Essex County sex offender entitled to withdraw guilty plea, court holds

An Essex County man who pled guilty to third degree child endangerment charges in 2005 was granted post-conviction relief by a New Jersey appeals court in December. The defendant, Carlton Green, filed for relief after he had completed his 3 year sentence and was civilly committed as a sexually violent predator, claiming that his plea counsel was ineffective for failing to advise him that he faced the possibility of lifetime commitment. The court agreed and held that the initial guilty plea had to be vacated. State v. Green, No. A-1826-11T4 (N.J. Super. Dec. 27, 2012).

 

The record in Green’s case showed that he had acknowledged the risk of being civilly committed during a brief interchange with the judge at his sentence hearing, but his plea counsel did not recollect whether he had actually explained to Green what this meant. Importantly, Green’s signature was also conspicuously absent from the plea form which detailed the possibility of lifetime civil commitment under the Sexually Violent Predator Act and Green testified that he believed he was facing just 3 years in jail.

 

In State v. Bellamy, the New Jersey Supreme Court addressed a claim of ineffective counsel in the context of the Sexually Violent Predator Act and held that “when the consequence of a plea may be so severe that a defendant may be confined for the remainder of his or her life, fundamental fairness demands that the trial court inform defendant of that possible consequence.” In such cases, the failure of either the court or defense counsel to sufficiently explain the consequences deprives the defendant of information which is needed to make a knowing and voluntary plea, and the appropriate remedy is to remand the case and allow the defendant to withdraw the plea.

 

The court found that the Bellamy standard was not met in this case, as the record was “completely barren of any written plea forms that mention” civil commitment and the only time that it was mentioned during Green’s hearing was a “stray comment of the judge who oversaw the plea allocution.” The court also emphasized that under Bellamy, Green did not need to show that the result of the case would have been different had he been aware of the consequence of possible lifetime commitment; rather, “no additional showing beyond a lack of knowledge is required, which was clearly provided through Green’s uncontradicted testimony on remand.”

 

If you’ve been charged with a sex offense in New Jersey, the last thing you need is a lawyer who doesn’t know how to defend you or who doesn’t care enough to help you understand your case. The results can be disastrous, as this case demonstrates, with wasted years of incarceration and appeals. The much better route is to consult with an experienced sex crime defense lawyer at the earliest possible date so that you can prevent major errors from occurring and make sure that you’ve chosen the best legal strategy to protect your rights and reduce your penalties.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Online sting operation nabs Monmouth County man for attempted child sex crimes

A Monmouth County man was arrested for attempted child endangerment and attempted luring after engaging in sexually explicit internet chats with a Passaic County sheriff’s officer posing as a 12 year old girl. The man, unaware that his chat partner was a police officer, allegedly asked to meet the girl several times to go camping, to the mall, and horseback riding. On two occasions he also initiated video chats with the officer and exposed his genitals.

 

The offense of endangering the welfare of a child applies when an actor engages in a prohibited sexual act with a child who is less than 16 years old. “Prohibited sexual acts” include not just sexual penetration, but also bestiality, sadism, masochism, oral sex, and the possession, creation, or distribution of child pornography. As a result, the offense encompasses many different types of crimes, ranging from consensual sexual activities between adults and minor children to more egregious cases of child sexual abuse, and the penalties increase along with the severity of those circumstances. To prove charges of attempted child endangerment, as in this case, the state has to prove that the actor took a substantial step in a course of conduct that would have constituted child endangerment if the offense was completed. Attempted child endangerment generally carries the same penalty that would apply had the crime been completed.

 

Luring is a separate crime that occurs when a person attempts to lure or entice a child under the age of 18 into a motor vehicle, structure, or isolated area, or attempts to convince the child to meet or appear at any other place, with a purpose to commit a criminal offense against the child.  Luring is generally a second degree crime and carries a penalty of 5 to 10 years in prison.

 

The use of online “sting operations” to catch child predators has become increasingly common in recent years as sex offenders have learned to use chat rooms, social networking sites, and other online tools to lure minors into sexual situations. These law enforcement operations, however, may be susceptible to challenges of unlawful entrapment if the defendant can prove that the police officer’s conduct would have coerced an otherwise law-abiding individual to commit the crime under similar circumstances.

