Kenneth Vercammen is a Middlesex County trial attorney who has published 130 articles in national and New Jersey publications on Criminal Law and litigation topics. He was awarded the NJ State State Bar Municipal Court Practitioner of the Year. He lectures and handles criminal cases, Municipal Court, DWI, traffic and other litigation matters. He is Co Chair of the ABA Criminal Law Committee, GP and was a speaker at the ABA Annual Meeting. To schedule a confidential consultation, call us or New clients email us evenings and weekends go to www.njlaws.com/ContactKenV.htm

Kenneth Vercammen & Associates, P.C,

2053 Woodbridge Avenue,

Edison, NJ 08817,

(732) 572-0500,

www.njlaws.com

Sunday, November 25, 2007

ABATORT AND INSURANCE COMMITTEE NEWSLETTER Fall, 2007

TORT AND INSURANCE COMMITTEE NEWSLETTER Fall, 2007
ABA General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division American Bar Association
Chair: Patricia Sexton, Kansas City

Kenneth Vercammen, Esq. Deputy Chair & Editor

In this Issue:
1. USING THE AHLBORN DECISION TO REDUCE A MEDICAID LIEN
2. 15 TIPS ON HANDLING THE SOFT TISSUE PERSONAL INJURY CASE
3. BALANCE BILLING between the Medicaid program and the Medicare program.
4. WE PUBLISH YOUR FORMS AND ARTICLES


1. USING THE AHLBORN DECISION TO REDUCE A MEDICAID LIEN

By: Thomas D. Begley, Jr., Esquire

What could be done when the Medicaid lien is so large that it would consume all or a substantial portion of the recovery.

A recent United States Supreme Court case has provided personal injury attorneys with ammunition to reduce a Medicaid lien in a personal injury case so that the payment to the State Medicaid Agency is fair and reasonable. After a series of cases around the country divided on the issue as to whether the State Medicaid Agency may recover from that portion of a settlement not earmarked for past medical expenses the United States Supreme Court decided the issue in the Ahlborn case,[1]The Court held that federal law requires states to ascertain the legal liability of third parties and to seek reimbursement for medical assistance to the extent of such legal liability. The state is considered to have acquired the rights of the injured party to payment by any other party for such health care items or services. As a condition of Medicaid eligibility, the individual is required to assign to the state any rights to payment for medical care from any third party. The Arkansas statute required that if the lien exceeds the portion of the settlement representing medical costs, satisfaction of the lien requires payment out of proceeds meant to compensate the recipient for damages distinct from medical costs, such as pain and suffering, lost wages, and loss of future earnings.

In the Ahlborn case, the plaintiff was involved in an automobile accident. Medicaid paid $215,645.30 on her behalf. Plaintiff filed suit for past medical costs and for other items, including pain and suffering, loss of earnings and working time, and permanent impairment of her future earning ability. The case was settled for $550,000, which was not allocated between categories of damages. The parties stipulated that the settlement amounted to approximately 1/6th of the reasonable value of Ahlborn’s claim. The court stated that the federal requirement that states “seek reimbursement for medical assistance to the extent of such legal liability” refers to the legal liability of third parties to pay for care and services available under the plan.” Here, because the plaintiff received only 1/6th of her overall damages, the right of the state of Arkansas was limited to 1/6th of the past medical claim or $35,581.47.

The court also held that 42 U.S.C. §1396p(a)(1) prohibits states from imposing liens “against the property of any individual prior to his death on account of medical assistance paid...on his behalf under the state plan.” This prevents the state from attaching the non-past medical portion of the settlement. As a result of this ruling, states can assert a Medicaid lien only against that portion of a settlement earmarked for past medical expenses. The state may not recover against non-medical expense claims, such as pain and suffering, loss or earnings and permanent loss of future earnings. Needless to say, it is good practice in a personal injury settlement to make a clear allocation of damages.

Allocation is not only important, but must be fair. As Justice Stevens said in the Ahlborn opinion, “Although more colorable, the alternative argument that a rule of full reimbursement is needed generally to avoid the risk of settlement manipulation also fails. The risk that parties to a tort suit will allocate away the state’s interest can be avoided either by obtaining the state’s advanced agreement to an allocation or, if necessary, by submitting the matter to a court for a decision.”

Copyright 2007 by Begley & Bookbinder, P.C., an Elder & Disability Law Firm with offices in Moorestown, Stone Harbor and Lawrenceville, New Jersey and Oxford Valley, Pennsylvania and can be contacted at 800-533-7227. The firm services southern and central New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania. Tom Begley Jr. is one of the speakers with Kenneth Vercammen at the NJ State Bar Association's Annual Nuts & Bolts of Elder Law and co-author with Kenneth Vercammen, martin Spigner and Kathleen Sheridan of the 400 plus page book on Elder Law.

The Firm provides services in connection with protecting assets from nursing home costs, Medicaid applications, Estate Planning and Estate Administration, Special Needs Planning and Guardianships. If you have a legal problem in one of these areas of law, contact Begley & Bookbinder at 800-533-7227.

2. 15 TIPS ON HANDLING THE SOFT TISSUE PERSONAL INJURY CASE

By Kenneth Vercammen, Esq.

In the 21 years I have been practicing law I have developed many ideas and systems to better serve Personal Injury clients. My clients consist primarily of Middle class working people who need a good attorney. I was fortunate early in my career to realize that skills in running an office and handling staff were essential whether I became a partner or opened my own practice. Help your practice by inexpensive improvements in service to clients.
YOU WORK FOR YOUR CLIENTS
Famous Department stores instruct all employees "The Customer is Always Right". You should adopt this maxim. I am a solo which several support staff so I am manage the business. Yet, I am still an employee. You work for your clients. They can fire you whenever they want. Use to Dale Carnegie approach to win friends and influence people. Be nice to your clients. Even if you win, clients will not come back if you don't "serve" and please them.
The waiting area is an excellent area to provide clients with Legal Consumer Material. I write brochures to educate my clients on different areas of law. We now have 19 brochures which cover basic topics such as Auto Accidents, Wills, Criminal Law, Probate, Personal Injury, Cooperating With Your Attorney, Living Will, Expungements and Drunk Driving. These assist clients by given them an idea about how cases may progress and sometimes explaining their responsibilities. Hopefully they will read them and save them for future use.
Insurance companies do not pay money even on good cases unless plaintiff's counsel is properly prepared. Preparation for the case begins during the initial telephone call by the perspective client to your office. Your secretary should ascertain the person's name, who referred them, and what type of matter (i.e. automobile, fall down, medical malpractice, products liability). The following are 15 quick tips to better serve your clients in soft tissue cases and maximize recovery:
1. Referrals to Doctors - Don't just give one referral, give at least three. Advise your clients that under law they are primarily responsible for all medical bills. The primary responsibility for medical bills is not their car insurance or their private insurance or the defendant.

