The trial of a northern New Jersey man charged with firebombing shuls in Bergen County could be moved.
New Jersey’s Supreme Court ruled that Aakash Dalal’s trial should either be moved out of the county or have a judge from another county brought in.
Dalal and Anthony Graziano, both of Lodi, were arrested for the attacks in 2012 and have pleaded not guilty to aggravated arson, conspiracy and bias intimidation charges. Each faces life in prison if convicted.
The presiding judge in the case and the judge who ruled on Dalal’s bail were allegedly listed in notes found in Dalal’s jail cell under the heading, “enemies.” Neither judge currently sits in Bergen County, but Dalal filed for a change of venue claiming he couldn’t get a fair trial in Bergen County because of those charges.
A judge denied Dalal’s motion but an appeals court reversed, writing that the appearance of fairness would be compromised if the trial were held in Bergen County.
The Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling Wednesday upheld the appellate court’s decision.