Appellate Division Vacates Rejection of Pre-Trial Intervention

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On September 20, 2012, pursuant to a negotiated plea agreement, defendant Eager pleaded guilty to one count of fourth-degree possession of marijuana.

The prosecutor withheld consent for Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) on several grounds: (1) the nature of the offenses; (2) the defendant’s juvenile history and problem with controlled dangerous substances, which indicate a continuing pattern of antisocial behavior; and (3) the defendant’s past participation in juvenile drug court.

On February 15, 2013, Eager appealed the prosecutor’s rejection of his PTI application to the trial judge on the grounds that the prosecutor’s rejection was based on inappropriate factors.

In State v. K.S. and pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:43-12(e)(8), the New Jersey Supreme Court held that it is improper to rely upon previously dismissed charges alone as evidence in support of a “continuing pattern of antisocial behavior.” The Court also determined that a prosecutor could no longer consider arrests resulting in diversion or dismissal to bar a defendant’s admission into PTI.

Based on the holding in State v. K.S., the Court vacated the trial court’s order rejecting defendant from PTI and remanded the matter for further consideration.