2. Contested Liability Auto - Go to the scene of the accident. Determine the size of the streets. Look at the location of businesses. This shows greater traffic than a residential area. In a more substantial case, have your investigator go door to door to speak with potential witnesses.

3 Obtain Time Sheets of Property Owner in Slip and Fall Cases - In slip and fall cases, you may wish request from production of documents the time sheets and payroll for the date of the accident prior to the deposition of the manager and other employees.

4. Certified Copies - Obtain certified copies of hospital records and other documents that are prepared in the ordinary course of business. If they are certified there is less of an obstacle to admission of these records at trial.

5. Deposition of Plaintiff - The witness should say "That's all I remember" instead of "Those are the only injuries that I have." Explain to your clients that a deposition is not their opportunity to tell their story. Their clients should be frustrated that they did not get to tell their story the way they wanted. Make sure they know that they should answer yes or no but not to volunteer information.

6. Witnesses - It is a good idea to have all witnesses interviewed and provide a signed statement. You want them to be the witness, not yourself to be the witness and disqualify yourself if their statement at trial is inconsistent with what they may have told you over the phone.

7. Docket Numbers on Correspondence Help the Court - In all letters to the court and motion's clerk, put the complete case name and docket number. If it is to an adjuster or a defense insurance counsel, put the claim number.

8. Defense Doctor Reports - Send the defense doctor reports to the treating doctor prior to trial so they can review the report and advise you as to the weakness in the defense report and the weakness of the defense doctor. It is not recommended to give a report to the plaintiff because that will make them angry.

9. Lien Considerations - Protect yourself. There will occasionally be Medicare, potential welfare liens, workman's compensation liens, and doctors liens. If a Letter of Protection was signed, you as the attorney will be responsible. If there is a Letter of Protection or lien, write it in big letters on the outside of the file. However, doctors also have responsibilities to cooperate.

10. Rules for Professional Conduct - Be careful in what you say and do. I lived in Edison where there were four attorneys, with offices outside Edison, who faced serious disciplinary charges in connection with solicitation at the Texas Eastern Gas Pipeline/ Durham Woods explosion.

11. Preparing Arbitration Statements and Settlement Conference Brochures - These should be easy to read for the Arbitrator or Judge to get to the immediate point of what your damages are. Set forth:

1 - Date and details of accident;
2 - Injuries;
3 - Medical treatment;
4 - Present complaints;
5 - Medical expenses;
6 - Other damages (e.g. Wage loss)
7 - Other important information; and
8 - Medical and evidence documents.

We send a draft Arbitration Statement to our client first for them to review and modify, especially what their present complaints may be. Arbitration should be considered a dry run for trial. You should have proof of your wage lost claim rather than your client just simply testifying what they lost. You should have everything there present to go except the $3,000.00 doctor testifying.
Waiting Time at Arbitration - While waiting for the arbitration, spend every minute preparing the client over and over again until you know the file blindfolded. We often have the client's read every doctor's report.


12. Request for Admissions - When we send the Arbitration Statement to arbitration, we also send the Arbitration Statement to the Defense Attorney with all the medical and evidence documents together with a Request for Admissions Regarding the Genuiness of Documents. Therefore, we are asking them to admit the genuineness and accurateness of documents such as police reports, hospital records, tax records or wage loss forms plus certain doctor's records. In addition, this provides a useful exhibit list for trial. Computers are great to store information and this will help you to pre-mark exhibits in case the matter has to go to trial.

13. Subpoena Witnesses to Arbitration - We have, on occasion, served subpoenas on defendants and witnesses to appear at the Arbitration. I want to determine (1) If they are available; and (2) what they would say at trial or deposition.

14. Settlement Conference Days - We have found success in contacting our Civil Case Manager and asking that they schedule 6-7 of our cases post-arbitration for a Settlement Conference. This way this is much more efficient use of time as the plaintiff's attorney rather than making 7 separate trips for free to the courthouse. The judges will often try to assist you because they wish to wrap the cases up. By having many cases there, you as the plaintiff's attorney are operating in a position of strength and you are not wasting an afternoon.

15. Preparation for Trial of the Case - Preparing your witnesses - There are many excellent videos to prepare clients for trial, depositions, and defense exams. Chiropractors often give patients brochures describing how to explain pain.
CONCLUSION
Keeping clients informed and happy goes a long way to improving the public perception of the Legal Profession. Work hard and keep your clients happy.
As a practicing trial attorney I try to be pleasant to our clients and all people would contact our office. Being a solo in a full service Law Office, we have to rely on our commitment to clients to pay office expenses, the mortgage and travel to Bar events in exciting places.
Be proud of the Legal Profession, communicate to your clients and be civil. Hopefully, the few ideas which have helped me succeed may help you develop your practice. If you have any suggestions on improving service and representation to Soft Tissue personal injury clients, drop me a note, fax or email: kenvnjlaws@verizon.net


Kenneth A. Vercammen is an Edison, Middlesex County, New Jersey trial attorney who has published 125 articles in national and New Jersey publications on personal injury and litigation topics. He has lectured on Personal injury and criminal law for the New Jersey State Bar Association, New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education and Middlesex County College. He often lectures for the New Jersey State Bar Association on personal injury, criminal / municipal court law and drunk driving. He has served as a Special Acting Prosecutor in seven different cities and towns in New Jersey and also successfully defended hundreds of individuals facing Municipal Court and Criminal Court charges.

In his private practice, he has devoted a substantial portion of his professional time to the preparation and trial of litigated matters. He has appeared in Courts throughout New Jersey several times each week on many personal injury matters, Municipal Court trials, arbitration hearings and contested administrative law hearings.

Since 1985, his primary concentration has been on litigation matters. Mr. Vercammen gained other legal experiences as the Confidential Law Clerk to the Court of Appeals of Maryland (Supreme Court),with the Delaware County, PA District Attorney Office handling Probable Cause Hearings, Middlesex County Probation Dept as a Probation Officer, and an Executive Assistant to Scranton, PA District Magistrate.



3. BALANCE BILLING between the Medicaid program and the Medicare program.

By: Thomas D. Begley, Jr., Esquire


There is a significant difference on the issue of balance billing between the Medicaid program and the Medicare program.

1. Medicaid. Medicaid reimbursement rates are very low and as a result it is often difficult to obtain services because providers refuse to accept Medicaid. It is not possible for the patient to pay the difference between the private pay rate and the Medicaid pay rate. This is known as balance billing. Medicaid participating providers must accept the Medicaid payment as “payment in full.”[1] This means that providers accepting Medicaid waive their right to bill Medicaid beneficiaries for any amounts over the Medicaid payment.

