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 is author of the ABA "Criminal Law Forms" book. He was awarded the NJ State State Bar Municipal Court Practitioner of the Year. Ken lectures and handles criminal cases, Municipal Court, DWI, traffic and other litigation matters. He is Co Chair of the ABA Criminal Law Committee,GP He was a speaker at the ABA Annual Meeting attended by 10,000 attorneys and professionals.
New clients to email us evenings and weekends go to
More info at
Kenneth Vercammen & Associates, P.C.
2053 Woodbridge Avenue - Edison, NJ 08817
(732) 572-0500

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Use of Restraints on Juveniles

Dated: November 9, 2016
It is ORDERED that the Rules Governing the Courts of the State of New Jersey are amended by adoption of the attached new Rule 5: 19-4, to be effective January 1, 2017.
For the Court,
Stuart Rabner
 Chief Justice
Dated November 9, 2016
5:19-4. Use of Restraints on a Juvenile [new]
(ill Instruments of restraint, such as handcuffs, chains, irons, or straitjackets, cloth and leather restraints, and other similar items, shall not be used on a juvenile during a comi proceeding and must be removed prior to the juvenile's entry into the courtroom. Instruments of restraint may be used if, on application to or by the comi, the court finds that:
ill The use of restraints is necessary due to one of the following
~ Instruments of restraint are necessary to prevent physical harm to the juvenile or another person; or
(ID The juvenile presents a substantial risk of flight from the courtroom; and
ill There are no less restrictive alternatives to restraints that will prevent flight or physical harm to the juvenile or another person, including, but not limited to, the presence of court personnel, law enforcement officers, or bailiffs.
Lb) In making the determination that instruments of restraint are necessary, the factors that can be considered are:
ill any past escapes or attempted escapes by the juvenile;
ill evidence of a present plan of escape involving the juvenile;
ill any credible threats by the juvenile to harm him or herself or others during comi;
iiJ evidence of self-injurious behavior on the part of the juvenile;
ill any recent history of disruptive courtroom behavior that has placed others in potentially harmful situations or presents a substantial risk of inflicting physical harm on the juvenile or others;
(fil any other factors the court deems relevant to assess present risk in the comi proceeding.
~ The court shall provide the juvenile's attorney and the prosecutor an oppo1iunity to be heard before the comi orders the use of restraints. Ifrestraints are ordered, the court shall make findings of fact on the record in support of the order.
(sll If restraints are deemed necessary, the least restrictive restraints shall be used. Any restraints shall allow the juvenile limited movement of the hands to
read and handle documents and writings necessary to the hearing. Under no circumstances should a juvenile be restrained to a stationary object or another person.
Note: Adopted November 9, 2016 to be effective January 1, 2017.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Seminar: Remove & Expungement of Criminal Arrests and Convictions- Free Seminar January 23, 2017 South Brunswick Library


       COST: Free if you pre-register. Complimentary materials provided.   Please bring a canned food donation, which will be given to the Community Food Bank. Please email us if you plan on attending or if you would like us to email the materials.
SPEAKER: Kenneth Vercammen, Esq.
                 (Author- Criminal Law Forms by the American Bar Association)
  The NJ statute on expungement was revised effective April 18, 2016.  If someone has been arrested or even had a private criminal complaint signed against them in the Municipal Court, they have a criminal record, even if the charges were dismissed or received a Conditional Discharge Under NJ Law past criminal arrests and convictions can be expunged/ erased under certain instances. This program will discuss the expungement process. I served as a Municipal Prosecutor and was amazed how minor criminal guilty pleas and even dismissed charges can affect someone’s ability to get a job or advance a career. Do you have children or someone you know or work with that needs an expungement?
South Brunswick Library 
110 Kingston Lane        
Monmouth Junction NJ 08852
732-329-4000  x 7637
Can’t attend?  We can email you materials
Send email to

