Middlesex County sex offender not entitled to new trial on Megan’s Law address registration violation

Following his conviction in 2010 for failing to verify his address and failing to register a change of address as required by Megan’s Law, a Middlesex County sex offender was deemed ineligible for a new trial last month. State v. Harcher, No. A-4841-11T4 (Oct. 1, 2013).

 

The defendant was convicted for child endangerment in 1994 and was sentenced to jail time as well as lifetime supervision under Megan’s Law. Upon his release from prison he was advised of the sex offender address registration requirements that applied under Megan’s Law and he provided his mother’s address as his residence. When he subsequently failed to verify this address, however, the police went to the property and discovered that his mother had moved away. He was then charged with failing to verify his address and failing to notify police of a change in address.

 

Before seeking a new trial, the defendant had appealed his conviction on the ground that there was insufficient proof, but the jury and the court disagreed. The defendant then commenced this litigation, claiming that he had ineffective legal counsel. His first argument was that his attorney failed to adequately investigate the existence of an unnamed police officer who allegedly told him that he did not have to register. This claim, the court found, was completely uncorroborated, and his attorney’s failure to find the mystery police officer provided no basis for a new trial. The defendant also contended that his attorney “coerced” him not to testify, but the court concluded that it was more “advice” than “coercion” and that it did not amount to inadequate legal performance.

 

For more information about defending sex offender registration violations in Middlesex County, contact me, Anthony N. Palumbo, Esq., at 908-337-7353 for a free consultation.

Convictions for prostitution were not a single “crime spree” eligible for expungement, court holds

Criminal convictions can be expunged in New Jersey after a period of 10 years, but only for offenders who have no prior or subsequent convictions. In limited circumstances, an offender may be able to prove that multiple convictions were so closely related to each other that they form a single event for purposes of expungement, but this was not the case in a recent Appellate Division opinion denying expungement for two prosecution offenses. In re Expungement of the Crim. Records of C.A.D. (Jul. 18, 2013).

 

The petitioner in this case owned and operated two massage parlors that were fronts for prostitution. Middlesex County authorities arrested him in 2002 in connection with one of the massage parlors and charged him with various prostitution offenses. Two months later similar charges were filed against him in a separate indictment in Bergen County, where the second massage parlor was located. He eventually pled guilty to one count of fourth degree maintaining a nuisance in each case and after serving his probation he filed an expungement petition for both convictions in Middlesex County. Hoping to avoid the restriction on multiple convictions, he contended that his convictions were part of a common “crime spree” and should be treated as a single event for expungement.

 

The court rejected the petitioner’s “crime spree” argument and denied his request for expungement, concluding that he had been convicted of two separate offenses and failed to prove otherwise. As the court noted, the petitioner’s crimes occurred in different counties and resulted in different criminal indictments; they simply could not be considered truly simultaneous under the totality of the facts.

 

If you’re facing sex crimes charges in Middlesex County and have questions about the possible penalties and legal consequences, or if you have an existing sex crimes conviction that you’d like to get expunged, call the Law Offices of Palumbo & Renaud at 908-337-7353.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Middlesex County woman charged with prostitution following investigation into online erotic spa advertisements

Police arrested a Middlesex County woman for prostitution and authorities shut down the Bergen County acupressure spa where she worked following a recent investigation into advertisements for erotic spa services that were posted on Craigslist. The spa, one of about a half dozen to be investigated by River Edge police over the past five years, had opened just a few weeks before the police noticed the online advertisements and determined that the business wasn’t licensed for massage. “Social media has become an investigative tool,” said River Edge police chief Thomas Cariddi. “When something comes up, it’s a very quick search from there.”

 

Prostitution is defined under New Jersey law as sexual activity with another person in exchange for something of economic value, or the offer or acceptance of an offer to engage in sexual activity in exchange for something of economic value. Engaging in prostitution is generally a disorderly persons offense, which carries a penalty of up to 6 months in jail, but for second and subsequent offenses the charge is increased to a fourth degree crime, which  is punishable by up to 18 months in jail.

