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Vol. 4, No. 174 — SEPTEMBER 9, 1996 FEDERAL COURT CASES GOVERNMENT — RIGHT TO PRIVACY — VIDEOTAPE RENTALS 21-7-9974 Chester Dirkes, et al. v. Borough of Runnemede, et al., U.S. Dist. Ct. (11 pp.) Plaintiffs rights under the Videotape Privacy Protection Act, 18 U.S.C. 2710, were violated both when the video store disclosed plaintiffs rental information to police without a warrant, and when that information was used in the male plaintiff s disciplinary hearing, and the officer involved, the police department and the municipality are all appropriate defendants in the case since they came into possession of and used the improperly obtained information; therefore defendants motion to dismiss is denied. [Filed Aug. 14, 1996.][Approved for publication.] PRODUCT LIABILITY 32-7-9975 Taryn Hunter v. Herman Miller, Inc., et al., U.S. Dist. Ct. (6 pp.) The court grants defendant business furniture company s motion for summary judgment dismissing plaintiff s product liability action — for injuries sustained at work when her computer keyboard tray collapsed onto her foot — because the plaintiff has not presented any evidence that defendant business furniture company ever had control over the tray or desk. [Filed Aug. 16, 1996.] CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE — ASSIGNMENT OF COUNSEL 14-7-9976 John E. Van Tielen v. William F. Plantier, et al., U.S. Dist. Ct. (17 pp.) (1) Since the petitioner has already filed his habeas corpus petition — in which he coherently discusses case law supporting his claims and adequately counters arguments made by the state in its answering brief — there is no need for the court to appoint counsel, and, (2) since the court finds that the restructuring of petitioner s aggregate sentence, after he had begun serving it, does not constitute double jeopardy nor fundamental unfairness, the habeas corpus petition is denied. [Filed Aug. 14, 1996.] CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE — HABEAS CORPUS 14-7-9977 Michael C. Barry, pro se v. Bergen Cy. Probation Dept., et al., U.S. Dist. Ct. (22 pp.) The court grants petitioner s request for habeas corpus relief on the ground that his Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial was violated when the trial judge refused to voir dire the jury, which may have been exposed to prejudicial media coverage. [Filed Aug. 7, 1996.] CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE — REDUCTION IN SENTENCING 14-7-9978 U.S.A. v. Jose A. Valdez, U.S. Dist. Ct. (13 pp.) (1) Because of the dissimilarities between the facility from which defendant escaped and a community corrections center — relating to criteria such as security policies, provision and payment of services, length of maximum sentence and staff s ability to use force — the court finds that the facility is not “similar to”a community corrections center, and therefore the reduction in offense level provided in Section 2P1.1(b)(3) of the Sentencing Guidelines does not apply in this case. (2) The defendant’s flight to the Dominican Republic after his escape, where he remained at large for over 16 months, combined with his failure to surrender voluntarily after his escape, reflect conduct which is wholly inconsistent with the acceptance of responsibility, and the reduction in offense level provided in Section 3E1.1(a) of the Sentencing Guidelines does not apply, notwithstanding the fact that the prosecutor had agreed to stipulate to such reduction. [Filed Aug. 16, 1996.][Approved for publication.] —END— A Daily Reporter of New Jersey Court Decisions THIS WEEK IN THE Eleven counties are beginning the court year short of judges, and few sure-fire candidates for the vacancies are in the wings. See page 1 of the Sept. 9 Law Journal.

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