More info: The Petition for expungement is filed in the Superior Court. It takes a minimum of three months for the court to grant the expungement. The requirements are very formal. There can be a waiting period between 6 months up to 10 years after the criminal case is finished. For someone who had a drug charge, they can hire an attorney apply for Expungement 6 months after the Conditional Discharge is complete. The statute requires detailed notices served by the attorney on the State Police, Attorney General and numerous other government entities.
         Typical Court costs and Legal fees for expungement range from $1,500-$2,500.
Kenneth Vercammen is an Edison, Middlesex County, NJ trial attorney where he  handles Criminal, Municipal Court, Probate, Civil Litigation and Estate Administration matters. Ken is author of the American Bar Association's new book “Criminal Law Forms” and often lectures to trial lawyers of the American Bar Association, NJ State Bar Association and Middlesex County Bar Association.  As the Past Chair of  the Municipal Court Section he has served on its board for 10 years. 
Awarded the Municipal Court Attorney of the Year by both the NJSBA and Middlesex County Bar Association, he also received the NJSBA- YLD Service to the Bar Award and the General Practitioner Attorney of the Year, now Solo Attorney of the Year.
Ken Vercammen is a highly regarded lecturer on both Municipal Court/ DWI and Estate/ Probate Law issues for the NJICLE- New Jersey State Bar Association, American Bar Association, and Middlesex County Bar Association. His articles have been published by NJ Law Journal, ABA Law Practice Management Magazine, YLD Dictum, GP Gazette and New Jersey Lawyer magazine.  He was a speaker at the 2013 ABA Annual meeting program “Handling the Criminal Misdemeanor and Traffic Case” and serves as is the Editor in Chief of the NJ Municipal Court Law Review.
            For nine years he served as the Cranbury Township Prosecutor and also was a Special Acting Prosecutor in nine different towns. Ken has successfully handled over one thousand Municipal Court and Superior Court matters in the past 27 years.
His private practice has devoted a substantial portion of professional time to the preparation and trial of litigated matters. Appearing in Courts throughout New Jersey several times each week on Criminal and Municipal Court trials, civil and contested Probate hearings.  Ken also serves as the Editor of the popular legal website and related blogs. In Law School he was a member of the Law Review, winner of the ATLA trial competition and top ten in class.
         Throughout his career he has served the NJSBA in many leadership and volunteer positions. Ken has testified for the NJSBA before the Senate Judiciary Committee to support changes in the DWI law to permit restricted use driver license and interlock legislation. Ken also testified before the Assembly Judiciary Committee in favor of the first-time criminal offender “Conditional Dismissal” legislation which permits dismissal of some criminal charges. He is the voice of the Solo and Small firm attorneys who juggle active court practice with bar and community activities. In his private life he has been a member of the NJ State champion Raritan Valley Road Runners master’s team and is a 4th degree black belt.
2053 Woodbridge Ave.
Edison, NJ 08817
(Phone) 732-572-0500

Monday, November 21, 2016


Appellant, a fourteen-year-old juvenile, was found guilty of sexually touching a seven-year old boy on a bus returning from summer camp. The alleged victim was developmentally comparable to a three-year-old. After getting off the bus, he blurted out to his mother's cousin that appellant had touched him during the ride. Eighteen days later, a detective interviewed the younger child on videotape at the county prosecutor's office. The child repeated the accusation, demonstrating it with anatomical dolls. No eyewitnesses on the bus, including the driver and aide, corroborated the incident.
At a pretrial Rule 104 hearing, the court ruled that both of the child's hearsay statements were sufficiently trustworthy to admit under the "tender years" hearsay exception, N.J.R.E. 803(c)(27). The court then queried the younger child at the start of the trial about his ability to discern and tell the truth. The court twice concluded from the child's troublesome responses that he was not competent to testify under the criteria of N.J.R.E. 601. Nevertheless, the court accepted the child's hearsay statements and trial testimony repeating the accusations, based on the so-called "incompetency proviso" in
page1image18000 page1image18160 page1image18320 page1image18480

Rule  803(c)(27),  which  treats  children  of  tender  years  as
available witnesses even if they are not competent to testify.
We conclude that the younger child's statements during his recorded interview with the detective were "testimonial" under the Confrontation Clause, as construed by the United States Supreme Court in Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36 (2004), and its progeny. The objective "primary purpose" of the interview was to elicit and preserve statements from an identified child victim of sexual abuse about wrongful acts for potential use as evidence in a future prosecution. The child's testimonial statements to the detective here are distinguishable from the non-testimonial statements that a young child victim made to her teachers at school in Ohio v. Clark, 135 S. Ct. 173 (2015).
Although appellant's counsel attempted to cross-examine the child, that exercise was inadequate to safeguard his confrontation rights, given the child's undisputed incompetency. Hence, we reverse the admission of the detective's interview and the child's in-court testimony because it violated appellant's constitutional rights. However, as appellant concedes, the child's spontaneous assertion after getting off the bus was not testimonial under the Confrontation Clause and was properly admitted. We remand for the trial court to reconsider the proofs in light of our determinations. 