 

Third degree promoting prostitution, which is punishable by 3 to 5 years in prison, is a more serious crime. It includes owning, controlling, managing, supervising or otherwise keeping a house of prostitution or a prostitution business; procuring an inmate for a house of prostitution or procuring a place in a house of prostitution for one who would be an inmate; or encouraging, inducing, or otherwise purposely causing another to become or remain a prostitute. Other types of promoting prostitution, such as soliciting a person to patronize a prostitute or procuring a prostitute for a patron, are classified as fourth degree crimes.

 

For more information about prostitution charges in New Jersey or to schedule a free and confidential legal consultation, contact the law offices of Palumbo & Renaud at 908-337-7353.

 

 

 

 

 

SEX CRIMES – MIDDLESEX – SEXUAL ASSAULT

A Middlesex man was arrested on charges he had a two-year tryst with a 14-year-old township girl. Authorities said the man. a tattoo artist, coerced sexual favors from the girl in exchange for giving her a free tattoo. He has been charged with multiple offenses including three counts of statutory sexual assault and four counts of sexual assault.

Consensual sex with a minor who is too young to give her consent to having sex. The age of sexual consent is in New Jersey is 16. This is a strict liability offense, meaning it is not relevant whether or not an individual knew he was having sex with a minor. The act in itself is enough to result in a conviction. In New Jersey, the crime of statutory rape is charged as either sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault, depending on the age of the victim. Clearly, the younger the victim, the greater the chance of being charged with aggravated sexual assault as it carries an even stiffer sentence.

A conviction for statutory sexual assault could result in a prison sentence of up to 10 years. For aggravated sexual assault, the maximum prison sentence is 20 years. Additionally, defendants convicted of either of these crimes must register as sex offenders under Megan’s if the victim was under the age of consent. This law requires you to give your name, whereabouts and a list of your crimes to the local community. Additionally, a conviction of aggravated sexual assault requires registration for life.

I, Anthony N. Palumbo, a New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer, understand the workings of the law and can properly defend accused persons in sexual assault offenses as well as those who have been convicted. Visit my website, www.palumborenaud.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 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.

 

 

New allegations against Middlesex County man charged with child sexual assault

A Middlesex County man already facing sexual assault charges involving four people has now been accused of sexually assaulting two more children, NJ.com reports. In addition to charges for sexual assault, he is also being charged with endangering the welfare of children for showing them pornographic materials.

 

Under New Jersey law, sexually assaulting a child who is less than 13 years old qualifies as second degree child sexual assault, an offense punishable by 5 to 10 years in prison, unless the actor commits an act of sexual penetration with the child, in which case the charge is upgraded to first degree aggravated sexual assault and is punishable by 10 to 20 years in prison.

 

The crime 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, among other things. The severity of child endangerment charges varies depending on the underlying offense, ranging from fourth degree criminal charges for viewing child pornography to first degree criminal charges for parents who film their children engaging in prohibited sexual acts.

 

If you’ve been charged with child sexual assault or child endangerment, I urge you to seek legal advice immediately. My name is Anthony N. Palumbo, and I am a New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney with more than 35 years of experience as prosecutor, public defender, and criminal defense lawyer. Contact me today for a free initial consultation through the email form on this website or at 1-866-664-8118.

 

More information about crimes against children on my website:

  • Endangering the Welfare of Children
  • Child Pornography
  • Child Pornography Charges
  • Child Molestation
  • Child Molestation by Family Members or Friends
  • Child Sexual Assault

Newark softball coach accused of sexually assaulting 15 year old girl in Middlesex County

A 20 year old Newark woman who served as a softball coach in Middlesex County has been accused of sexually assaulting a 15 year girl on her team. According to the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, the woman was charged with two counts of aggravated sexual assault and two counts of sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child.

