JOC Amendment for Community Supervision violated Double Jeopardy

 

In this appeal, the New Jersey Supreme Court considered whether a judgment of conviction that omitted the statutorily mandated provision for community supervision for life may be amended after the defendant has finished serving the sentence imposed upon him.

In 2000, defendant pled guilty to sexual assault. Defendant executed the plea form and two additional forms containing additional questions for sexual offenses, one of which stated that a conviction for sexual assault carried with it “a special sentence of community supervision for life.” During the plea colloquy, defendant acknowledged that he understood that he would have to undergo an examination, that he would have to register with the chief law enforcement officer in the community in which he resides, and that he would need to provide verification of his address every ninety days. That was the extent of the colloquy between defendant and the trial court with respect to the potential consequences of pleading guilty to sexual assault. On June 16, 2000, the trial court sentenced defendant to three years probation and imposed other penalties, payments, and conditions. The trial  court told defendant, “If you do all those things, you are not going to have a problem with this court.” The trial court entered a judgment of conviction on June 23, 2000, which mirrored the orally-imposed terms. Defendant successfully completed his probationary sentence and was discharged from probation in June 2003.

On October 3, 2007, the New Jersey State Parole Board notified the trial court that defendant’s sentence omitted the statutorily mandated community supervision for life. On April 30, 2008, the trial court amended the judgment of conviction to reflect that defendant is sentenced to community supervision for life. Defendant subsequently filed a petition for post-conviction relief arguing, among other things, that amending the judgment of conviction to include community supervision for life after he had fully completed his sentence constituted double jeopardy. The trial court denied defendant’s petition. The Appellate Division reversed, concluding that the trial court’s action in amending the judgment of conviction violated defendant’s double-jeopardy rights. The Court granted the State’s petition for certification. 208 N.J. 368 (2011).

The New Jersey Supreme Court held that the trial court’s action in amending defendant’s judgment of conviction to add community supervision for life after he had fully completed his sentence violated the constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy.

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