 

I am Anthony N. Palumbo, New Jersey sex crimes defense attorney, and I’ve represented clients against charges of luring and solicitation of minors for nearly 40 years. If you’ve been arrested as part of an online sting operation and believe that you were a victim of entrapment, contact me at  908-337-7353 to discuss your case, confidentially and at no cost. It’s possible that you could have other defenses available in your case, such as constitutional claims or evidentiary challenges, and even if you were caught red-handed, you might still be able to negotiate a favorable plea deal and have the charges reduced.

Essex County prosecutors accuse teacher of sexual abuse

A former “Teacher of the Year” from West Orange was recently accused of sexually abusing a 15 year old boy in her English class. The teacher, who former students say was “flirtatious” and prone to inappropriate behavior, was charged with first degree aggravated sexual assault, second degree sexual assault, and endangering the welfare of a child.

 

Sexual assault is a second degree crime in New Jersey and is punishable by 5 to 10 years in prison, severe fines, and inclusion in the state’s sex offender registry. However, the charges can be upgraded to first degree aggravated sexual assault in situations such as this one where the actor had supervisory authority over the victim. First degree aggravated sexual assault carries penalties of up to 20 years in jail upon conviction and requires lifetime registration as a sex offender.

 

If you’ve been accused of a sex crime in Essex County or anywhere else in New Jersey, contact a lawyer immediately to discuss your case and the chances for having your charges reduced or dismissed. A skilled criminal defense lawyer will help you understand the complexities of the trial process and fight for your right to a fair trial throughout the ordeal.

 

I am Anthony N. Palumbo, a partner at the firm of Palumbo & Renaud, and you can schedule a free and confidential consultation with me by contacting me online www.palumbo-renaud.com or at 908-337-7353.

Monmouth County man sentenced to 15 years for luring and child endangerment convictions

A Monmouth County man who was convicted of luring a teenage girl into his home and having inappropriate sexual contact with her was sentenced to 15 years in prison, the Asbury Park Press reports. Although the most serious charge carried a 5 to 10 year sentence, the judge imposed an extended term based on the offender’s prior criminal record.

 

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 against the child. A conviction for second degree luring carries a penalty of 5 to 10 years in prison.

 

The offense of endangering the welfare of a child applies when an actor engages in a prohibited sexual act with a child who is less than 16 years old. “Prohibited sexual acts” include not just sexual penetration, but also bestiality, sadism, masochism, oral sex, and the possession, creation, or distribution of child pornography. The severity of child endangerment charges varies depending on the underlying offense, ranging from fourth degree criminal charges for viewing or possessing child pornography to first degree criminal charges for parents who photograph or film their children engaging in prohibited sexual acts.

 

In addition to these penalties, a person convicted of luring and child endangerment may also be required to register as a sex offender under New Jersey’s Megan’s Law.

 

If you’ve been charged with a child sex crime in Monmouth County or anywhere else in New Jersey, you need an experienced defense lawyer who will press every legal advantage and fight for your rights throughout the judicial process. I am Anthony N. Palumbo, New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney, and to learn what I can do to help in your case, contact me online or at 1-866-664-8118 for a free and confidential consultation.

 

Monmouth County pizza deliveryman charged with sexually assaulting 14 year old girl

A 22 year old pizza deliveryman from Freehold was arrested for allegedly attacking a 14 year old girl on two separate occasions, the Asbury Park Press reports. Police charged him with two counts of sexual assault, two counts of criminal sexual contact, and two counts of child endangerment.

Second degree child sexual assault is punishable by 5 to 10 years in prison, and includes situations where the defendant commits an act of sexual penetration and the victim is between 13 and 16 years old and is at least 4 years younger than the defendant. These circumstances also qualify as fourth degree criminal sexual contact, which carries a penalty of up to 18 months in prison.

The offense of third degree child endangerment occurs when a person causes harm to a child under the age of 16 or engages in prohibited sexual acts with the child, such as intercourse, oral sex, masturbation, or other types of sexual conduct. A conviction for third degree child endangerment is punishable by 3 to 5 years in prison.

