Court holds that juvenile accused of sexual assault cannot be retried in Monmouth County

The Appellate Division held in July that the state could not appeal the dismissal of a Monmouth County juvenile sexual assault case. The state’s appeal was nothing more than an attempt to commence a second prosecution for the same offense, the court concluded, in violation of the Double Jeopardy clauses of the state and federal constitutions. State ex rel. J.T., No. A-0595-12T1 (Jul. 11, 2013).

 

The juvenile defendant was accused of performing acts of fellatio on another minor and was charged with the juvenile equivalents of first-degree aggravated sexual assault and third degree endangering the welfare of a child. The judge ruled, however, that one of the prosecution’s key pieces of evidence—a videotaped interview with an 11 year old child who knew about the incident—was inadmissible because it lacked trustworthiness. Without this evidence, the judge granted a directed verdict in the defense’s favor and dismissed the complaint. The prosecution appealed.

 

Double jeopardy prevents defendants from being retried for the same offense after being acquitted, but the prosecution argued that double jeopardy didn’t apply in this case because the dismissal was based on what should have been a pre-trial evidentiary ruling. The Appellate Division did not agree. As the court explained, the evidentiary ruling was decided during the trial and after jeopardy had attached. The trial judge, moreover, had indicated to the attorneys when the trial commenced that the evidentiary ruling would be made during the trial, not as a pre-trial procedure. The prosecution did not object to this framework, and having failed to do so then, it could not later attempt to fix its mistake by claiming that double jeopardy didn’t apply. For these reasons, the court rejected the prosecution’s appeal and affirmed the dismissal in favor of the juvenile defendant.

 

For more information about sexual assault charges in Monmouth County, call the Law Offices of Palumbo & Renaud at 908-337-0753 or visit the law firm website at www.palumbo-renaud.com.

Union County man arrested for child sexual abuse

As NJ.com reports, a man trying to flee the country was recently arrested in Union County and charged with sexually abusing two young children. Officials have learned the first names of two additional victims and are currently trying to identify them.

 

Under the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice, committing an act of sexual penetration with a victim who is less than 13 years old is classified as first degree aggravated sexual assault and is punishable by 10 to 20 years in prison. Committing other types of sexual contact with a victim under 13 years old can be separately charged as a second degree sexual assault, which carries penalties of 5 to 10 years in prison. Charges for endangering the welfare of a child are also common in child sex abuse cases.

 

In addition to these penalties, convicted child sex offenders must also register as sex offenders under New Jersey’s Megan’s Law. This can be one of the most difficult parts of a child sex abuse case because registration is very public and can continue after prison or even permanently, severely damaging offenders’ reputations and making it difficult for them to obtain housing and employment.

 

If you’ve been charged with child sexual abuse in Union County or anywhere else in New Jersey, you need a knowledgeable and skilled sex crimes defense attorney who will fight to have your charges dismissed or downgraded. Being accused of a child sex crime can have serious consequences, and even if you’re innocent, the mere accusation can cost you your professional and personal reputation. If you need assistance in defending yourself against sexual assault charges, contact me, Anthony N. Palumbo, on my website www.palumbo-renaud.com or at 1-866-664-8118 for a free and confidential consultation.

 


Ocean County man arrested for exposing himself to young girls

A 38-year old Jackson Township man was arrested for allegedly exposing himself to young girls during an incident that took place in Lakewood in late August. The man was apprehended during a surveillance operation and the police believe that he may be responsible for similar incidents dating back to 2008.

Depending on the circumstances of this case and the age of the girls, the man could be charged with sexual assault, which includes situations where the offender intentionally touches himself for the purpose of sexual gratification and the touching is in view of a victim who is less than 13 years old. Sexual assault is a second degree crime, punishable by 5 to 10 years in prison.

If the man didn’t touch himself during the incident but merely exposed himself to the girls, he could still be charged with lewdness, which is defined under New Jersey law as “exposing of the genitals for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of the actor or any other person.” If the girls were under the age of 13, lewdness would be a fourth degree crime, which is punishable by up to 18 months in prison. Otherwise, it would be a disorderly persons offense, which can carry penalties of up to 6 months in prison and up to $1,000 in fines.

In addition to these penalties, a person who is convicted of a child sexual abuse crime will also be required to register as a sex

offender under Megan’s Law.

Sexual offenses involving children are some of the most damaging offenses in criminal law, and the mere accusation that a person has committed a child sexual assault can be enough to destroy that person’s family and career forever. If you’ve been charged with a sex crime against a child, you can contact me, Anthony N. Palumbo, from Palumbo & Renaud Law Firm a New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer for a free and confidential consultation through the email form on my website or at  1-866-664-8118.As a criminal defense lawyer with extensive experience defending people accused of sex crimes and crimes against children, I can speak to you confidently and accurately about your case. And even if you decide not to retain my services, Consultation is entirely confidential, so you can get answers to your most private questions.

 

 

Ocean County Man Sentenced for Sexually Assaulting Children

Cirilo Cholula Maranchel, 19, of Lakewood, was sentenced to 25 years in prison after pleading guilty to crimes committed in 2009. Maranchel sexually assaulted eight girls, who ranged in age from four to nine. He faced six counts of aggravated sexual assault, as well as two additional sexual assault charges.

 

Maranchel chose not to try his case, as he wanted to spare his victims the strain that would accompany any trial. However, not everyone charged with a sex offense has such an easy decision. Often, uninformed decisions are made that severely diminish the rights of those accused.

 

Many people charged with a sex crime plead guilty without understanding exactly what they are up against. They just want to move past the conviction, and focus on moving forward. Unfortunately for those people, sex crimes carry many unique sentencing components that last long after a release from prison.

 

Those convicted are also required to register as sex offenders. Whenever a person moves into a new neighborhood, law enforcement must be notified. In turn, the community will be informed about the offender’s presence. If the offender does not commit any additional sex offenses in the 15 years following a conviction, he or she can petition the court to be removed from the offender list, but the court does not necessarily have to remove the offender from the list.

 

Additionally, most sex offenders will be forced to serve at least 85 percent of their prison sentences before being eligible for parole. The No Early Release Act applies to those convicted of violent offenses, and includes aggravated sexual assault.

 

If any of the victims are children, these cases can become extremely high profile. The media may distribute information that makes it difficult to obtain a fair trial. Prosecutors will be under pressure to get convictions, and be unwilling to discuss potential plea bargains.

 

When you have been charged with a sex crime, it is extremely important to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney. It is important to prepare a strong defense as soon as you learn you are the target of an investigation. Often, police focus on a suspect, and begin to gather evidence that supports their theories. Any information that could cast doubt on guilt or provide a defense against the accusations is routinely ignored, making it difficult to defend yourself against the accusations.

 

My name is Anthony N. Palumbo, New Jersey Sex Crime Defense Lawyer with over 35 years of experience practicing criminal law at the firm Palumbo & Renaud. I have extensive experience handling the defense of sex crimes and have obtained relief for those people facing charges involving criminal sexual contact. I understand the severity of sexual crimes, and how embarrassing these charges can be. We are here to help you and your family get through the legal process. I know what needs to get done and I make sure that criminal sexual contact charges are handled with the right balance of aggressive litigation and sensitivity.

 

For more information on sex crimes in New Jersey, visit my sex crimes website and my New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer website at www.palumbo-renaud which provides all the information you need to know about sex crimes in New Jersey. Call 908-337-7353 for a free consultation today.

Twenty year jail term for Newark man who attacked two girls and a young woman in Essex County

NJ.com reports that a Newark man was sentenced to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to luring an 11 year old girl, kidnapping and assaulting a 14 year old girl, and kidnapping and sexually assaulting an 18 year old woman. According to prosecutors, he attempted to kidnap the 11 year old and the 14 year old on the same date, and separately abducted the 18 year old woman and sexually assaulted her while holding a box cutter to her head.

 

A person commits the crime of second degree luring if he attempts to lure or entice a child under the age of 18 into a motor vehicle, structure, or isolated area, or to meet or appear at any other place, with a purpose to commit a criminal offense (such as a sexual assault) with or against the child. A conviction for second degree luring carries a penalty of 5 to 10 years in prison.

 

Kidnapping is a more serious offense, and is committed when a person unlawfully removes another person from her home or business, or a substantial distance from the vicinity where she was taken, or if he unlawfully confines her for a substantial period, when his purpose is:

  • to facilitate the commission of any crime or flight thereafter;
  • to inflict bodily injury on or to terrorize the victim or another person;
  • to interfere with the performance of any governmental function; or
  • to permanently deprive a parent, guardian, or other lawful custodian of custody of the victim.

