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New Jersey Supreme Court Considers Testimony Via Telephone

March 2, 2012 | Posted In Criminal Law, Immigration - New Jersey Supreme Court

New Jersey Criminal Lawyers Watching Case of Man Deported after Sex Crime Conviction

The New Jersey Supreme Court is hearing arguments in a case that appears to test the limits of telephone testimony.  The case involves a man who was deported to Mexico after he was convicted of having a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl.

The man, Juan Pablo Santos, was convicted of a sex crime in 2005.  At the time of his arrest, he was a lawful permanent resident of the United States.  He was arrested in Ocean County and pleaded guilty to child endangerment.  In 2008, he was deported back to Mexico. 

He has filed a PCR (Post Conviction Relief) Petition alleging that law enforcement officers did not fully explain to him the consequences of a deportation.  He wants to appear in court to give his side of the story.  However, there's a problem: under federal law, he is now prevented from reentering the country because of his conviction.  The only other option available to him is to provide telephone testimony.

Lower courts have allowed telephone testimony in the past and at least two New Jersey courts, including the Superior Court and an appellate court, have held that telephone testimony should be allowed in this case.  However, prosecutors are now calling for the order allowing the telephone testimony to be reversed. 

According to prosecutors, Santos needs to proceed by applying to a federal court for permission to reenter the country in order to give testimony at his PCR hearing.  The Division of Criminal Justice is also strongly opposing any move to allow testimony in any venue other than a courthouse.  However, prosecutors say that compromises may have to be made if the Supreme Court does deliver a ruling allowing the remote testimony.

New Jersey criminal defense lawyers will continue to watch closely as the case unfolds.

The New Jersey criminal defense lawyers at Helmer Paul Conley and Kasselman represent persons who have been charged with DUI, murder, sex crimes, drug crimes, fraud, assault and other crimes across New Jersey.

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