Appellate Division Reverses Convictions in Two OAD Appeals

On April 5, 2016, the Appellate Division reversed convictions in two OAD appeals.

In People v. Waun Smith, the court, in a unanimous signed opinion by Justice John W. Sweeny, Jr., agreed with OAD that where a defendant is charged with both qualifying offenses as well as other offenses that are neither defined as qualifying nor disqualifying, the defendant remains eligible for judicial diversion for drug treatment.  The court reversed Mr. Smith's forgery conviction and prison sentence and remanded for further proceedings.  This was a matter of first impression in the appellate courts, and trial courts had reached conflicting results.  Thus, this decision will have great precedential value, and will make many more defendants eligible for judicial diversion for drug treatment and an opportunity to avoid conviction and prison. Mr. Smith is represented by Thomas M. Nosewicz.  To read the decision, click here.

In People v. Devin T. Burley, the court unanimously reversed our client’s drug conviction because the court file contained a jury note, making a substantive inquiry, that was marked as an exhibit but never addressed on the record by the court.  Applying well-established law in this area, the court reversed the conviction and ordered a new trial.  Mr. Burley is represented by volunteer attorney Jarrod L.Schaeffer, of Debevoise & Plimpton, and Margaret Knight. To read the decision, click here.