Kenneth Vercammen is a Middlesex County trial attorney who has published 130 articles in national and New Jersey publications on Criminal Law and litigation topics. He was awarded the NJ State State Bar Municipal Court Practitioner of the Year. He lectures and handles criminal cases, Municipal Court, DWI, traffic and other litigation matters. He is Co Chair of the ABA Criminal Law Committee, GP and was a speaker at the ABA Annual Meeting. To schedule a confidential consultation, email us at: VercammenAppointments@NJlaws.com, call or visit Website: http://www.njlaws.com.
Kenneth Vercammen & Associates, P.C,
2053 Woodbridge Avenue,
Edison, NJ 08817,
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
3:21-4. Deals with Criminal Sentencing and in Section J discusses parole
(a) Imposition of Sentence; Bail. Sentence shall be imposed without unreasonable delay. Pending sentence the court may commit the defendant or continue or alter the bail. (b) Presence of Defendant; Statement. Sentence shall not be imposed unless the defendant is present or has filed a written waiver of the right to be present. Before imposing sentence the court shall address the defendant personally and ask the defendant if he or she wishes to make a statement in his or her own behalf and to present any information in mitigation of punishment. The defendant may answer personally or by his or her attorney. (c) Sentence to Probation. The court, at time of sentence, shall inform defendants sentenced to probation what penalties might be imposed on revocation should they not adhere to the conditions of their probation. (d) Extradition. Nothing herein contained shall be construed as affecting the provisions of N.J.S. 2A:160-5 (relating to extradition) or the power of the court to resentence a defendant after reversal of the judgment by reason of error in the sentence. (e) Extended or Enhanced Term of Imprisonment; Sentence Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 24:21-29 or N.J.S.A. 2C:35-8. A motion pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:44-3 or N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6f for the imposition of an extended term of imprisonment, or a motion for enhancement of a sentence pursuant to N.J.S.A. 24:21-29 or a motion for enhanced sentence pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:35-8, shall be filed with the court by the prosecutor within 14 days of the entry of the defendant's guilty plea or the return of the verdict. Where the defendant is pleading guilty pursuant to a negotiated disposition, the prosecutor shall make the motion at or prior to the plea. For good cause shown the court may extend the time for filing the motion. The sentence shall include a determination as to whether the defendant was convicted and sentenced to an extended term of imprisonment as provided in N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7, 2C:44-3 and 2C:44-6e, N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6f or whether the defendant was being sentenced pursuant to N.J.S.A. 24:21-29, or N.J.S.A. 2C:35-8, and the commitment or order of sentence which directs the defendant's confinement shall so specify. (f) Sentence Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.1, 2C:43-7.2, or 2C:44-5.1. A notice to impose sentence pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.1, N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2, or 2C:44-5.1 shall be filed with the court and served upon the defendant by the prosecutor within 14 days of the entry of the defendant's guilty plea or return of the verdict. Where the defendant is pleading guilty pursuant to a negotiated disposition, the prosecutor shall file and serve the notice at or prior to the plea. For good cause shown the court may extend the time for filing the notice. The sentence shall include a determination as to whether the defendant was convicted and sentenced pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.1, N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2, or 2C:44-5.1 and the judgment and commitment shall so specify. (g) Reasons for Sentence. At the time sentence is imposed the judge shall state reasons for imposing such sentence including findings pursuant to the criteria for withholding or imposing imprisonment or fines under N.J.S.A. 2C:44-1 to 2C:44-3 and the factual basis supporting a finding of particular aggravating or mitigating factors affecting sentence. (h) Notification of Right to Appeal. After imposing sentence, whether following the defendant's plea of guilty or a finding of guilty after trial, the court shall advise the defendant of the right to appeal and, if the defendant is indigent, of the right to appeal as an indigent. (i) Sentence Imposed Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:44-1(f)(2). In the event the court imposes sentence pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:44-1(f)(2), such sentence shall not become final until 10 days after the date sentence was pronounced.
