New Jersey’s criminal harassment statute has long occupied the space in which the messiest family law disputes cross over into the realm of criminal law. Although there are indeed many legitimate cases of harassment that deserve punishment, in recent years New Jersey appellate courts increasingly had noted that the harassment statute too often criminalized “ordinary domestic contretemps” – i.e. the non-violent verbal sparring that accompanies the disintegration of a marriage or romantic relationship. In the view of the courts (and many frustrated family law and criminal attorneys), New Jersey’s harassment statute was too permissive in allowing an angry spouse or romantic partner to file criminal or civil domestic violence charges after being subjected to hurtful or vile insults, even where there had been no actual violence or threat of harm.
Back in April, I wrote about airport and border searches of average travelers coming back to the United States from their business or personal trips abroad. Since you are coming back across our border, law enforcement does not need probable cause to suspect that a crime has been committed, that you were involved, and that evidence of that criminal conduct is on your laptop, tablet or smart phone.