Several states have refused to allow providers to assert liens against Medicaid beneficiaries where there is clear third party liability and the Medicaid beneficiary has obtained a significant tort recovery.

In Illinois,[2] the hospital brought an action against the Medicaid agency to allow it to refund the Medicaid reimbursement so that it could sue the Medicaid beneficiary who had obtained a substantial tort judgment. The Seventh Circuit held that the hospital could not refund the Medicaid payment to the Medicaid agency and sue the Medicaid beneficiary. The Court noted, “Medicaid is a payer of last resort.” The state can seek reimbursement from third parties, but private providers may not.

In a similar case in Florida,[3] the hospital placed a lien on the settlement award, but the court held that when a Medicaid patient obtains a tort recovery in excess of the medical expenditures paid by Medicaid, that recovery is meant to go to the injured party, not the provider. A similar result was reached in another Florida case.[4]

A federal appellate court has found that a hospital’s lien on the proceeds of a malpractice settlement was invalid and unenforceable because the hospital had already accepted Medicaid payments for the care provided to the patient.[5] “By accepting Medicaid payments, Spectrum waived its right to its customary fee for services provided to Bowling...” “Although Medicaid rates are typically lower than a service provider’s customary fees, medical service providers must accept state-approved Medicaid payment as payment in full and may not require that patients pay anything beyond that amount.”

California invalidated two state statutes authorizing provider liens against Medicaid beneficiaries.[6] The statutes authorized providers to file liens against recoveries obtained by Medicaid beneficiaries even after the provider received Medicaid. The court found that the state statutes were preempted by federal legislation banning balance billing.

2. Medicare. Previously, Medicare had a prohibition against billing Medicare beneficiaries in excess of the payment made by Medicare. Participation has been limited to providers who agreed to accept Medicare as payment in full. Recent changes in the Medicare law[7] now permit a provider to bill a Medicare beneficiary or assert a lien against the beneficiary's recovery obtained from the tortfeasor by way of settlement or award.[8]

In the seminal case,[9] a hospital sought to recover from the Medicare patient more than it received from Medicare reimbursement. The 1st Circuit held that the fact that the patient recovered more than Medicare reimbursed the hospital did not entitle the hospital to charge the patient the difference between its full fee and Medicare's lower flat fee. The agreement between Medicare and the hospital was that in exchange for Medicare guaranteeing payment to the hospital, there would be no additional payment required from the Medicare beneficiary.

The recent changes now allow providers to bill the liability insurer or place a lien against the Medicare beneficiary's recovery.

142 U.S.C. §1396a(a)(25)(c); 42 C.F.R. §447.15; 42 U.S.C. §1320a-7b(d) .
2 Evanston Hospital v. Hauck, 1 F.3d 540 (7th Cir. 1993).
3 Mallo v. Public Health Trust of Dade County, 88 F.Supp.2d 1376 (S.D. Fla. 2000).
4 Public Health Trust of Dade County v. Dade County School Board, 693 So.2d 562 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1996).
5 Spectrum v. Bowling, 410 F.3d 304 (6th Cir. 2005).
6 Olszewski v. Scripps Health, 135 Cal. Rptr. 2d 1 (Cal. 2003).
7 68 Fed. Reg. 43940 (July 25, 2003).
8 42 C.F.R. 411.54(c)(2).
9 Rybicki v. Hartley, 782 F.2d 260 (1st Cir. 1986).

Copyright 2007 by Begley & Bookbinder, P.C., an Elder & Disability Law Firm with offices in Moorestown, Stone Harbor and Lawrenceville, New Jersey and Oxford Valley, Pennsylvania and can be contacted at 800-533-7227. The firm services southern and central New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania. Tom Begley Jr. is one of the speakers with Kenneth Vercammen at the NJ State Bar Association's Annual Nuts & Bolts of Elder Law and co-author with Kenneth Vercammen, martin Spigner and Kathleen Sheridan of the 400 plus page book on Elder Law.

The Firm provides services in connection with protecting assets from nursing home costs, Medicaid applications, Estate Planning and Estate Administration, Special Needs Planning and Guardianships. If you have a legal problem in one of these areas of law, contact Begley & Bookbinder at 800-533-7227.

4. WE PUBLISH YOUR FORMS AND ARTICLES


To help your practice, we feature in this newsletter edition a few forms and articles PLUS tips on marketing and improving service to clients. But your Editor and chairs can't do it all. Please mail articles, suggestions or ideas you wish to share with others in our Tort and Insurance Committee.

Let us know if you are finding any useful information or anything you can share with the other members. You will receive written credit as the source and thus you can advise your clients and friends you were published in an ABA publication. We will try to meet you needs.

Send Us Your Marketing Tips
We are increasing the frequency of our newsletter. Send us your short tips on your great or new successful marketing techniques.
You can become a published ABA author. Enjoy your many ABA benefits.

The Tort & Insurance Law Committee monitors federal and state legislation affecting rules of procedure and tort reform. In a newsletter produced twice a year, this committee reviews recent developments in tort reform. The committee presents and sponsors programs at the Annual Meeting often dealing in tort and litigation issues.

_______________________

TORT AND INSURANCE COMMITTEE General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division

Chair: Patricia Sexton, Kansas City

Kenneth Vercammen, Esq. Deputy Chair and Past Chair
2053 Woodbridge Ave.
Edison, NJ 08817
(Phone) 732-572-0500
(Fax) 732-572-0030
website- http://njpersonalinjurylawcenter.com/
Personal Injury blog- http://njlawspersonalinjury.blogspot.com/

ABA ELDER LAW COMMITTEE Newsletter November 2007

ABA ELDER LAW COMMITTEE Newsletter November 2007
ABA General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division American Bar Association

Chairs - Kenneth Vercammen, Edison, NJ and Jay Foonberg, Beverly Hills, CA

In this issue:
1. USING THE AHLBORN DECISION TO REDUCE A MEDICAID LIEN
2 EXECUTOR OF A WILL- DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
3. BALANCE BILLING between the Medicaid program and the Medicare program.
4. WE PUBLISH YOUR FORMS AND ARTICLES


1. USING THE AHLBORN DECISION TO REDUCE A MEDICAID LIEN

By: Thomas D. Begley, Jr., Esquire

What could be done when the Medicaid lien is so large that it would consume all or a substantial portion of the recovery.

