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’12 Alumna Wins Back-to-Back Unanimous Rulings from New Jersey Supreme Court

'12 alumna Claudia Joy Hage DeMitro

August 01, 2017

In a span of 11 days, the justices of the New Jersey Supreme Court issued two unanimous rulings for which ’12 alumna Claudia Demitro, a deputy attorney general in New Jersey, had argued.

On Aug. 1, the court ruled that under New Jersey’s new bail system, criminal defendants facing pretrial detention do not have an automatic right to confront witnesses at their hearings.

The court ruled that live witnesses are not needed for judges to determine if a defendant should face pretrial detention, embracing arguments Demitro made on behalf of the state.

The ruling does, however, give trial judges discretion to require direct testimony if they are not satisfied with the state’s proffer.

On July 20, the court unanimously ruled that a youth ministry volunteer who is also a convicted sex offender can be prosecuted for violating his parole.

Demitro had argued that a youth ministry volunteer had violated the terms of his lifetime parole by supervising and mentoring minors at the No Limits Youth Ministry, a program offered through the Eternal Life Christian Center in Somerset, N.J.

Two lower courts had held that an indictment against the volunteer should be dismissed because the ministry was part of a church and did not solely serve youth.

In April, Demitro argued that the volunteer had violated the terms of his parole by working with children attending day camps, movie nights and concerts. Under Megan’s Law, convicted sex offenders cannot be involved in “youth-serving” organizations.

“A plain-language reading of (Megan's Law) does not exempt a youth ministry associated with a church or other religious organization from the definition of a 'youth-serving organization,'" Justice Walter Timpone wrote for the court on July 20.

At the time she argued the case, Demitro was eight months pregnant.

She was nine months pregnant when she argued the bail reform case.

DeMitro, a former editor of the Drexel Law Review, graduated magna cum laude.