 

Aggravated sexual assault is a first degree crime and occurs when the offender commits an act of sexual penetration when, as in this case, the victim is between the ages of 13 and 16 years old and the offender has supervisory or disciplinary power over the victim. As a first degree crime, aggravated sexual assault is punishable by 10 to 20 years in prison, and a person who’s convicted of aggravated sexual assault must also register for life as a sex offender under Megan’s Law.

 

Sexual assault and child endangerment, although less serious offenses, still carry heavy penalties. Charges for sexual assault can be brought based on many different kinds of non-consensual sexual contact and are usually graded as a second degree crime, which is punishable by 5 to 10 years imprisonment. The offense of endangering the welfare of a child applies when an actor engages in prohibited sexual acts with a child under the age of 16. It’s usually considered a second or third degree crime, depending on the severity of the crime, carrying penalties of 3 to 10 years.

 

Have an attorney by your side

If you or someone you love has been charged with a child sexual assault crime, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to guide you through the difficult process ahead and ensure that your rights are protected.

Call me at 908-337-7353, I will answer any questions you may have.

Temple University football player from Middlesex County arrested for rape

A freshman football player at Temple University was arrested earlier this month in connection with a sexual assault that took place on the school’s campus. The student, who played football for Woodbridge High School prior to attending Temple, was charged with rape and aggravated assault. He was released on bail and has been suspended from the football team pending the outcome of his case.

 

Rape constitutes second degree sexual assault, but the charges can be upgraded to first degree aggravated sexual assault under certain circumstances, such as when the actor is armed with a weapon or uses physical force that results in severe injuries. Second degree sexual assault is punishable by 5 to 10 years in prison, while first degree aggravated sexual assault can result in a sentence of up to 20 years.

 

If you’re facing rape or sexual assault charges, the most important thing you can do is to consult with an experienced New Jersey sex crimes defense attorney. A lawyer will be able to help you through this difficult process and get the best results in your case.

 

To arrange a free and confidential consultation with a sex crimes defense lawyer, contact me, Anthony N. Palumbo, New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney, at www.palumbo-renaud.com.

Middlesex County university professor arrested for child pornography distribution

A biochemistry professor at the Rutgers University New Brunswick campus was recently charged with possession and distribution of child pornography, according to NJ.com. An investigation by the State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit found that the professor used peer-to-peer file sharing.

 

Distributing child pornography is considered a second degree crime in New Jersey, subject to a sentence of 5 to 10 years in prison, and the possession of child pornography is a fourth degree crime, subject to a sentence of up to 18 months imprisonment. Child pornography may also be prosecuted under federal law.

 

In addition to imprisonment, a person convicted on child pornography charges 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 pornography crime, I urge you to seek legal advice immediately. Contact me today for a free initial consultation through the email form on this website or at 1-866-664-8118, and I will carefully go through the facts of your case to make sure that all possible defenses are raised on your behalf.

 

Middlesex County karate instructor sentenced to three years in prison for sex assaults

According to NorthJersey.com, a former New Brunswick High School karate teacher was sentenced to 3 years in prison after pleading guilty to one count of sexual assault and one count of criminal sexual contact. Both offenses involved 16 year old girls, and in addition to the prison sentence, the karate instructor will be required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law.

It’s considered second degree sexual assault for a person to commit an act of sexual penetration with a victim who is at least 16 but less than 18 years old when the actor has some supervisory or disciplinary power over the victim. Such an offense can also be charged as second degree criminal sexual contact.

Although the sentence for a second degree crime usually ranges from 5 to 10 years in prison, the term of incarceration can be reduced, as in this case, for first-time offenders if the prosecutor and the sentencing court agree that doing so would serve the interests of justice.

Being accused of sexual assault 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 sex crimes charges in Middlesex County or anywhere else in New Jersey, contact me, Anthony N. Palumbo, New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney, through the email form on my website or at 1-866-664-8118 for a free and confidential consultation. As a former prosecutor and public defender with more than 35 years of experience, I know the defenses and tactics that the other side uses and the best strategies for protecting your rights.