A recent United States Supreme Court case has provided personal injury attorneys with ammunition to reduce a Medicaid lien in a personal injury case so that the payment to the State Medicaid Agency is fair and reasonable. After a series of cases around the country divided on the issue as to whether the State Medicaid Agency may recover from that portion of a settlement not earmarked for past medical expenses the United States Supreme Court decided the issue in the Ahlborn case,[1]The Court held that federal law requires states to ascertain the legal liability of third parties and to seek reimbursement for medical assistance to the extent of such legal liability. The state is considered to have acquired the rights of the injured party to payment by any other party for such health care items or services. As a condition of Medicaid eligibility, the individual is required to assign to the state any rights to payment for medical care from any third party. The Arkansas statute required that if the lien exceeds the portion of the settlement representing medical costs, satisfaction of the lien requires payment out of proceeds meant to compensate the recipient for damages distinct from medical costs, such as pain and suffering, lost wages, and loss of future earnings.

In the Ahlborn case, the plaintiff was involved in an automobile accident. Medicaid paid $215,645.30 on her behalf. Plaintiff filed suit for past medical costs and for other items, including pain and suffering, loss of earnings and working time, and permanent impairment of her future earning ability. The case was settled for $550,000, which was not allocated between categories of damages. The parties stipulated that the settlement amounted to approximately 1/6th of the reasonable value of Ahlborn’s claim. The court stated that the federal requirement that states “seek reimbursement for medical assistance to the extent of such legal liability” refers to the legal liability of third parties to pay for care and services available under the plan.” Here, because the plaintiff received only 1/6th of her overall damages, the right of the state of Arkansas was limited to 1/6th of the past medical claim or $35,581.47.

The court also held that 42 U.S.C. §1396p(a)(1) prohibits states from imposing liens “against the property of any individual prior to his death on account of medical assistance paid...on his behalf under the state plan.” This prevents the state from attaching the non-past medical portion of the settlement. As a result of this ruling, states can assert a Medicaid lien only against that portion of a settlement earmarked for past medical expenses. The state may not recover against non-medical expense claims, such as pain and suffering, loss or earnings and permanent loss of future earnings. Needless to say, it is good practice in a personal injury settlement to make a clear allocation of damages.

Allocation is not only important, but must be fair. As Justice Stevens said in the Ahlborn opinion, “Although more colorable, the alternative argument that a rule of full reimbursement is needed generally to avoid the risk of settlement manipulation also fails. The risk that parties to a tort suit will allocate away the state’s interest can be avoided either by obtaining the state’s advanced agreement to an allocation or, if necessary, by submitting the matter to a court for a decision.”

Copyright 2007 by Begley & Bookbinder, P.C., an Elder & Disability Law Firm with offices in Moorestown, Stone Harbor and Lawrenceville, New Jersey and Oxford Valley, Pennsylvania and can be contacted at 800-533-7227. The firm services southern and central New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania. Tom Begley Jr. is one of the speakers with Kenneth Vercammen at the NJ State Bar Association's Annual Nuts & Bolts of Elder Law and co-author with Kenneth Vercammen, martin Spigner and Kathleen Sheridan of the 400 plus page book on Elder Law.

The Firm provides services in connection with protecting assets from nursing home costs, Medicaid applications, Estate Planning and Estate Administration, Special Needs Planning and Guardianships. If you have a legal problem in one of these areas of law, contact Begley & Bookbinder at 800-533-7227.


2 EXECUTOR OF A WILL- DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

Compiled by Kenneth A. Vercammen, Esq.

Providing service to worried clients who are not familiar with the legal requirements is important to Elder Law attorneys. The following short article can be revised and sent to your clients who are executors or administrators of estates.

The procedures in an Estate Administrat0ion may take from six months to several years, and a client’s patience may be sorely tried during this time. However, it has been our experience that clients who are forewarned have a much higher tolerance level for the slowly turning wheels of justice. The following a is portion of the details you may wish to inform clients who are executor after you have been retained:

Duty of Executor in Probate Estate Administration

1. Conduct a thorough search of the decedent's personal papers and effects for any evidence which might point you in the direction of a potential creditor;
2. Carefully examine the decedent's checkbook and check register for recurring payments, as these may indicate an existing debt;
3. Contact the issuer of each credit card that the decedent had in his/her possession at the time of his/ her death;
4. Contact all parties who provided medical care, treatment, or assistance to the decedent prior to his/her death;

Your attorney will not be able to file the NJ inheritance tax return until it is clear as to the amounts of the medical bills. Medical expenses can be deducted in the inheritance tax.

Under United States Supreme Court Case, Tulsa Professional Collection Services, Inc., v. Joanne Pope, Executrix of the Estate of H. Everett Pope, Jr., Deceased, the Personal Representative in every estate is personally responsible to provide actual notice to all known or "readily ascertainable" creditors of the decedent. This means that is your responsibility to diligently search for any "readily ascertainable" creditors.


Other duties/ Executor to Do

Bring Will to Surrogate

Apply to Federal Tax ID #

Set up Estate Account at bank (pay all bills from estate account)
Pay Bills

Notice of Probate to Beneficiaries (Attorney can handle)
If charity, notice to Atty General (Attorney can handle)

File notice of Probate with Surrogate (Attorney can handle)

File first Federal and State Income Tax Return [CPA- ex Marc Kane]

Prepare Inheritance Tax Return and obtain Tax Waivers (Attorney can handle)

File waivers within 8 months upon receipt (Attorney can handle)

Prepare Informal Accounting

Prepare Release and Refunding Bond (Attorney can handle)

Obtain Child Support Judgment clearance (Attorney will handle)

Let's review the major duties involved-

In General. The executor's job is to (1) administer the estate--i.e., collect and manage assets, file tax returns and pay taxes and debts--and (2) distribute any assets or make any distributions of bequests, whether personal or charitable in nature, as the deceased directed (under the provisions of the Will). Let's take a look at some of the specific steps involved and what these responsibilities can mean. Chronological order of the various duties may vary.

Probate. The executor must "probate" the Will. Probate is a process by which a Will is admitted. This means that the Will is given legal effect by the court. The court's decision that the Will was validly executed under state law gives the executor the power to perform his or her duties under the provisions of the Will.

An employer identification number ("EIN") should be obtained for the estate; this number must be included on all returns and other tax documents having to do with the estate. The executor should also file a written notice with the IRS that he/she is serving as the fiduciary of the estate. This gives the executor the authority to deal with the IRS on the estate's behalf.

Pay the Debts. The claims of the estate's creditors must be paid. Sometimes a claim must be litigated to determine if it is valid. Any estate administration expenses, such as attorneys', accountants' and appraisers' fees, must also be paid.

Manage the Estate. The executor takes legal title to the assets in the probate estate. The probate court will sometimes require a public accounting of the estate assets. The assets of the estate must be found and may have to be collected. As part of the asset management function, the executor may have to liquidate or run a business or manage a securities portfolio. To sell marketable securities or real estate, the executor will have to obtain stock power, tax waivers, file affidavits, and so on.

