Double jeopardy protected sex offender from additional penalties omitted from his sentence but required by law

ANTHONY N. PALUMBO – SEXUAL ASSAULT LAWYER

A case decided by the New Jersey Supreme Court this fall held that a judgment of conviction for sexual assault could not be amended, after the defendant had served his sentence, to fix an error in the original sentence that had omitted legally-mandated lifetime community supervision requirements. Even though the original sentence was invalid due to the missing provisions, jeopardy attached as soon as that sentence was completed and the constitution prohibited the court from imposing additional penalties. State v. Schubert, 212 N.J. 295 (Oct. 22, 2012).

 

The defendant in Schubert pleaded guilty to second degree sexual assault in 1996 and was discharged from probation after completing his sentence in 2003. In 2007, however, the chairman of the parole board discovered that the original sentence had omitted mandatory lifetime community supervision requirements and at his request, the trial court entered an amended judgment in 2008 which added the missing provisions. The defendant then filed a petition to vacate the amended judgment, contending that the trial court had no jurisdiction to amend the sentence after it had been fully completed and that doing so violated the double jeopardy clause of the FIfth Amendment.

 

Although the double jeopardy clause is best known for protecting individuals from being prosecuting for the same offense after an acquittal, it also protects defendants from receiving multiple punishments for the same offense. The first factor to consider in determining whether an amended judgment amounts to this sort of unlawful multiple punishment is whether the additional sentence provisions are punitive or remedial: if they are remedial, then double jeopardy principles do not apply, but if they are punitive the court must then determine whether they constitute an unlawful additional penalty or merely a correction to an illegal sentence.

 

Applying these rules in Schubert, the court agreed with the defendant that community supervision for life is punitive in nature, not remedial, because an individual who is subject to community supervision for life has severely restricted freedoms. For example, he must receive permission from his parole officer before choosing where to reside and before commencing employment, and he can also be subject to random drug testing, yearly polygraphs, curfews, and restrictions on internet access, among other conditions. Moving to the second part of the double jeopardy inquiry–whether the amended judgment was an illegal additional penalty or an acceptable correction–the court explained that an unauthorized sentence can generally be corrected at any time before the sentence has been completed, but not after the defendant has served his term, as in this case.

 

For more information about New Jersey’s sex crimes laws or to schedule a free legal consultation, contact the law offices of Palumbo & Renaud at 908-337-7353.

 

Union County police sergeant indicted on sexual assault charges

A Plainfield police sergeant with 12 years on the force was recently indicted on one count of second degree official misconduct and one count of fourth degree criminal sexual contact for sexually assaulting a woman while on duty. The Union County Prosecutor’s Office alleges that he coerced the woman to perform sexual acts on herself while he sexually gratified himself.

 

“Sexual contact” is defined under the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice 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.” Criminal sexual contact is a fourth degree crime and is punishable by up to 18 months in prison under circumstances where the actor uses physical force or coercion but does not cause any severe personal injuries to the victim. More serious sexual offenses can be charged as third degree criminal sexual contact or as first or second degree sexual assault.

 

If you’ve been charged with a sex crime in New Jersey, it’s important to contact a defense attorney as soon as possible, and if you need an attorney, you can contact me, Anthony N. Palumbo. As a partner at the law firm of Palumbo & Renaud, I have more than 35 years of experience and I know the best tactics and strategies to win your case or negotiate a favorable plea bargain. Send me an email or call me at 1-866-664-8118 to set up a free and confidential consultation.

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.

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.

Convicted Monmouth County sex offender arrested on new sexual assault charges

A Monmouth County man was recently accused of sexually abusing a 15 year old boy and is being held on second degree aggravated sexual assault and third degree child endangerment charges. He previously served 4 years of an 8 year sentence for aggravated assault and aggravated sexual assault, having been released from prison in 2010.

 

Committing an act of sexual penetration with a minor constitutes second degree child sexual assault and is punishable by 5 to 10 years in prison. Certain aggravating factors, however,  such as the use of force or coercion, can raise the crime to first degree aggravated sexual assault, which is punishable by 10 to 20 years imprisonment.

 

People accused of child sexual assault may also be charged with additional offenses, such as endangering the welfare of a child. Third degree child endangerment, which carries a penalty of 3 to 5 years in prison, includes situations where a person engages in prohibited sexual acts with the child, such as intercourse, oral sex, masturbation, or other types of sexual conduct.

 

In addition to imprisonment, 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. Being convicted of aggravated sexual assault or for more than one sex offense, moreover, renders an offender ineligible for removal from Megan’s Law.

 

If you’ve been charged with child sexual assault or child endangerment in Monmouth County or anywhere else in New Jersey, I urge you to seek legal advice immediately. My name is Anthony N. Palumbo, and I am a criminal defense attorney with more than 35 years of experience. Contact me today for a free initial consultation through the email form on my website or at 1-866-664-8118.

26 year old religious studies instructor charged with sexually assaulting 17 year old in Middlesex County

A 26 year old Brooklyn man who volunteered as a Islamic studies instructor at the Al-Minhaal Academy in South Plainfield was  recently arrested and charged with sexually assaulting a 17 year old girl. The suspect, who stopped working at the academy in June, is being held at the Middlesex County Jail in lieu of $200,000 bail.

 

Sexual assault is a second degree crime in New Jersey and is punishable by 5 to 10 years in prison, severe fines, and possible inclusion in the state sex offender registry, depending on the severity of the crime. If the man in this case had supervisory authority over the girl as part of his job as a religious instruction, his offense could be upgraded to first degree aggravated sexual assault, which carries penalties of up to 20 years in jail and requires lifetime registration as a sex offender.

