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Private Citizen Complaint Appeal

05
May
2011

by in Criminal Appeals, Criminal Defense

State v. Caryn Bradley, ? N.J. Super. ?, 2011 N.J. Super. LEXIS ? (April 7, 2011) – Dismissal of appeal affirmed. ” In this recent appeal the court held that a private citizen in New Jersey does not have standing to appeal the failure of the municipal court to file the complaint.

Ernest Bozzi unsuccessfully attempted to file disorderly persons simple assault charges against Caryn Bradley in the Eastampton Municipal Court…. Because Bozzi was not a “prosecuting attorney” as required by the rules, Judge Bookbinder dismissed his Law Division appeal from the municipal court administrator’s decision not to issue the complaint. We agree that Bozzi lacks standing and therefore affirm….

In our State, there is simply no circumstance in which a private complainant can act as a prosecuting attorney without the special approval and process provided in Rule 3:23-9(d). In fact, Bozzi lacks standing not only to have taken the initial appeal in the Law Division, but to further pursue the matter to this court…. Bozzi also contends the Court Rules conflict with the Victim’s Rights Amendment, as set forth in art I., 22 of the New Jersey Constitution….

Both constitutionally and legislatively, victims have been granted myriad rights, privileges, and accommodations. N.J.S.A. 52:4B-1 to -49. Nowhere in the constitutional or legislative scheme, however, are they granted the right to individually prosecute charges.

The Victim’s Rights Amendment entitled Bozzi to approach the municipal or county prosecutor, who would then have had the duty to assess, in his or her discretion, the denial of probable cause and decide whether taking an appeal was in the public interest. It did not authorize Bozzi to prosecute the matter directly.”

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