My nephew was arrested for theft in Mercer County New Jersey. He was in the Correction Center in Trenton for a week until his bail hearing and then his father bailed him out after the bail hearing. The prosecution stated the alleged theft related solely to a box of jewelry hidden somewhere in the basement of a residence that my nephew had access to as a result of his job responsibilities. The prosecution is further claiming the value of this jewelry to be approximately $100,000 and that a second degree unlawful theft was appropriate with bail at $50,000. His public defender argued that the value of the alleged stolen jewelry has not been determined since it was never recovered and a charge of third or fourth degree was more appropriate with bail at $10,000. The judge sided with his public defender and set bail was set at $15,000 since prosecution offered no hard evidence at the bail hearing the jewelry was worth $100,000. The judge did make some kind of comment that some type of conviction appears strong. The prosecution did not object or respond in any way after the judge made his decision.
My nephew denies he stole the box of jewelry. His company fired him. The day my nephew was arrested at his home he allowed police to search his home and they did find some items of jewelry that he claimed were purchased at various thrift shops and flea markets. I assume the police still have these items. From what I gather, at one point during the police search at his home the day of his arrest, he admitted to taking something, but he claims he was confused and thought the police were questioning him on an unrelated prior charge relating to illegal pills that he purchased. To be honest I am a little confused on exactly what he said or may have admitted to.
His arraignment is scheduled in three weeks. His public defender indicated that my nephew would be an excellent candidate for the New Jersey Drug Court program since he has admitted to taking illegal drugs and he wants too get off drugs.
Taking all of this into consideration, what kinds of actions should be nephew be taking or thinking about in the next three weeks until his arraignment? How would the prosecution charge of second degree unlawful theft actually hold up in a trial case?