(j) Statement of Estimated Real Time to Be Served. If defendant is sentenced to prison or jail, at the time sentence is imposed the judge shall state the approximate period of time defendant will actually serve in custody according to the then current State Parole Board "Parole Eligibility Tables." The statement should also consider the impact of jail credits, and should indicate that it is made for the benefit of the public, including those in attendance at the proceedings, and cannot be relied on by the defendant for purposes of proceedings before the Parole Board or any direct or collateral appeal.
"If someone is going to be incarcerated (jailed) the judge's statement, to be given after pronouncing the sentence, shall include the following: "The purpose of this statement is to inform the public of the actual period of time this defendant is likely to spend in jail or prison as a result of this sentence. That actual period of jail or prison time is not determined by this judge, but by the statutes of New Jersey as applied to this sentence by the State Parole Board. In this case, that period of estimated actual custody is at least (____) years and (____) months, according to the State Parole Board's published A Parole Eligibility Tables. It is an approximate estimate. The estimate assumes defendant will get full credit for good time, work time, and minimum custody time, all of those credits being provided for by New Jersey statute; if defendant does not get those credits, the time served will be longer. Furthermore if at defendant's parole eligibility date the Parole Board determines there is a substantial likelihood defendant will commit a crime if released, parole will be denied at that time. Presently, more than 40% of defendants are not released by the Parole Board at the time estimated in this statement, often serving another year or more. The actual calculation can be complex, but for the majority of defendants the total real time that is served for this sentence is approximately what I have stated, namely (____) years and (____) months. This defendant has already served (____) months of that time. Defendant should not rely at all on this estimate, and in particular cannot rely on it on appeal. It is intended solely to inform the public." (The judge's statement shall give the estimated real time found in the Tables without subtracting the jail credits which are set forth separately near the end of the statement.) If the likely period of incarceration is not covered by the State Parole Board's "Parole Eligibility Tables" and if it is affected by various complexities (e.g., sentencing aggregation, gap time, consecutive sentencing, repetitive compulsive sex offenders, relationship to out-of-state sentences), the judge shall so state and explain, giving an approximate estimate of real time if possible, again making it clear that the information is intended for the public and is not to be relied on by defendant. If the sentence includes a parole ineligibility term the judge shall omit the sentence in the statement that refers to "full credit for good time, work time, and minimum custody time," and shall omit the word "furthermore" from the subsequent sentence in the statement. If the judge concludes that defendant's entrance into the Intensive Supervision Program is a realistic possibility, the judge shall note that possibility."
Pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 30:4-123.45 et seq., the State Parole Board must give public notice of the adult inmates who will be considered for parole. Comments relevant to the possible parole release of the individuals listed should be submitted to the State Parole Board in writing via the US Postal Service.
The New Jersey State Parole Board is comprised of a Chairperson, fourteen Associate Board Members and three Alternate Board Members. The Board is an autonomous agency housed, for administrative purposes only, within the Department of Corrections.
The mission of the Board is to improve the quality of life for the citizens of New Jersey. The Board seeks to accomplish this through the administration of an innovative parole system. The parole system in New Jersey addresses the needs of the community, victims and offenders through responsible decision-making and supervision processes. The implementation of this system results in effective parole case management and serves to attain the important goals of the Board, to increase public safety and decrease recidivism while promoting successful offender reintegration.