If you’ve been charged with a child sexual assault or face other criminal charges in New Jersey, you need an experienced defense lawyer who will press every legal advantage and fight for your rights throughout the entire judicial process. Don’t wait until it’s too late to fight your charges—consult with an attorney as soon as possible. I am Anthony N. Palumbo, New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney, and to learn what I can do to fight your charges, contact me for a free and confidential consultation through the email form on my website or at 1-866-664-8118.

 


Essex County man arrested for allegedly exposing himself to young girl

As reported by NJ.com, an Essex County man was arrested after allegedly approaching a young girl and touching himself through his open pants while talking to her. The man, who has been arrested for indecent exposure several other times, was charged with criminal sexual contact, endangering the welfare of a child, and indecent exposure in front of a minor.

Under the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice, “sexual contact” is defined as “an intentional touching by the victim or actor, either directly or through clothing, of the victim’s or actor’s intimate parts for the purpose of degrading or humiliating the victim or sexually arousing or sexually gratifying the actor.” When the victim is less than 13 years old, as in this case, criminal sexual contact qualifies as second degree sexual assault and is punishable by 5 to 10 years in prison.

Touching oneself in front of a child who is less than 16 years old also constitutes third degree child endangerment, which carries a penalty of 3 to 5 years in prison, and fourth degree lewdness/indecent exposure, which is punishable by up to 18 months in prison.

If you’ve been charged with a sex crime in Essex County or anywhere else in New Jersey, you need an experienced defense lawyer who will press every legal advantage and fight for your rights throughout the judicial process. I am Anthony N. Palumbo, New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney, and to learn what I can do to help in your case, contact me online or at 1-866-664-8118 for a free and confidential consultation.

 

Union County choir director charged with child endangerment after allegedly sending sexual Facebook messages to teenage boy

According to Springfield Patch, a Union Township man was arrested and charged with third degree child endangerment for allegedly sending sexually charged Facebook messages to a 15 year old boy. The Union County Prosecutor said in a statement that the man met the teenage boy at a Newark church, where he served until recently as a choir director.

 

The offense of third degree endangering the welfare of a child, which is punishable by 3 to 5 years in prison, occurs when a person engages in sexual conduct which would impair or debauch the morals of a child under the age of 16. Child endangerment also includes other offenses such as engaging in prohibited sexual acts with a child or possessing, creating, or distributing child pornography. The severity of child endangerment charges varies depending on the underlying offense, ranging from fourth degree criminal charges for viewing or possessing child pornography to first degree criminal charges for parents who photograph or film their children engaging in prohibited sexual acts.

 

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 child sex offense in New Jersey, you need a knowledgeable and skilled child sex abuse defense attorney who will fight to have your charges reduced or dismissed.

 

For a free and confidential consultation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer, contact me, Anthony N. Palumbo, New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney, through the email form on my website, or call me at 1-866-664-8118. 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.

Ocean County man charged in underage prostitution case

A 64 year old Toms River man became the fourth man to be arrested in an underage prostitution scheme earlier this month. The suspect was detained on $175,000 bail and charged with child endangerment and engaging in prostitution with a minor.

 

The offense of endangering the welfare of a child applies when an actor engages in a prohibited sexual act with a child who is less than 16 years old. “Prohibited sexual acts” include not just sexual penetration, but also bestiality, sadism, masochism, oral sex, and the possession, creation, or distribution of child pornography. The severity of child endangerment charges varies depending on the underlying offense, ranging from fourth degree criminal charges for viewing or possessing child pornography to first degree criminal charges for parents who photograph or film their children engaging in prohibited sexual acts. In a case such as this one, involving child prostitution, the actor would likely be charged with child endangerment in the third degree, which is punishable by 3 to 5 years imprisonment.

 

Engaging in prostitution with a minor is also third degree crime, and the law specifies that it’s no defense if the actor mistakenly believed that the child was 18 years or older, even if his mistaken belief was reasonable.

 

In addition to prison time and possible fines, a person convicted of the charges raised in this news story would also be required to register as a sex offender under New Jersey’s Megan’s Law.

