Reduction of Sentence in Criminal Cases
By Kenneth A. Vercammen
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If someone has been convicted of a criminal offense and sent to jail, a formal motion for reduction of sentence can be filed. Pursuant to Rule 2C:43-2(b), the court may suspend the imposition of sentence on a person who has been convicted of an offense. The New Jersey Practice Series Book further indicates that there is no prohibition against suspending the imposition of sentence even when the defendant was convicted of murder. The New Jersey Practice Criminal Law, Section 702 by Miller cites to State v. Maguire, 176 N.J. Super. 164, 168 reversed on other grounds 84 N.J. 508 (1980). The motions often include the following language: "The jail term poses a substantial hardship to my wife and my two children. (1) I am making this motion pursuant to Rule 3:21-10A to reduce or change the jail term. I recognize that the court has discretion to reduce or eliminate the continued jail sentence. N.J.S.A. 2C:43-2(b)(7) also permits imprisonment at night or on weekends with liberty to work or participate in training or educational programs. I would request imprisonment at night or weekends or some other provision to prevent me to return to my job. The following in a modification of an Order successfully used in a prior Motion: SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY LAW DIVISION-MIDDLESEX COUNTY
ORDER TO CHANGE SENTENCE PURSUANT TO RULE 3:21-10 FOR REDUCTION OR CHANGE OF SENTENCE This matter having been opened to the Court upon motion of attorney for D1 for an Order changing the sentence of D1 pursuant to Rule 3:21-10, and the Court having considered the Certification submitted, documents attached in support of the Motion, and the argument of counsel, if any, and for good cause shown, it is on this ______ day of ______________ , 2004, ORDERED that the sentence of D1 is modified to ______________________________________________________ pursuant to Rule 3:21-10, and it is further ORDERED that a copy of this order be served upon all Counsel within ten (10) days. ________________________________,J.S.C.
The following explains in details the requirements for Reduction or Change of Sentence under Court Rule 3:21-10:
(a) Time. Except as provided in paragraph (b) hereof, a motion to reduce or change a sentence shall be filed not later than 60 days after the date of the judgment of conviction. The court may reduce or change a sentence, either on motion or on its own initiative, by order entered within 75 days from the date of the judgment of conviction and not thereafter. (b) Exceptions. A motion may be filed and an order may be entered at any time (1) changing a custodial sentence to permit entry of the defendant into a custodial or non-custodial treatment or rehabilitation program for drug or alcohol abuse, or (2) amending a custodial sentence to permit the release of a defendant because of illness or infirmity of the defendant, or (3) changing a sentence for good cause shown upon the joint application of the defendant and prosecuting attorney, or (4) changing a sentence as authorized by the Code of Criminal Justice, or (5) changing a custodial sentence to permit entry into the Intensive Supervision Program, or (6) changing or reducing a sentence when a prior conviction has been reversed on appeal or vacated by collateral attack. (c) Procedure. A motion filed pursuant to paragraph (b) hereof shall be accompanied by supporting affidavits and such other documents and papers as set forth the basis for the relief sought. A hearing need not be conducted on a motion filed under paragraph (b) hereof unless the court, after review of the material submitted with the motion papers, concludes that a hearing is required in the interest of justice. All changes of sentence shall be made in open court upon notice to the defendant and the prosecutor. An appropriate order setting forth the revised sentence and specifying the change made and the reasons thereof shall be entered on the record. (d) Consideration During Appeal. Notwithstanding R. 2:9-1(a), the trial court may reconsider a sentence pursuant to this Rule during the pendency of an appeal upon notice to the Appellate Division.
In Municipal Court, the following Rule 7:9-4. provides for Reduction or Change of Sentence:
(a) Time. The court, in its discretion, may reduce or change a sentence, either on its own motion or on the motion of defendant, which may be either oral or written, at any time during which the court retains jurisdiction over the matter. (b) Procedure. All changes of sentence shall be made in open court upon notice to the defendant and the prosecuting attorney. An appropriate order setting forth the revised sentence and specifying the change made and the reasons for the change shall be entered on the record.
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.
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