June 7, 2013
STATE OF NEW JERSEY, Plaintiff-Respondent,
ANTHONY NOVELLINO, Defendant-Appellant.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted June 4, 2013
On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Morris County, Indictment No. 11-02-00199.
Glazer & Luciano, P.C., attorneys for appellant (David B. Glazer, on the brief).
Fredric M. Knapp, Acting Morris County Prosecutor, attorney for respondent (Maggie Calderwood, Executive Assistant Prosecutor/ Special Deputy Attorney General, of counsel; Clementine Manochio, Supervising Assistant Prosecutor/Special Deputy Attorney General, on the brief).
Before Judges Fisher, Alvarez and Waugh.
In 2011, defendant was charged with the murder of his former wife. Prior to trial, defendant moved to disqualify the Morris County Prosecutor's Office. The motion was based on defendant's assertion that, in 2005, he hired Robert A. Bianchi – the Morris County Prosecutor at the time defendant was indicted and during the time he was investigated for his former wife's murder – to represent his son in a criminal matter. Defendant claimed that during the course of Bianchi's representation of his son, Bianchi obtained confidential information about defendant's relationship with his family, stress in the household, and defendant's financial situation – circumstances that may have relevance to the pending homicide case.
The trial judge denied defendant's motion, as well as a later motion for reconsideration. We granted defendant's motion for leave to appeal. During the pendency of this appeal, however, Bianchi resigned the position of Morris County Prosecutor. As a result, we conclude that whether the circumstances referred to by defendant created an impermissible conflict of interest has become a moot point, thereby requiring dismissal of the appeal.
Notwithstanding Bianchi's resignation, defendant argues that confidential information obtained from Bianchi's prior representation of his son may be improperly used against him at trial. We express no view on that subject. Defendant is certainly free to pursue that issue in some future appeal if his present concerns eventually ripen into fruition. Appeal dismissed as moot.