 

Sex crimes involving minors are some of the most stigmatizing offenses in criminal law, and the mere accusation that a person has committed a crime against children can be enough to destroy his family and career forever. But even if you’ve been charged with a sex crime against a child, you may have legal defenses available to you, and you should consult with an experienced sex crimes defense lawyer as soon as possible to discuss whether your charges could be reduced or even dismissed.

 

If you need a New Jersey Sex Crime Defense Lawyer, you can contact me, Anthony N. Palumbo, through the email form on my website www.palumbo-renaud.com or at 1-866-664-8118 for a free and confidential consultation. As a New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney with extensive experience defending people accused of sex offenses 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, the consultation is entirely confidential, so you can get answers to your most private questions.

Convicted of Criminal Sexual Contact in Elizabeth

When a person commits aggravated sexual assault in Elizabeth, it is common to be charged with multiple New Jersey sex offenses including endangering the welfare of a child or criminal sexual contact. In order to commit an act of New Jersey sexual assault, there must be sexual penetration between the victim and the offender. For criminal sexual contact in New Jersey to occur there must be an act of sexual contact. The reason the two offenses are often together is because when an act of sexual penetration has been satisfied for sexual assault, then most likely an act of sexual contact has been satisfied for criminal sexual contact. For an example of how this works consider a recent Elizabeth sex offense case in which a man was charged with sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, endangering the welfare of a child, and criminal sexual contact in New Jersey.

In the case, a family friend who lived in the basement was convicted of multiple sex offenses after one of the children reported his conduct to her father, the landlord. The assault began when the girl was 6-years-old, but it was not reported until she was 10. Two of her siblings were also assaulted by the same man. The man told her that if she informed her parents of the assault, no one would believe her. When the girl eventually told her father, the father found little cameras in his daughters’ rooms from which the man had been watching them. Hundreds of DVDs were also discovered in which the man recorded the acts of sexual assault with the girls. He was convicted and sentenced to 27 years in prison for the offenses.

The man’s act established the requirements for a conviction of both criminal sexual contact and aggravated sexual assault. He was convicted of aggravated sexual assault in Elizabeth because he was an adult who committed an act of sexual penetration with a person who is under 13-years-old. Sexual penetration means vaginal intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio, anal intercourse, and insertion of the hand, finger or object into the anus or vagina.  He was also convicted of criminal sexual contact because he committed an act of sexual contact and used force and/or coercion. Sexual contact is an intentional touching (under or over clothing) of a person’s sexual organs, genital area, anal area, inner thigh, groin, butt or breast, committed with the purpose of degrading the victim or sexually arousing the toucher. Sexual penetration and sexual contact are similar; the main difference being that penetration is not required.

My name is Anthony N. Palumbo, New Jersey sex crime defense attorney and many of the sex crime cases I handle involve defendants charged with multiple sex offenses that stem from the same conduct. Fortunately, the premise that allows the state to charge an individual with multiple offenses for the same conduct can sometimes work in the clients favor because when evidence can be discredited in a way that strikes down shared elements of various charges, both charges are often dismissed. If you or a loved one has been charged with multiple sex offenses in New Jersey, there are many defenses that may be available on your behalf. To speak with an experienced sex crime attorney about the charges you face call 1-866-664-8118 for a free and confidential consultation.

To learn more about sex crimes in New Jersey, visit the sex crimes homepage on my website www.palumbo-renaud.com.

Charged with Child Endangerment in Belmar, New Jersey

Child endangerment is a crime in New Jersey that may be charged when an individual who has a legal duty to care for a child engages in sexual conduct or harms the child with neglect or abuse.  For an example of a child endangerment charge in New Jersey, consider the recent case involving the Belmar high school coach charged with 11 counts of child endangerment.  The coach was charged with the crime after evidence suggested that he offered 10 students whom he coached money in exchange for text messages describing their masturbation practices.  The reason the coach was charged under this statute is because as a coach, he had a legal duty to care for the alleged victims and if the facts against him are proved, he would have subjected them to sexual misconduct.  Child endangerment is a serious crime and may result in penalties of up to 10 years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines.