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New Jersey Supreme Court Rules That Defendants Can Be Forced To Appear At Sentencing

The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled in a case of first impression that a criminal defendant can be required to appear at his sentencing even if he does not want to be there. The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that trial judges have the ultimate authority to decide whether a defendant can be compelled to appear at his sentencing. Trial judges are instructed to balance the interests of everyone involved including the victims and their families.

This decision came in the context of a murder defendant not wanting to appear for his sentencing. Guiseppe Tedesco, age 27, of Hopatcong was convicted of murdering his 22 year old girlfriend. He claimed self-defense but the jury rejected his position that the victim and him were struggling over a gun when they fell down the stairs and the gun went off.

The girlfriend’s relatives wanted to confront the defendant at his sentencing. Now it appears they will be allowed to direct their comments at him while he is present.

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