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New Jersey is one of only four states that continue to divide their courts into courts of law and courts of equity. This judiciary system dates back to old England, where courts of law only awarded money damages, while courts of equity only issued injunctive relief. Today, the distinction between issues of law and issues of equity continues to be relevant in certain ways. For example, appellate courts apply a higher standard of review to issues of law than they do to issues of equity.
A recent decision by the Supreme Court of New Jersey set precedent in the field of animal law nationwide. The state’s highest court unanimously stuck down New Jersey Department of Agriculture regulations, under which routine husbandry practices were considered “humane” and immune from liability. The court stated that factory farming practices may not be deemed humane merely because they are widely implemented. The court also found a number of specific practices such as de-toeing without anesthesia to be inhumane, and clarified that farms would not escape liability merely by appointing a “knowledgeable person” to conduct the procedures in a way that minimized pain.
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Another landmark a New Jersey case has served as important precedent. The case of New Jersey v. T.L.O., which involved a teenage girl from New Jersey, helped define the Fourth Amendment rights of minors across the nation. In T.L.O., the U.S. Supreme Court held that school officials may conduct warrantless searches of students so long as the searches are reasonable under the circumstances. Under the “reasonable suspicion” standard, courts must balance an individual’s legitimate expectations of privacy against the school’s interest in keeping order and discipline. This “reasonable suspicion” standard differs from the stricter standard applied to adults, under which authorities need “probable cause.”
If you believe your Fourth Amendment rights, or any of your rights, have been violated, a New Jersey lawyer can help you decide whether to pursue a claim. LegalMatch.com is a great way to find lawyers in your area. By matching lawyers with clients, LegalMatch provides a free service to citizens across the US.
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Last Modified: 05-08-2014 08:56 AM PDT