The associate Board Members are assigned to panels that review adult, young adult and juvenile offenders eligible for parole consideration. The Board is also authorized to review for parole consideration offenders committed to county jails for terms in excess of sixty days. In addition, the associate Board Members are also assigned to a panel to review those cases where the released offender is in violation of their parole conditions. The panel may elect to revoke an offender¹s parole status if the violations are deemed to be serious or persistent. Source http://www.state.nj.us/parole/about.htm
Q: HOW IS AN INMATE'S ELIGIBILITY DATE COMPUTED? A: There are two basic methods utilized to compute a parole eligibility date. First, in the case of the offender committed to State prison for the service of a sentence, which does not include a mandatory minimum term. The parole eligibility date is based of one-third of the sentence imposed minus jail credit, good time credit, earned work credit and earned minimum custody credit. However, in the case of an offender who has committed a sex offense and who is committed to state prison for the service of a sentence which does not include a mandatory minimum term, the parole eligibility date is based on one-third of the sentence imposed, minus jail credit only. Second, in the case of an offender committed to State prison for the service of the sentence which does include a mandatory minimum term, the parole eligibility date is based on the mandatory minimum term minus jail credits only.
Jail credit is time served in custody by the offender prior to sentence being imposed. Jail credit is awarded by the sentencing court at the time sentence is imposed. Good time credit is applied based on a statutory schedule. Good time credit is based on one- third of the sentence imposed, less jail credit as the statutory provision does not permit good time credit to be awarded on any time served in custody prior to sentence being imposed. Work credit is authorized by statute and is earned at the rated of one (1) day credit for every five (5) days of work performed by the offender. Minimum custody credit is also authorized by statute and is earned at a rate of three (3) days per month for the first twelve months of the offender being in minimum custody Status and then at a rate of five (5) days per month thereafter.
Q: IF AN INMATE GETS AN ADDITIONAL SENTENCE, WHAT HAPPENS TO THEIR ELIGIBILITY DATE? A: For a state prison inmate, an additional sentence means an Additional Eligibility Term. This term is aggregated (combined) with their original Eligibility Term. Commutation credit is then taken off the Aggregate Eligibility Term and the inmate will receive a new eligibility date. (Remember that commutation credit cannot reduce a mandatory-minimum term.)
When a young adult inmate receives an additional indeterminate sentence, the original time goal does not necessarily have to change. The Young Adult Panel must look at the seriousness of the crime and then decide how this affects the time it can take for the young adult inmate to get ready for parole. The panel members will then amend the young adult inmate's time goal accordingly.
When a young adult inmate receives an additional state prison sentence, the Board will aggregate (combine) the original time goal with the eligibility term from the additional prison sentence. Appropriate commutation credit will then be taken off the aggregate eligibility term and the young adult inmate will receive a new eligibility date.
Q: WHAT IF AN INMATE WANTS TO BE PAROLED TO ANOTHER STATE? A: Being paroled directly to the supervision of another state is governed by an interstate agreement between the states. An inmate must submit their proposed plan and the appropriate agreement forms to the Board¹s staff. The proposed plan and agreement form will be reviewed by the office of Interstate Services, a unit of the Board, to insure that the plan is appropriate for forwarding to the paroling authority of the state in which the inmate proposes to reside. Upon the proposed plan being forwarded the paroling authority of the other state will investigate the inmate's plan and decide if it will be approved and accept the inmate into their State. This usually takes several months. If the inmate is accepted for supervision by the out-of-state authority, the Board panel will review the inmate's case to determine whether the inmate's parole release may be moved-up to an earlier date. If the inmate is not accepted for parole supervision by the out-of-state authority, the Board panel will review the inmate's case to determine whether the inmate will or will not be released on parole.
Q: WHAT HAPPENS AT AN INMATE'S INITIAL PAROLE HEARING? A: This hearing is a preliminary review of the inmate's case conducted by board hearing officer. The purpose of the hearing is to evaluate whether the inmate is ready to be released into society and become a productive citizen. What is considered at the inmate's hearing is any information that deals with this question. This may include the pre-sentence report, the judge¹s remarks when he/she sentenced the inmate, the comments of the Prosecutor, a statement by the victim of the crime, all information about what the inmate has done in the institution, (both good and bad), a report on the inmate's mental condition, the inmate's parole plan. Also, it may include anything the inmate wants to present for consideration. Since a limited number of hearings are scheduled each day, the inmate is given as much time as needed, within reason, to present their case.