Take Care of Tax Matters. The executor is legally responsible for filing necessary income and estate-tax returns (federal and state) and for paying all death taxes (i.e., estate and inheritance). The executor can, in some cases be held personally liable for unpaid taxes of the estate. Tax returns that will need to be filed can include the estate's income tax return (both federal and state), the federal estate-tax return, the state death tax return (estate and/or inheritance), and the deceased's final income tax return (federal and state). Taxes usually must be paid before other debts. In many instances, federal estate-tax returns are not needed as the size of the estate will be under the amount for which a federal estate-tax return is required.

Often it is necessary to hire an appraiser to value certain assets of the estate, such as a business, pension, or real estate, since estate taxes are based on the "fair market" value of the assets. After the filing of the returns and payment of taxes, the Internal Revenue Service will generally send some type of estate closing letter accepting the return. Occasionally, the return will be audited.

Distribute the Assets. After all debts and expenses have been paid, the executor will distribute the assets. Frequently, beneficiaries can receive partial distributions of their inheritance without having to wait for the closing of the estate.
Under increasingly complex laws and rulings, particularly with respect to taxes, in larger estates an executor can be in charge for two or three years before the estate administration is completed. If the job is to be done without unnecessary cost and without causing undue hardship and delay for the beneficiaries of the estate, the executor should have an understanding of the many problems involved and an organization created for settling estates. In short, an executor should have experience

At some point in time, you may be asked to serve as the executor of the estate of a relative or friend, or you may ask someone to serve as your executor. An executor's job comes with many legal obligations. Under certain circumstances, an executor can even be held personally liable for unpaid estate taxes. Let's review the major duties involved, which we've set out below.

In General. The executor's job is to (1) administer the estate--i.e., collect and manage assets, file tax returns and pay taxes and debts--and (2) distribute any assets or make any distributions of bequests, whether personal or charitable in nature, as the deceased directed (under the provisions of the Will). Let's take a look at some of the specific steps involved and what these responsibilities can mean. Chronological order of the various duties may vary.

Probate. The executor must "probate" the Will. Probate is a process by which a Will is admitted. This means that the Will is given legal effect by the court. The court's decision that the Will was validly executed under state law gives the executor the power to perform his or her duties under the provisions of the Will.

An employer identification number ("EIN") should be obtained for the estate; this number must be included on all returns and other tax documents having to do with the estate. The executor should also file a written notice with the IRS that he/she is serving as the fiduciary of the estate. This gives the executor the authority to deal with the IRS on the estate's behalf.

Pay the Debts. The claims of the estate's creditors must be paid. Sometimes a claim must be litigated to determine if it is valid. Any estate administration expenses, such as attorneys', accountants' and appraisers' fees, must also be paid.

Manage the Estate. The executor takes legal title to the assets in the probate estate. The probate court will sometimes require a public accounting of the estate's assets. The assets of the estate must be found and may have to be collected. As part of the asset management function, the executor may have to liquidate or run a business or manage a securities portfolio. To sell marketable securities or real estate, the executor will have to obtain stock power, tax waivers, file affidavits, and so on.

Take Care of Tax Matters. The executor is legally responsible for filing necessary income and estate-tax returns (federal and state) and for paying all death taxes (i.e., estate and inheritance). The executor can, in some cases be held personally liable for unpaid taxes of the estate. Tax returns that will need to be filed can include the estate's income tax return (both federal and state), the federal estate-tax return, the state death tax return (estate and/or inheritance), and the deceased's final income tax return (federal and state). Taxes usually must be paid before other debts. In many instances, federal estate-tax returns are not needed as the size of the estate will be under the amount for which a federal estate-tax return is required.

Often it is necessary to hire an appraiser to value certain assets of the estate, such as a business, pension, or real estate, since estate taxes are based on the "fair market" value of the assets. After the filing of the returns and payment of taxes, the Internal Revenue Service will generally send some type of estate closing letter accepting the return. Occasionally, the return will be audited.

Distribute the Assets. After all debts and expenses have been paid, the distribute the assets with extra attention and meticulous bookkeeping by the executor. Frequently, beneficiaries can receive partial distributions of their inheritance without having to wait for the closing of the estate.


Under increasingly complex laws and rulings, particularly with respect to taxes, in larger estates an executor can be in charge for two or three years before the estate administration is completed. If the job is to be done without unnecessary cost and without causing undue hardship and delay for the beneficiaries of the estate, the executor should have an understanding of the many problems involved and an organization created for settling estates. In short, an executor should have experience.

www.centraljerseyelderlaw.com


3. BALANCE BILLING between the Medicaid program and the Medicare program.

By: Thomas D. Begley, Jr., Esquire


There is a significant difference on the issue of balance billing between the Medicaid program and the Medicare program.

1. Medicaid. Medicaid reimbursement rates are very low and as a result it is often difficult to obtain services because providers refuse to accept Medicaid. It is not possible for the patient to pay the difference between the private pay rate and the Medicaid pay rate. This is known as balance billing. Medicaid participating providers must accept the Medicaid payment as “payment in full.”[1] This means that providers accepting Medicaid waive their right to bill Medicaid beneficiaries for any amounts over the Medicaid payment.

Several states have refused to allow providers to assert liens against Medicaid beneficiaries where there is clear third party liability and the Medicaid beneficiary has obtained a significant tort recovery.

In Illinois,[2] the hospital brought an action against the Medicaid agency to allow it to refund the Medicaid reimbursement so that it could sue the Medicaid beneficiary who had obtained a substantial tort judgment. The Seventh Circuit held that the hospital could not refund the Medicaid payment to the Medicaid agency and sue the Medicaid beneficiary. The Court noted, “Medicaid is a payer of last resort.” The state can seek reimbursement from third parties, but private providers may not.

In a similar case in Florida,[3] the hospital placed a lien on the settlement award, but the court held that when a Medicaid patient obtains a tort recovery in excess of the medical expenditures paid by Medicaid, that recovery is meant to go to the injured party, not the provider. A similar result was reached in another Florida case.[4]

A federal appellate court has found that a hospital’s lien on the proceeds of a malpractice settlement was invalid and unenforceable because the hospital had already accepted Medicaid payments for the care provided to the patient.[5] “By accepting Medicaid payments, Spectrum waived its right to its customary fee for services provided to Bowling...” “Although Medicaid rates are typically lower than a service provider’s customary fees, medical service providers must accept state-approved Medicaid payment as payment in full and may not require that patients pay anything beyond that amount.”