Kidnapping is usually classified as a first degree crime and is punishable by a term of 15 to 30 years in prison. Certain aggravating factors can result in a longer prison sentence, such as sexually assaulting a child victim during the kidnapping.

 

Sexual assault charges can be brought based on many different kinds of non-consensual sexual penetration, and may be charged as either first or second degree crimes based on the severity of the offense. Second degree sexual assault is upgraded to first degree aggravated sexual assault, however, if the offense is committed during the course of a kidnapping, as in this case. As a first degree crime, aggravated sexual assault is punishable by 10 to 20 years in prison, and a convicted offender also has to register for life as a sex offender under New Jersey’s Megan’s Law.

 

If you’ve been charged with luring, kidnapping, or sexual assault in Essex County or anywhere else in New Jersey, you need a knowledgeable sex crimes defense attorney who can advise you of the penalties you face, possible defenses, and the best course of action to take to avoid or minimize criminal penalties. Contact me, Anthony N. Palumbo, New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney, through the email form on my website www.palumbo-renaud.com, or call me at 1-866-664-8118 for a free and confidential consultation. As a former prosecutor and current defense lawyer with more than 35 years of experience, I know the best strategies for protecting your rights and I will help to guide you through this difficult process.

SEX CRIMES – NEW JERSEY; SOLICITATION OF A PROSTITUTE

Former All-Time-Great, Lawrence Taylor, Pleads Guilty to Solicitation of a Prostitute.

The ex-Giants linebacker pleaded guilty in January to sexual misconduct and having sex with the underage prostitute.  Taylor pleaded guilty to misdemeanors.  Taylor will also have to abide by the conditions of a sex offender. But the judge postponed until April 12 the hearing to determine what level of sex offender will be assigned to him.

While Taylor was charged and plead guilty in New York, his case provides an interesting study for the potential consequences of his actions had they taken place in New Jersey.  In New York, the age of sexual consent is 17 years old.  Because Taylor had sex with a 16 year old prostitute, despite not knowing her age, he was charged initially with sexual assault as she was below the age of consent.  New Jersey has a lower age of consent than New York.  In New Jersey, one only need be 16 years old to consent to sexual relations.  As such, Taylor, if caught in New Jersey, would have only been charged with solicitation of a prostitute.

In New Jersey, solicitation of a prostitute and prostitution are charged as the same crime, known as solicitation and prostitution. To be convicted of the charge of prostitution the prosecution must prove that you offered or accepted money in exchange for sexual services, which is defined very broadly.  For a first-time offense, an individual can be sentenced to six months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines.  For every subsequent offense, each conviction carries up to 18 months in prison and fines up to $10,000.  Suspension of one’s driver’s license is another possibility.  Because of these significant penalties, it would behoove one accused of soliciting a prostitute to consult with a criminal defense attorney.

I, Anthony N. Palumbo, a New Jersey Sex Crime Defense Attorney, understand the workings of the law and can properly defend accused persons in sexual assault offenses as well as those who have been convicted of solicitation of a prostitute.  Visit my website, www.palumbo-renaud.com, for more information.  I have been defending individuals against sexual assault charges, including those involving minors, in New Jersey for almost four decades.  As a longstanding member of the legal community, a former prosecutor, and a current public defender, I can give you an honest assessment of the penalties you face and the best possible avenues of relief.  If you would like to discuss your case, freely and confidentially, with an experienced attorney at no obligation, contact me at 1-866-664-8118 for a free consultation.

Sexual Assault Involving Minors

The New Jersey Appellate Division strengthened the law prohibiting sexual crimes against children in a recent decision regarding the State’s burden of proof.

On appeal from a case in Mercer County, the New Jersey Appellate Division ruled that State need only show that a defendant acted with a “knowing” state of mind when he committed an act of sexual assault against a child, and not necessarily when he “impaired or debauched” the morals of a child.

The Court reasoned:

The “knowingly” state of mind is found to be a mandatory requirement for the first element of the offense, “engages in sexual conduct,” the mens rea element would not automatically be a mandatory requirement of the second element, “would impair or debauch the morals of the child.” Stated differently, because N.J.S.A. 2C:2-2(c)(3) specifies that the gap filler statute applies to “some or all” of the elements of the offense, it is possible for the mental culpability requirement to be satisfied by proof only that the defendant knowingly engaged in sexual conduct.

