email. A copy of the updated time payment also will be mailed directly by the court.

For additional information, contact Ashley Wolk, municipal division manager, at 856-878-5050, ext. 15206 or ashley.wolk@njcourts.gov.

Categories
In The Courts News

New Jersey Courts Enter Second Phase of Post-Pandemic Plan

On June 22, 2020, New Jersey courts entered Phase 2 of the Judiciary’s Post-Pandemic Plan, which provides for a limited number of employees to return to court facilities while still restricting most in-person events.

In Phase 2, 10 to 15 percent of judges and staff return to court facilities and certain matters that cannot proceed remotely may be conducted onsite.

Other than judges and staff, only attorneys and those members of the public who have scheduled court matters or appointments are permitted in the buildings. Those who have scheduled court matters or an appointment must wear a mask in the building and must maintain 6 feet of distance from others wherever possible.

Those who are sick or believe they have the COVID-19 virus should not enter any court facilities.

Members of the public seeking court services should contact the court by phone or email without entering the building.

Self-represented litigants may continue to receive services remotely by contacting the ombudsman’s office in their vicinage.

Categories
Covid-19 In The Courts Recent News

AG Grewal Releases Guidance Addressing Municipal Court Prosecutions of COVID-19 Related Offenses

TRENTON – On June 17, 2020, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today released guidance addressing prosecutions of COVID-19 related offenses, which is designed to ensure that there is accuracy, uniformity and consistency by municipal prosecutors and in municipal courts throughout the state.

“While the vast majority of New Jersey residents followed the Governor’s Executive Orders and helped us to slow the spread of COVID-19 and save lives, and continue to do so, some did not,” said Attorney General Grewal. “We have a duty as law enforcement officers to bring violators to justice, and to do so in a way that ensures uniformity. We also have a responsibility to exercise discretion in the interests of justice, including to use diversion programs and community court if available. My guidance today advises municipal prosecutors on the best ways to achieve those important goals of uniformity and consistency, deterrence, and responsible discretion.”

The guidance emphasizes that no municipal prosecutor may adopt a categorical policy or practice of refusing to enforce COVID-19 related charges, but provides a significant number of options for the exercise of prosecutorial discretion in individual cases to achieve the interests of justice. The guidance notes that a categorical policy of refusing to enforce such charges would be inappropriate because each charge had already been reviewed and approved by a designated county prosecutor or assistant prosecutor—as the Attorney General previously required—and also that such a policy would lead to disparate administration of these laws.

The guidance does provide municipal prosecutors with significant options for using discretion in appropriate cases involving violations of the Governor’s Executive Orders.

The guidance makes clear that prosecutors may accept a plea to a lesser or other offense, move to amend an original charge, and request dismissal of a charge. While one reason to do so would be where the prosecutor believes there is insufficient evidence, the guidance adds that other factors include the individual’s age and criminal history, and the nature and circumstances of the offense, including whether the individual had been previously warned, whether their offense jeopardized the health, welfare, or safety of another person, including a minor, and whether their misconduct required a significant law enforcement or first responder response.

In general, “a municipal prosecutor may also consider the impact of adverse collateral consequences of a conviction based on the specific circumstances or factors presented by the defendant or elicited by the court.”

The guidance also emphasizes the role of condition dismissals, diversion programs and community court, whenever appropriate in the interest of justice. Factors again would include the nature and circumstances, the actions of the defendant, and the needs and interest of any victim.

The guidance addresses the impact of Executive Order 152. Last week, Governor Murphy announced that, going forward, all outdoor political activity—and all outdoor worship services—would be permitted to gather in any number, in recognition of the lower risks of COVID-19 transmission outdoors and the centrality of these activities to society.

The guidance makes clear that in order to “ensure that all outdoor political activities and outdoor worship services receive uniform treatment,” the Attorney General is directing prosecutors to dismiss the limited number of Executive Order violations that were previously filed against organizers of outdoor political protests or outdoor religious services.

Based on the information the Division of Criminal Justice has to date, five individuals have been charged with such violations, and no individual protestors or worshipers have been cited.

Click the image below to read Attorney General Grewal’s Directive:

Categories
Bright Side Feature Stories In The Courts

Cape May County Recovery Court to Graduate 49 Participants June 24


The Atlantic/Cape May Vicinage will recognize the successes of 49 graduates from the Cape May County recovery court program during two virtual graduation ceremonies on Wednesday, June 24.

“We’re looking forward to one of the largest graduations from recovery court in Cape May County’s history. We are proud, beyond belief, of our graduates, especially given the significant impacts of the health crisis on the challenges of recovery,” said Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Waldman, who leads Cape May County’s recovery court program.

Invitations for graduation ceremonies at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. will be extended to graduates, their friends and family, treatment providers, and court staff. The ceremonies mark the culmination of recovery court participants’ three-year journey from addiction to recovery and the continuation of their productive, substance-free lives.

The recovery court team, led by Judge Waldman and staffed by court personnel, attorneys, probation officers, substance abuse evaluators, and treatment professionals, have continued their efforts during this pandemic to support each participant in their individual journeys.

The ceremonies will include encouraging words from Assignment Judge Julio L. Mendez, Judge Waldman, Cape May County Prosecutor Jeffrey Sutherland, Cape May County Public Defender Jesse Dean, and Recovery Court Coordinator Sherry Phillips. Allie Nunzi, who has supported participants’ recovery through Yoga sessions, will give the keynote address.

Consistent with virtual court sessions throughout the state, the graduations will be conducted using Zoom technology.

“I am proud of each participant. Although they are graduating, each has had his or her own recovery journey. They should take pride in how far they have come and have confidence in how far they can go,” Phillips said