California invalidated two state statutes authorizing provider liens against Medicaid beneficiaries.[6] The statutes authorized providers to file liens against recoveries obtained by Medicaid beneficiaries even after the provider received Medicaid. The court found that the state statutes were preempted by federal legislation banning balance billing.

2. Medicare. Previously, Medicare had a prohibition against billing Medicare beneficiaries in excess of the payment made by Medicare. Participation has been limited to providers who agreed to accept Medicare as payment in full. Recent changes in the Medicare law[7] now permit a provider to bill a Medicare beneficiary or assert a lien against the beneficiary's recovery obtained from the tortfeasor by way of settlement or award.[8]

In the seminal case,[9] a hospital sought to recover from the Medicare patient more than it received from Medicare reimbursement. The 1st Circuit held that the fact that the patient recovered more than Medicare reimbursed the hospital did not entitle the hospital to charge the patient the difference between its full fee and Medicare's lower flat fee. The agreement between Medicare and the hospital was that in exchange for Medicare guaranteeing payment to the hospital, there would be no additional payment required from the Medicare beneficiary.

The recent changes now allow providers to bill the liability insurer or place a lien against the Medicare beneficiary's recovery.

142 U.S.C. §1396a(a)(25)(c); 42 C.F.R. §447.15; 42 U.S.C. §1320a-7b(d) .
2 Evanston Hospital v. Hauck, 1 F.3d 540 (7th Cir. 1993).
3 Mallo v. Public Health Trust of Dade County, 88 F.Supp.2d 1376 (S.D. Fla. 2000).
4 Public Health Trust of Dade County v. Dade County School Board, 693 So.2d 562 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1996).
5 Spectrum v. Bowling, 410 F.3d 304 (6th Cir. 2005).
6 Olszewski v. Scripps Health, 135 Cal. Rptr. 2d 1 (Cal. 2003).
7 68 Fed. Reg. 43940 (July 25, 2003).
8 42 C.F.R. 411.54(c)(2).
9 Rybicki v. Hartley, 782 F.2d 260 (1st Cir. 1986).

Copyright 2007 by Begley & Bookbinder, P.C., an Elder & Disability Law Firm with offices in Moorestown, Stone Harbor and Lawrenceville, New Jersey and Oxford Valley, Pennsylvania and can be contacted at 800-533-7227. The firm services southern and central New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania. Tom Begley Jr. is one of the speakers with Kenneth Vercammen at the NJ State Bar Association's Annual Nuts & Bolts of Elder Law and co-author with Kenneth Vercammen, martin Spigner and Kathleen Sheridan of the 400 plus page book on Elder Law.

The Firm provides services in connection with protecting assets from nursing home costs, Medicaid applications, Estate Planning and Estate Administration, Special Needs Planning and Guardianships. If you have a legal problem in one of these areas of law, contact Begley & Bookbinder at 800-533-7227.
_______________________

4. WE PUBLISH YOUR FORMS AND ARTICLES


To help your practice, we feature in this newsletter edition a few forms and articles PLUS tips on marketing and improving service to clients. But your Editor and chairs can't do it all. Please mail articles, suggestions or ideas you wish to share with others in our Committee.

Let us know if you are finding any useful information or anything you can share with the other members. You will receive written credit as the source and thus you can advise your clients and friends you were published in an ABA publication. We will try to meet you needs.

Send Us Your Marketing Tips
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You can become a published ABA author. Enjoy your many ABA benefits.


Send us your articles & ideas

To help your practice, we feature in this newsletter edition a few articles and tips on marketing and improving service to clients. But your Editor and chairs can't do it all. Please send articles, suggestions or ideas you wish to share with others.

General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division:
Elder Law Committee and the

Who We Are

The ESTATE PLANNING, PROBATE & TRUST COMMITTEE focuses on improving estate planning skills, substantive law knowledge and office procedures for the attorney who practices estate planning, probate and trust law. This committee also serves as a network resource in educating attorneys regarding Elder Law situations. We work with the Elder Law Committee to schedule programs at the ABA Annual meeting.

To help your practice, we feature in this newsletter edition a few articles and tips on marketing and improving service to clients. But your Editor and chairs can't do it all. Please send articles, suggestions or ideas you wish to share with others.
Let us know if you are finding any useful information or anything you can share with the other members. You will receive written credit as the source and thus you can advise your clients and friends you were published in an ABA publication. We will try to meet you needs.
We also seek articles on Elder Law, Probate, Wills, Medicaid and Marketing. Please send your marketing ideas and articles to us. You can become a published ABA author.

________________________________________

The Elder Law Committee of the ABA General Practice Division is directed towards general practitioners and more experienced elder law attorneys. The committee consistently sponsors programs at the Annual Meeting, the focus of which is shifting to advanced topics for the more experienced elder lawyer.
This committee also focuses on improving estate planning skills, substantive law knowledge and office procedures for the attorney who practices estate planning, probate and trust law. This committee also serves as a network resource in educating attorneys regarding Elder Law situations.
Kenneth Vercammen, Esq. co-Chair
Jay Foonberg, Beverly Hills Co-chair, Author of Best Sellers "How to
Start and Build a Law Practice" and "How to get and keep good clients', Beverly Hills, CA JayFoonberg@aol.com>

We will also provide tips on how to promote your law office, your practice and Personal Marketing Skills in general. It does not deal with government funded "legal services" for indigent, welfare cases.

KENNETH VERCAMMEN & ASSOCIATES, PC
ATTORNEY AT LAW
2053 Woodbridge Ave.
Edison, NJ 08817
(Phone) 732-572-0500
(Fax) 732-572-0030
Kenv@njlaws.com
Central Jersey Elder Lawwww.centraljerseyelderlaw.com
NJ Elder Blog http://elder-law.blogspot.com/

ABA CRIMINAL LAW COMMITTEE NEWSLETTER Fall 2007

ABA CRIMINAL LAW COMMITTEE NEWSLETTER Fall 2007
ABA General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division American Bar Association

Brian T Hermanson Ponca City, Oklahoma Chair
(580) 762-0020 bhermanson@oklawhoma.com
Kenneth Vercammen, Esq. Deputy Chair / co- Editor Edison, NJ

In this Issue:
1. Hearsay Not Admissible at Trial based on Crawford Decision
2. Consequences of a Criminal Guilty Plea in Superior Court
____________________________________________________


1. Hearsay Not Admissible at Trial based on Crawford Decision
By Kenneth Vercammen, Esq.

Prior to 2004, in Municipal Court and criminal cases, statements and documents could often be introduced into evidence over defense counsel’s objection. In the landmark decision of Crawford v. Washington. 541 U.S. 36 (2004) the United States Supreme Court ruled that testimonial hearsay may not be admitted against a defendant at trial unless the declarant is unavailable and the defendant has had a prior opportunity for cross examination.

In Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36, 124 S. Ct. 1354, 158 L. Ed. 2d 177 (2004), the United States Supreme Court addressed the protections afforded by the Confrontation Clause. The defendant in Crawford was charged with assault and attempted murder; defendant was convicted of assault. Id. at 38, 124 S. Ct. at 1357, 158 L. Ed. 2d at 184. The trial judge admitted a tape-recorded statement of the defendant's wife, given to police while she was herself a suspect, after the judge found the statement reliable. Id. at 38-40, 124 S. Ct. at 1356-58, 158 L. Ed. 2d at 184-86. 
 The Court held that "[admitting statements deemed reliable by a judge is fundamentally at odds with the right of confrontation." Id. at 61, 124 S. Ct. at 1370, 158 L. Ed. 2d at 199. "Dispensing with confrontation because testimony is obviously reliable is akin to dispensing with jury trial because a defendant is obviously guilty." Id. at 62, 124 S. Ct. at 1371, 158 L. Ed. 2d at 199. The Court reversed defendant's conviction. Id. at 68-69, 124 S. Ct. at 1374, 158 L. Ed. 2d at 203. In Crawford, the Court's express holding applied only to "testimonial" evidence:
Where nontestimonial hearsay is at issue, it is wholly consistent with the Framers' design to afford the States flexibility in their development of hearsay law — . . . as would an approach that exempted such statements from Confrontation Clause scrutiny altogether. Where testimonial evidence is at issue, however, the Sixth Amendment demands what the common law required: unavailability and a prior opportunity for cross-examination. We leave for another day any effort to spell out a comprehensive definition of "testimonial." [541 U.S. at 68, 124 S. Ct. at 1374, 158 L. Ed 2d at 203 (footnote omitted)].
In Crawford: “the United States Supreme Court sharply departed from its prior view of how hearsay exceptions could be reconciled with the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment. The Confrontation Clause provides that “[i]n all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to be confronted with the witnesses against him.” Before Crawford, the Supreme Court had held that hearsay did not offend the Confrontation Clause if the out-of-court statement fell within a “firmly rooted hearsay exception” or bore “particularized guarantees of trustworthiness.” Ohio v. Roberts, 448 U.S. 56, 66, 100 S. Ct. 2531, 2538, 65 L. Ed. 2d 597, 608 (1980). Now, under Crawford, testimonial statements made by witnesses absent from trial may be “admitted only where the declarant is unavailable, and only where the defendant has had a prior opportunity to cross-examine.” 541 U.S. at 59, 124 S. Ct. at 1369, 158 L. Ed. 2d at 197. In Crawford, the Court did not precisely define “testimonial statements,” but it provided this guidance: “Whatever else the term [testimonial] covers, it applies at a minimum to prior testimony at a preliminary hearing, before a grand jury, or at a former trial, and to police interrogations.” 541 U.S. at 68, 124 S. Ct. at 1374, 158 L. Ed. 2d at 203.

The US Supreme Court in 2006 next had the opportunity to determine hearsay issues when the court was petitioned to decide if 911 calls are admissible if the witness will not come to court.

In Davis v. Washington 126 S. Ct. 2266 (2006) the court held 911 Calls Sometimes Admissible and Not Hearsay. The Court elaborated on the meaning of testimonial:

Statements are nontestimonial when made in the course of police interrogation under circumstances objectively indicating that the primary purpose of the interrogation is to enable police assistance to meet an ongoing emergency. They are testimonial when the circumstances objectively indicate that there is no such ongoing emergency, and that the primary purpose of the interrogation is to establish or prove past events potentially relevant to later criminal prosecution.
[Id. at ____, 126 S. Ct. at 2273-74, 165 L. Ed. 2d at 237.]

The New Jersey Appellate Division on March 6, 2006 had previously determined that an Eyewitness 911 Call to Report Attack Admissible as an Excited Utterance. State in the Interest of J.A 385 NJ Super. 544 (App. Div. 2006)

In this adjudication of delinquency, the non testifying eyewitness's description of an assailant -- which was made to the police by phone while he witnessed the attack and pursued the fleeing suspect -- was a present sense impression under N.J.R.E. 803(c)(1) and an excited utterance under N.J.R.E. 803(c)(2), and its admission into evidence did not violate the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Crawford v. Washington. 541 U.S. 36 (2004).

Certification has been granted by the NJ Supreme Court in the J.A. case. The New Jersey Supreme Court is hearing several other appeals on the Crawford admissibility issue.

In State v Buda 389 NJ Super. 241 (App. Div. 2006) the Court held that an excited utterance made by a 3 year old child abuse victim to a DYFS worker at a hospital, although admissible under state evidence law, is inadmissible in this case as a result of evolving federal constitutional jurisprudence under Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36, 124 S. Ct. 1354, 158 L. Ed. 2d 177 (2004), and Davis Ed. 2d 224 (2006). Certification to the NJ Supreme Court was also granted on May 21, 2007.

Under Caselaw decided in 1985, a lab certificate was admitted in DWI cases as a business record under N.J.R.E. 803(c)(6) and as a public record under N.J.R.E. 803(c)(8).
In State v. Berezansky 386 NJ Super. 84 (App. Div. 2006) there was a challenge to the admissibility of a DWI blood test result. The court held the Chemist’s Testimony is Required in DWI Blood Case if an objection is filed by the defense.
Based on the Crawford decision, the Appellate Division in Berezansky determined that a conviction for driving while intoxicated based on a blood test had to be reversed and remanded for a new trial because the defendant’s right of confrontation was violated by admitting into evidence a lab certificate that attested to his blood alcohol content without giving him the opportunity to cross- examine the chemist who analyzed his blood sample and prepared the certificate. Crawford v. Washington requires state to introduce live testimony by the chemist in blood cases.

The Court rejected the State's reliance upon the business record or government record exceptions to the hearsay rule to permit the admission of the lab certificate. The rationale for those exceptions is that such a document is likely to be reliable because it was prepared and preserved in the ordinary course of the operation of a business or governmental entity, and not created primarily as evidence for trial. See N.J.R.E. 803(c)(6). See generally Biunno, Current N.J. Rules of Evidence, comment 1 to N.J.R.E. 803(c)(6); comment 2 to N.J.R.E. 803(c)(8) (2005). The certificate at issue is not a record prepared or maintained in the ordinary course of government business; it was prepared specifically in order to prove an element of the crime and offered in lieu of producing the qualified individual who actually performed the test.
 Here, defendant not only was denied his constitutional right to confront the certificate's preparer, he was not even afforded an adequate opportunity to challenge the certificate's reliability, because the State failed to provide requested documentation regarding the laboratory analysis of the blood. The Court also noted by analogy, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-19c requires the prosecutor to provide a defendant with all documentation relating to a proffered lab certificate as a condition for admission of that certificate attesting to the identification of a controlled dangerous substance.
Certification has been granted in Berezansky.

