Article originally appeared our Winter 2020 Newsletter. Oral argument was in Nov. 2020.
Last month, Centurion participated in oral argument before the Supreme Court of New Jersey as an amicus curiae, a friend of the Court, in support of the defendant Michele Lodzinski’s efforts to overturn her conviction for the murder of her five year-old son. The death of the child occurred in 1991, but Ms. Lodzinski was not charged until 2014 after several witnesses changed their statements regarding the identification of a blanket that was found with the body. At the trial, the State was unable to produce any evidence of a cause of death, i.e. that it was a homicide, or any evidence of conduct by Ms. Lodzinski that contributed to the death. Nonetheless, the jury convicted her of murder. Motions by the defense, attacking the sufficiency of the evidence, were denied and on appeal the Appellate Division held that in determining the sufficiency of the evidence to convict that the Court would consider only the evidence the State introduced and not any of the “substantial” defense evidence that “in many ways directly rebutted the State’s proofs.” Centurion enlisted the pro bono unit at Fox Rothchild LLP to submit an amicus brief arguing that basic due process required the court to consider all evidence in determining the sufficiency of the proofs to convict. The decision in the case is pending.