Sunday, September 25, 2016


In this appeal and cross-appeal, we address the issue of whether a juvenile was entitled to credit on his suspended sentence for the time he spent in a residential community home program as part of his probationary sentence to the Juvenile Intensive Supervision Program ("JISP"). We also consider whether the juvenile should have been granted credit on his sentence for the period during which he participated in the JISP following his completion of the community home program. 

Based upon our review of the record and applicable law, we hold that the juvenile was not entitled to credits for either of these periods. Therefore, we affirm the trial judge's decision denying the juvenile's request for credits for his time in the community home program, and reverse the judge's decision granting the 

Sunday, August 28, 2016

new rule5:22-5. Remand to the Family Part

5:22-5. Remand to the Family Part
(a) Remand with Consent of Parties. With the consent of the juvenile defendant and the
prosecutor, at any point in the proceedings subsequent to the decision ordering waiver, the
Criminal Division may remand to the Family Part if it appears that:
(1) the interests of the public and the best interests of the juvenile require access
to programs or procedures uniquely available in the Family Part; and
(2) the interests of the public are no longer served by waiver.
(b) Remand for Conviction ofNon-Waivable Offense. If a juvenile is not convicted of
an offense set forth in N.J.S.A. 2A:4A-26. l(c)(2), a conviction for any other offense shall be
deemed a juvenile adjudication and be remanded to the Family Part for disposition, in
accordance with the dispositional options available to the Family Part and all records related to
the act of delinquency shall be subject to the provisions of section I of P.L. 1982, c.79
Note: Adopted August 1, 2016 to be effective September 1, 2016.


new rule 5 :22-4. Proceedings After [Transfer] Waiver

5 :22-4. Proceedings After [Transfer] Waiver
W Procedure. Whenever a juvenile [case] is referred to another court as provided by R.
5:22-1 or R. 5 :22-2, the action shall proceed in the same manner as if it has been instituted in that
court in the first instance[.], and shall be subject to the sentencing provisions available to that
Qi) Custodial Sentence Upon Conviction. Upon conviction for any offense that is
subject to waiver pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:4A-26. l(c)(2), there shall be a presumption that the
juvenile shall serve any custodial sentence imposed in a State juvenile facility operated by the
Juvenile Justice Commission until the juvenile reaches the age of 21, except as provided in
N.J.S.A. 2A:4A-26.l(t).
Note: Source-RR. (1969) 5:9-S(e). Adopted December 20, 1983, to be effective
December 31, 1983; caption amended, text amended and designated as paragraph (a) with
caption added, and new paragraph (b) adopted August 1, 2016 to be effective September 1, 2016.


New rule 5:22-3. Detention Hearing after Referral

5:22-3. Detention Hearing after Referral
When a case is referred to another court as provided by R. 5:22-1 or R. 5:22-2, the court
waiving jurisdiction shall, on hearing, determine pursuant to [the criteria set forth in] N.J .S.A.
2A:4A-36[(a)1 whether detention is necessary [the juvenile, if in custody pending trial, shall be
confined in an adult or juvenile detention facility]. If detention is deemed necessary, there shall
be a presumption that the juvenile shall be detained in a county juvenile detention facility, unless
good cause is shown that it is necessary to detain the juvenile in a county jail or other county
correctional facility in which adults are incarcerated. In no case shall a juvenile be remanded to
an adult detention facility prior to the hearing provided for herein.
Note: Source-RR. (1969) 5:9-5(d). Adopted December 20, 1983, to be effective
December 31, 1983; caption and text amended November 5, 1986 to be effective January 1,
1987; amended August 1, 2016 to be effective September 1, 2016.