The next major case to examine the Crawford case was State v. Renshaw 390 NJ Super. 456 (App. Div. 2007). In this case the state introduced a certificate signed by a Nurse who drew blood. The Court held that the admission in evidence of the Uniform Certification for Bodily Specimens Taken in a Medically Acceptable Manner, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A: 62A-11, without the opportunity for cross-examination of the nurse who drew the blood, and over the objection of defendant, runs afoul of the right of confrontation protected both by the United States and the New Jersey Constitutions. Therefore, the Nurse Can Be Required to Testify in DWI Blood Case.

Another case where the Court Ruled that Defendant Can Contest DWI Blood Lab Reports As Hearsay was State v. Kent 391 NJ Super. 352 (App. Div. 2007)
Defendant was convicted of DWI following a single-car rollover accident, and the Law Division affirmed his conviction. At the municipal trial, the State placed into evidence, among other proofs, (1) a blood sample certificate pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A: 62A-11 from a private hospital employee who had extracted blood from defendant and (2) reports from a State Police laboratory that had tested the blood samples. The authors of those hearsay documents did not appear at trial.

The court reaffirmed the holdings in State v. Renshaw, 390 N.J. Super. 456 (App. Div. 2007) (regarding blood sample certificates) and in State v. Berezansky, 385 N.J. Super. 84 (App. Div. 2006) (regarding State Police laboratory reports) concluding that the hearsay documents are "testimonial" under Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36 (2004), and that defendant was thus deprived of his right of confrontation under the Sixth Amendment.
The court also noted that unless our Supreme Court determines otherwise, the confrontation clause of Article I, Paragraph 10 of the New Jersey Constitution does not appear to independently require such cross-examination beyond current federal precedents interpreting the Sixth Amendment. Additionally, the court recommends that legislative and/or rule-making initiatives be pursued to avoid placing undue testimonial burdens on health care workers and law enforcement personnel who may create documents relevant to drunk driving prosecutions.

However, Defendant's DWI conviction in Renshaw was affirmed on independent grounds, based upon the arresting officer's numerous observations indicative of defendant's intoxication, and defendant's admission of drinking.

In DWI breathalyzer cases, for decades DWI breathalyzer certificates were admitted as an exception to Hearsay Rules. Based on Crawford, the Appellate Division revisited the admissibility of these paper certificates. In State v. Dorman, 393 NJ Super. 28 (App. Div. 2007) the court held Hearsay Rules do not apply to Breathalyzer certs. In this DWI appeal, the court held that notwithstanding the Supreme Court's holding in Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36, 68-69, 124 S. Ct. 1354, 1374, 158 L. Ed. 2d 177, 203 (2004), a breathalyzer machine certificate of operability offered by the State to meet its burden of proof under State v. Garthe, 1 N.J. 1 (1996), remains admissible as a business record under N.J.R.E. 803(c)(6).

The NJ Supreme Court also granted Certification in unreported cases on the same issue, State v. Sweet, A-0091-05. In Sweet, the Breathalyzer Inspection Certification were also found to be admissible outside of Crawford.

Kenneth A. Vercammen is a Middlesex County trial attorney who has published 125 articles in national and New Jersey publications on business and litigation topics. He often lectures to trial lawyers of the American Bar
Association, New Jersey State Bar Association and Middlesex County Bar Association.

He is a highly regarded lecturer on litigation issues for the American Bar Association, ICLE, New Jersey State Bar Association and Middlesex County Bar Association. His articles have been published by New Jersey Law Journal, ABA Law Practice Management Magazine, and New Jersey Lawyer. He is the Editor in Chief of the New Jersey Municipal Court Law Review. Mr. Vercammen is a recipient of the NJSBA- YLD Service to the Bar Award.
He has served as a Special Acting Prosecutor in nine different cities and towns in New Jersey and also successfully handled over One thousand Municipal Court and Superior Court matters in the past 12 years.
In his private practice, he has devoted a substantial portion of his
professional time to the preparation and trial of litigated matters. He has
appeared in Courts throughout New Jersey several times each week on personal injury matters, Municipal Court trials, and contested Probate hearings.

2. Consequences of a Criminal Guilty Plea in Lower criminal courts Court
Some individuals don’t want to spend money to hire an attorney, but instead just plead guilty at their initial court appearance. They should read the following before representing themselves:
1 If you plead guilty you will have a criminal record
2. Before the judge can accept your guilty plea, you will have to stand up in open court and tell the judge what you did that makes you guilty of the particular offense in front of all persons in the courtroom.
3. You can go to jail, pay thousands of dollars in fines, and may be barred from future employment
3. You may not be able to get a job as a teacher, public employee, banking industry, real estate or other state regulated field.
4. On employment applications, you will have to answer yes that you were convicted of a criminal offense.
5. You must pay a $75 Safe Neighborhood Services Fund assessment for each conviction. You must pay a minimum Violent Crimes Compensation Board assessment of $50 ($100 minimum if you are convicted of a crime of violence) for each count to which you plead guilty in many states.
6. If you are being sentenced to probation, you must pay a fee of up to $25 per month for the term of probation in many states.
7 In many drug cases, the statute requires mandatory driver’s license suspension. New Jersey does not have a special license to go to work or school.
8. In indictable matters, you will be required to provide a DNA sample, which could be used by law enforcement for the investigation of criminal activity, and pay for the cost of testing in many states.
9. You must pay restitution if the court finds there is a victim who has suffered a loss.
10. If you are a public office holder or employee, you can be required to forfeit your office or job by virtue of your plea of guilty.
11. If you are not a United States citizen or national, you may be deported by virtue of your plea of guilty.


The Criminal Law Committee helps to keep solo and small firms members updated on criminal law and procedure. Programs presented by the committee are basic "how to's" on handling your first criminal law case, or answering questions from your clients when criminal law issues arise in the general practice context. We welcome all who wish to participate and accept all suggestions for programming ideas.
Brian T Hermanson Ponca City, OK Chair
(580) 762-0020
bhermanson@oklawhoma.com

Kenneth Vercammen, Esq. Deputy Chair / co- Editor
KENNETH VERCAMMEN & ASSOCIATES, PC
ATTORNEY AT LAW
2053 Woodbridge Ave.
Edison, NJ 08817
(Phone) 732-572-0500
(Fax) 732-572-0030
Kenv@njlaws.com
www.BeNotGuilty.com