Iphone, the Jury—The New Jersey courts have put in gear a free mobile app designed to make jury duty more accessible.

NJJuror, which debuted on iTunes Wednesday, is available to jurors with an iPhone or other device running on Apple’s iOS system. It gives courthouse parking and contact information as well as FAQs about jury duty. It even directs users to business review website Yelp for the names of good lunch spots in the area.

The judiciary developed the app “to inform jurors about their role, provide directions as well as up-to-date information about whether they need to report on a particular day, and relay other useful details,” Chief Justice Stuart Rabner said in a press release.

The app is the latest development in the judiciary’s attempt to make courts more accessible. In June, it started sending jurors texts and emails about whether they need to report for service.

No Apple device? No worries. Apps for Windows and Android phones are expected in early 2014.


Plaxico Burress
(Photo: Newscom)

Who Let the Dog Out?—Former Giants and Jets wide receiver Plaxico Burress and his wife, Tiffany Burress, an attorney with Dario, Yacker, Suarez & Albert in Clifton, are being sued by a neighbor who says their family dog attacked her.

Gina Boulougouris Stasinos alleged in her suit, filed on Nov. 6 in Passaic County Superior Court, that the Burresses’ pitbull got loose as she was walking her dog, Diesel, around the corner from the athlete’s home in Totowa.

She claims she was knocked to the ground as the pitbull attacked Diesel and then her, leaving her with scratches and injuries to her head and neck. Her husband, Peter, sued for loss of consortium.

A police report noted bites to Diesel, but not injuries to Stasinos. Her attorney, Barry D. Epstein of Rochelle Park, says she was focused on extricating Diesel and didn’t realize her injuries until the police report was filed. He says his clients want to “get to the bottom of why the dog got out of the Burress home.” Neither Burress nor his wife was home.

AIG will provide the defense for the Burresses, according to northjersey.com. Insurer spokesman Matthew Gallagher did not return an email, and Tiffany Burress referred questions to the police report.

Plaxico, a member of the Giants’ 2007 Super Bowl-winning team, is on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ injured reserve list.


Photo courtesy of Tim Eustace

Skill-duggery—The distinction between games of chance and those of skill is sometimes subtle, but the legal difference is stark. Current statute bans any game that involves the element of chance outside of designated gambling areas, but it doesn’t separate games of skill, which usually have winners picked by a judging panel.

Assemblyman Tim Eustace, D-Bergen, says the statute makes some contest sponsors reluctant to accept entries from New Jersey residents, and he’s sponsoring a bill aimed at clearing that up.

The bill, A-3624, states that a “contest of skill in which a participant pays an entry fee for the opportunity to win a monetary prize…is not considered a game of chance, [and] does not constitute unlawful gambling.”

Eustace hopes his bill will give residents the freedom to take part in nationally recognized contests.

The bill was passed by the Assembly on May 20 in a 78-0 vote. Last Monday, it was approved by the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee.

Once enacted, it would become effective immediately.

A Fight To Be Heard—Being late does not strip a defendant of the right to speak in court, a New Jersey appeals court held on Friday.

R.W.H. stood trial in 2009 on disorderly persons contempt and harassment charges filed by the mother of his children, T.J., and her husband, Z.B., after she got threatening calls. At the time, the defendant and T.J. had final restraining orders against each other.

At the end of the first day of trial, R.W.H.’s attorney asked Hudson County Superior Court Judge Salvatore Bovino whether he could speak with his client. Bovino told him to do so between then and 9:30 a.m. the next morning, when the case would resume.

The next day, Bovino started court at 9:30 a.m., even though R.W.H. was not there. When he showed up at 9:53 a.m., Bovino noted his lateness. “You were told to be here at 9:30. I don’t want any explanation, have a seat,” said the judge, who had been acquainted with the defendant and knew of his tardiness.

R.W.H. was given no chance to explain himself or admit evidence showing the phone calls were traced to a number belonging to a relative of Z.B. The defendant was convicted and sentenced to 60 days in prison and two years’ probation.

But Appellate Division Judges Susan Reisner and Carmen Alvarez found Bovino’s action “a prejudicial abuse of discretion” and ordered a new trial.

— By Jennifer Genova