 

If you’ve been charged a sex crime in Middlesex County or anywhere else in New Jersey, you need a knowledgeable and skilled New Jersey sex crimes defense attorney who will fight to have your charges dismissed or downgraded. 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 sexual assault charges, contact me, Anthony N. Palumbo, through the email form on my website, or call me 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 tricks and tactics that the other side uses and the best strategies for protecting your rights. I will represent your interests aggressively and help to guide you through this difficult process..

 

Appellate court reverses convictions for accused Middlesex County serial rapist based on inappropriate trial procedures

Based on number of errors made by the trial court, the New Jersey Appellate Division recently reversed convictions for a burglary and three separate rape and sexual assault incidents that occurred in Middlesex County. As a result, the defendant’s 80 year sentence for these crimes was dismissed and the charges were remanded for new trials.

The first error involved the trial court’s decision to include the burglary and two of the rape incidents in the same trial. As the appellate court explained, for the charges to be tried together, they had to either share signature characteristics or arise from the same criminal event. The trial court grouped the charges together because the defendant used a knife and a condom during each of the rapes and was carrying both a knife and a condom when he was arrested after the burglary. But the appellate court ruled that the burglary didn’t share a signature characteristic with the rapes because it didn’t involve any sexual assault. Nor could the use of a knife and a condom in both rapes establish a signature characteristic because they weren’t particularly unique criminal circumstances. And because each of the incidents occurred at least several months apart, the court found that they couldn’t be considered part of the same criminal event.

 

The appellate court also found that it was error for the trial court to admit evidence regarding the burglary during the trial on the third rape because the evidence was only indirectly related to the rape and it wasn’t necessary for the prosecution’s case. The only real purpose for using the evidence was to prejudice the defendant, and this wasn’t a sufficient reason.

 

This case is important because it shows how the judicial system protects criminal defendants from evidence admitted solely to paint them in a bad light in front of a jury. Every defendant is entitled to a fair trial, and having an experienced defense attorney is the best way to ensure that trial procedures and the rules of evidence are followed the first time around.

 

If you’ve been accused of a sex crime in Middlesex County or anywhere else in New Jersey, you can contact me, Anthony N. Palumbo New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney, for a free and confidential consultation by calling me at 1-866-664-8118. I’ve been defending individuals against sex crime charges for almost four decades and I can give you an honest assessment of the penalties you face and the best possible avenues of relief.

 

 

Sexual Assault Charges in Hamilton, Mercer County & Release on Bail

A Hamilton School Bus Driver was charged with sexual assault in Mercer County.

New Jersey News reports a Hopewell Valley school bus driver has been suspended with pay after being arrested on charges of sexual assault on a teenage girl numerous times in his Hamilton Township home.  The driver, 39, is charged with aggravated sexual assault and being held on $100,000 bail in connection with the incidents that allegedly occurred between June 2010 and April.  During a bail review before the Superior Court Judge, defense counsel urged the Judge to reduce the accused’s $225,000 bail, saying the defendant has no criminal record and is not a flight risk.

Sexual assault is a significant criminal charge that normally results in high bail amounts being imposed upon the accused.  In certain circumstances, bail may be refused by a Judge and the individual accused may be forced to be incarcerated pending trial.  Normally, when deciding whether to grant bail, Judges consider two major factors: whether the accused is a flight risk; and whether the accused is a danger to the community.  If the answer is no to both of these questions, then the individual will be given a bail amount to pay in order to be free pending trial.

It is important to note that bail should not be considered a punishment for an offense, but rather a substantial incentive for the accused person not to flee before a trial can take place.  Thus, an individual with significant means may have a higher bail amount to pay than an individual with less economic wealth as they require different mounts to serve as a deterrent.

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 are securing bail for such offenses.  Visit my website, www.palumbo-renaud.com, for information on Sex Crime FAQ. 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.

A Highland Park Man was Charged with Sexually Assaulting Two Girls in Middlesex County

A Highland Park man previously charged with improperly touching a student at his martial arts school now faces charges of sexually assaulting two 15-year-old girls.  The man, who was also a New Brunswick teacher, surrendered to Highland Park police was charged with two counts each of aggravated criminal sexual contact and endangering the welfare of the two girls in Middlesex County.

Aggravated sexual assault is charged under N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2.  In the current matter, the defendant as charged with two counts of this crime.  If convicted, he could potentially face consecutive terms resulting in a prolonged period of incarceration.

New Jersey criminal procedure permits judges at sentencing for two separate offenses to impose incarceration to be served concurrently or consecutively.  In the event that a judge elects the terms to be served concurrently, then defendant will serve both jail terms during the same time.  For example, if a Judge sentences defendant to three years the first sexual assault and three years for the second to be served concurrently, then the defendant serves only three years of jail time.  However, if the Judge imposes the sentence consecutively then defendant would have to serve six years.

A skilled defense attorney can help reduce one’s sentence and potentially have them run concurrently.  I, Anthony N. Palumbo, a Middlesex County 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.  Visit my website for more information.  I have been defending individuals against sexual assault charges, including those involving minors, in New Jersey for almost four decades.

SEX CRIMES – MIDDLESEX COUNTY; 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 aggravated sexual assault.

Statutory sexual assault is 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 Law 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.

Visit my website, www.palumbo-renaud.com, for more information.