If a criminal defendant is charged with multiple offenses stemming from different incidents, the State will often try the defendant separately for each event. In some instances, though, the State may join multiple indictments for trial. While this is generally permissible, it may be barred in certain circumstances. Recently, a New Jersey court discussed when multiple indictments can be combined at trial, in a case in which the defendant was charged with two separate acts of shoplifting. If you are accused of committing one or more crimes, it is critical to retain an aggressive New Jersey criminal defense attorney who will fight to protect your rights.
Facts of the Case
It is alleged that the defendant took merchandise from a video game store in January of 2014. Then, in September 2015, he reportedly stole merchandise from a second video game store. The police used surveillance footage from the second incident to investigate both crimes, after which the defendant was indicted for two separate counts of third-degree shoplifting, one for each incident.
The State moved to join the indictments for trial, arguing in part that evidence relating to each crime would be admissible in both trials if the cases were tried separately. The court granted the motion, and the defendant was convicted of third-degree and fourth-degree shoplifting. He appealed, arguing in part that the joinder of the indictments for trial was improper as the evidence of either event would not have been admissible if there were separate hearings.