The result of this ruling is a strengthened prohibition against criminal sexual contact involving children.  In situations involving explicit sexual contact, it would be no defense that defendant did not knowingly intend to debauch or impair the morals of a child.  The Court, however, left open the possibility of this defense being raised in cases where there was no sexual contact such as in instances of child pornography or indecent exposure.

This case, State v. Bryant, A-1480-09T4, has been approved for publication as of March 3, 2011.

 

Statute of Limitations for Sexual Assault Indictment in Union County

New Jersey Sex Crime Attorney – Anthony N. Palumbo

A man was arrested for sexual assault in New Jersey based on an alleged incident that took place ten years ago.  The man was charged with second-degree sexual assault, a crime that carries the possibility of up to ten years in prison.  The alleged incident occurred at his apartment with a girl, who at the time was five-years-old.  The arrest took place after the girl and her mother went to the police station and filed a report.  Subsequently, the man was taken to police headquarters where he admitted to the conduct, but denied that the girl was five-years-old at the time.  According to the defendant, she was seven.  Even though this crime may have occurred a decade ago, the statute of limitations for sexual assault in New Jersey does not bar this action.

Under the statute of limitations for sexual assault in New Jersey, if the victim is under eighteen-years-old, the charge must be brought within five years after victim attains eighteen.  However, if the assault is not discovered until much later, the action can still be brought so long as it is commenced within two years of the discovery of the offense.  In this case, the former rule applies.  The victim can bring the case because she was under eighteen when the alleged assault occurred and the action commenced before she was twenty-three years-old.  However, if the act had not been discovered until she was twenty-eight, she would have been able to bring an action against the defendant before she was thirty-years-old.

 

Morris County Man Charged with Criminal Sexual Contact

New Jersey Sex Crime Defense Lawyer – Anthony N. Palumbo

A New Jersey man from Mountain Lakes was arrested and charged with the third-degree crime of criminal sexual contact for his alleged conduct while giving a tennis lesson to a juvenile.  Although the defendant is a member of the tennis club and not an instructor, allegations suggest that he touched a fourteen-year-old girl while instructing her during a tennis lesson.  Criminal sexual contact is a charge that results from an illegal sexual touching that does not go far enough to be considered sexual penetration.  Sexual penetration is an element of the crime of sexual assault which is a second-degree crime.  When there is only touching involved in the illegal sexual act, the charge is third-degree criminal sexual contact.  A second-degree crime in New Jersey carries penalties of five to ten years in prison while a third-degree crime carries penalties of three to five years in prison.  A conviction of a sex crime in New Jersey often results in enrollment under Megan’s Law, New Jersey’s sex offender registration.

 

Lewd Conduct in Hunterdon County

New Jersey Sex Crimes Attorney – Anthony N. Palumbo

Lewd conduct charges flourished in New Jersey during the 2010 summer months, especially near the New Jersey shore where beaches create a tempting environment to disrobe.  Lewd conduct is a unique charge and is one of many charges in which seemingly innocent conduct can result in criminal penalties.  In New Jersey, there are two main ways to commit lewd conduct.  The first way is by committing an offensive act which a person could reasonably expect to be observed by people who have not consented to see such an act and who would be alarmed or offended by it.  If a person is convicted of lewd conduct in this manner, it is a disorderly persons offense which carries $1,000 in fines and up to 6 months in prison.  The second way lewd conduct can be committed is when a person exposes his private parts to gratify himself or someone else under circumstances that he can reasonable expect to be observed by a child under 13 years old, a child who is at least four years younger than the actor, or someone with a mental defect.  This is more serious than the first type of lewd conduct and is a fourth degree crime, carrying up to 18 months in prison on conviction.

For an example of lewd conduct, consider a recent case in Hunterdon County in which a man was charged with lewd conduct after he removed his clothes and masturbated inside of a public building.  Most likely this case would qualify under the first type of lewd conduct because it does not appear to involve a child or a person with a mental defect.  In this case, the actor was hired to clean a public building, but at some point after he arrived, he began to masturbate within the line of vision of a woman who was washing dishes next door.  The woman claims that the defendant was looking at her while he was committing the masturbatory act.  When the police were informed, they went to the building to question the man.  He answered the door in his clothes and explained to officers that he sometimes removes his clothes when he gets hot at work.  Police found a pair of boxers in the man’s pocket and arrested him.  He was charged with lewd conduct and criminal sexual contact.