Law enforcement agencies here in New Jersey have been nothing short of dedicated in their attempts to crack down on drug-related crime. Indeed, these efforts haven't been confined to just combating major offenses like distribution and manufacture, but also possession.
The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution declares that individuals are protected from unreasonable searches and seizures by government officials. As to when such an unreasonable search or seizure occurs, case law has firmly established that absent certain expectations, a person's Fourth Amendment rights are violated whenever government agents fail to act pursuant to a lawfully executed warrant.
While people might not realize it, New Jersey is currently in the midst of a very real public health crisis that is showing little sign of abating despite the best efforts of state officials. Specifically, the state continues to be plagued by the abuse of heroin and opioids, with the number of overdoses -- many of them fatal -- continuing to climb.
While recent reports have indicated that newly appointed Attorney General Jeff Sessions will make prosecution of drug crimes a priority for the Department of Justice going forward, this has always been the reality at the state level.
Law enforcement uses dogs to sniff out bombs, drugs and cadavers to gather evidence of a crime. The validity of using dogs is not generally in question, but the validity of a search does come up on occasion. The U.S. Supreme Court has responded to whether the police can use dogs to search private property. Here are two seminal cases that cover the issue.
There's no question that those men and women who are ready to resume their life and make meaningful changes upon release from prison will face very real and very substantial obstacles. Indeed, one of the most difficult hurdles they're likely to encounter after paying their debt to society is finding steady employment.
In recent years, state laws throughout the country regarding the use, growth and distribution of marijuana have undergone drastic changes. As large portions of the nation have become more comfortable with cannabis use for both medical and recreational purposes, many states have also shown a trend toward legalization.
While the start of any new calendar year is always exciting from a criminal law perspective given that it marks the official enactment of new state laws, excitement has been particularly high this year given the landmark changes to New Jersey's criminal justice system that took effect on January 1.
Once available over the counter, synthetic and designer drugs are illegal across New Jersey. Today, a black market has developed and recent arrests suggest a rising tide for the manmade intoxicants.
While societal attitudes toward the possession and use of marijuana have become increasingly progressive over the last decade, neither the federal government nor various state governments have followed suit. Indeed, as we discussed last week, both the federal government and the state of New Jersey continue to classify marijuana as a schedule I drug, meaning it has no medicinal value and a high potential for abuse.