In the cases of some inmates, a Board hearing officer instead of an initial parole hearing will perform a case review. In such cases the hearing officer will administratively review the inmate's case and insure that the inmate's case records are up-to-date for the Board members to review at a panel hearing.
PAROLE RECISION PROCESS Q: CAN AN INMATE LOSE THEIR RELEASE DATE AFTER THEY GET IT? A: There are several ways an inmate can lose their release date. One is if there is a change in their eligibility date. This can happen if an inmate gets a new sentence or if they lose commutation credit as a result of institutional infractions. In cases involving a new sentence, the inmate will be relisted for a hearing when they are next eligible for parole. If significant information not previously considered is brought to the Board panel¹s attention and there is good cause for the Board panel to reconsider the prior decision granting the inmate parole, your parole release date may be rescinded.
PAROLE SUPERVISION Q: HOW OFTEN DOES A PAROLEE HAVE TO CHECK IN WITH THEIR PAROLE OFFICER? A: A parolee is evaluated by supervision staff and assigned to a level of supervision that is considered appropriate given their particular commitment offense and background. The frequency of contacts that a parolee may have with their assigned parole officer will depend upon the supervision level or program to which the parolee is assigned. A parolee is regularly reevaluated throughout the term of their supervision to assure that their level of supervision is appropriate given their behavior and adjustment in the community.
Q: WHAT HAPPENS TO A PAROLEE WHO VIOLATES THE CONDITIONS OF HIS/HER RELEASE? A: If probable cause exists to believe that a parolee has violated the conditions of parole they may be returned to custody at a county jail or state prison. The parolee is entitled to an administrative hearing to discuss the alleged parole violations prior to any final decision being rendered by the Parole Board. Following the conclusion of the administrative hearing process, the Board Panel will issue a notice of decision to the parolee indicating the decision regarding the alleged parole violations. The Board Panel may return the parolee to heightened supervision in the community, refer the parolee for counseling and/or treatment or formally revoke the grant of parole. If parole is revoked the parolee may be returned to the Department of Corrections. In certain cases the parolee may be considered for parole release in the future after serving an additional period of incarceration.
Q: WHERE IS A PAROLEE PERMITTED TO LIVE? A: A parolee is required to live only at a location which has been approved by their assigned parole officer and a parolee is not permitted to relocate without the permission of their parole officer.
Q: WHERE IS A PAROLEE PERMITTED TO WORK? A: There are some restrictions on parolee employment but they vary significantly based on the parolee¹s criminal history, commitment offense and specific parole conditions. If you have an employment question relative to a specific parolee, you should contact the supervising parole officer regarding any employment restrictions.
Q: IS A PAROLEE PERMITTED TO TRAVEL OUTSIDE OF THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY? A: A parolee is sometimes permitted to travel outside of the State of New Jersey; however, they must have permission from their assigned parole officer prior to leaving the State of New Jersey. If the parolee requests to leave the State of New Jersey for more than twenty-four hours a written travel pass will be issued upon supervisory approval. If a travel pass is issued the parolee is required to carry this document with them while traveling outside of the State of New Jersey. The travel pass will detail the dates of approved travel and the specific location(s) to be visited.
Q: CAN A PAROLEE MOVE TO ANOTHER STATE? A: The movement of parolees from state-to-state is governed by an interstate agreement between all fifty states. In order to move permanently to another State, a parolee supervised in the State of New Jersey would have to make a transfer request to their parole officer. Their proposed new residence would be investigated by the parole authorities in the receiving State and if approved, the parolee would be eligible to have their parole supervision formally transferred to the receiving State. The final approval of any transfer of parole supervision to another State rests with the Parole Board.
Q: IF I PERMIT A PAROLEE TO LIVE IN MY RESIDENCE, WILL MY ADDRESS BE GIVEN OUT TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC? A: No, however your residence will be visited by parole officers conducting routine supervision activities.
PAROLE REVOCATION PROCESS
Q: WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF A PROBABLE CAUSE HEARING? A: The purpose of the hearing is to determine if there is probable cause to believe that the parolee has violated a condition of parole and to decide if the parolee should be detained for a revocation hearing. The hearing officer is an employee of the State Parole Board. At end of the hearing, the hearing officer will advise the parolee of his decision. Either the warrant will be lifted or the parolee will be held for a revocation hearing. The parolee may waive the conducting of a probable cause hearing and proceed directly with the conducting of a revocation hearing.
Q: WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE REVOCATION HEARING? A: If the parolee has not been convicted of a crime, then the purpose of the hearing is to determine if the parolee violated any condition of parole. A Revocation Hearing Officer is an employee of the NJ State Parole Board specifically designated to conduct these hearings. The hearing officer will evaluate the evidence introduced at the hearing and will determine if the parolee is in violation of their parole. At the hearing, the parolee will have the opportunity to contest/deny the alleged violation(s) and present evidence in their own behalf. If the parolee admits to the alleged violation(s), the parolee can still offer any mitigating evidence or explanation for the Board panel to consider.
If the parolee has been convicted of a crime committed while on parole, then the parolee has violated their conditions of parole. In this case, the hearing gives the parolee the opportunity to explain their case and provide information for consideration by the Board panel. http://www.state.nj.us/parole/faq.htm
Probation is a sentence that judges can impose on people convicted of crimes. Probation is typically given to first-time offenders who are convicted of non-violent crimes. Probation allows an offender to serve his or her sentence in the community under the supervision of a probation officer. Probation officers work for the Judiciary
A sentence of probation may require an offender to pay fines, to pay restitution to the victims of his or her crime, to seek counseling for substance abuse or for mental health or family problems, or to perform community-service work, such as cleaning litter from a park or highway or removing graffiti from a building.
People on probation remain under the authority of the court. Offenders who violate the conditions of their probation may be returned to court and resentenced to prison. Probation is different from parole. In parole, offenders are supervised by parole officers upon their release from prison. Source http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/process.htm#top
KENNETH VERCAMMEN & ASSOCIATES, PC ATTORNEY AT LAW 2053 Woodbridge Ave. Edison, NJ 08817 (Phone) 732-572-0500 (Fax) 732-572-0030
TRIAL AND LITIGATION EXPERIENCE In his private practice, he has devoted a substantial portion of his professional time to the preparation and trial of litigated matters. He appears in Courts throughout New Jersey several times each week on many personal injury matters, Criminal and Municipal/ traffic Court trials, Probate hearings, and contested administrative law hearings.
Mr. Vercammen served as the Prosecutor for the Township of Cranbury, Middlesex County and was involved in trials on a weekly basis. He also argued all pre-trial motions and post-trial applications on behalf of the State of New Jersey.
He has also served as a Special Acting Prosecutor in Woodbridge, Perth Amboy, Berkeley Heights, Carteret, East Brunswick, Jamesburg, South Brunswick, South River and South Plainfield for conflict cases. Since 1989, he has personally handled hundreds of criminal and motor vehicle matters as a Prosecutor and now as defense counsel and has had substantial success.
Previously, Mr. Vercammen was Public Defender for the Township of Edison and Borough of Metuchen and a Designated Counsel for the Middlesex County Public Defender's Office. He represented indigent individuals facing consequences of magnitude. He was in Court trying cases and making motions in difficult criminal and DWI matters. Every case he personally handled and prepared.
His resume sets forth the numerous bar associations and activities which demonstrate his commitment to the legal profession and providing quality representation to clients.
Since 1985, his primary concentration has been on litigation matters. Mr. Vercammen gained other legal experiences as the Confidential Law Clerk to the Court of Appeals of Maryland (Supreme Court) with the Delaware County, PA District Attorney Office handling Probable Cause Hearings, Middlesex County Probation Department as a Probation Officer, and an Executive Assistant to Scranton District Magistrate, Thomas Hart, in Scranton, PA.