New Jersey Supreme Court throws out evidence in child sex abuse case due to violation of state wiretap law

The New Jersey Supreme Court held in July that key evidence in a child sexual abuse case had to be suppressed due to a violation of the state’s wiretap laws. The statutory procedure for obtaining prosecutorial approval before placing a wiretap had to be strictly followed, the court concluded, and any wiretap evidence collected without such prior approval would be rendered inadmissible. State v. K.W. (Jul. 11, 2013).

 

The defendant in State v. K.W. was charged with multiple counts of aggravated sexual assault and child endangerment in relation to the sexual abuse of his daughter over a two-year period. She reported the abuse when she was 13 and was referred to the Assistant Essex County Prosecutor, who proposed placing a wiretap on her mother’s phone line to gather evidence. The Assistant Prosecutor then sought approval for the wiretap from an authorized designee of the County Prosecutor, as required under the wiretap statute, and obtained an authorization from his supervisor. He was mistaken about his supervisor being an authorized designee, however, and didn’t obtain the necessary prosecutorial approval until after the wiretap had already been concluded.

 

In determining whether to suppress the wiretap evidence, the court looked to the history of the wiretap statute and the legislature’s emphasis on privacy and the need to prevent law enforcement from having unfettered discretion to spy on telephone conversations. With these concerns in mind the court found that the statute had to be strictly applied, with any deviation from the prior approval requirement resulting in suppression of the evidence. The wiretap evidence against K.W. had to be thrown own, accordingly, despite the fact that it had been collected in good faith. The prosecution could still rely on evidence collected under a search warrant for the defendant’s property, however, because it had been obtained independently of the wiretap.

 

For more information about fighting sex crimes charges in New Jersey, call the law offices of Palumbo & Renaud at 908-337-7353.

Monmouth County man indicted on child sexual assault charges

A grand jury recently indicted a Holmdel Township man on four counts of child sexual abuse. In addition to two charges of second degree sexual assault, which were based on alleged sexual contacts with a girl under the age of 13, the defendant was also charged with second degree  child endangerment and fourth degree lewdness.

 

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 and the actor is at least four years older than the victim, sexual contact qualifies as second degree sexual assault and is punishable by 5 to 10 years in prison. N.J.S.A. §§ 2C:14-1, 2C:14-2.

 

Second degree child endangerment is also punishable by 5 to 10 years in prison. The crime can be committed when a person who has a legal duty to care for a child engages in sexual conduct which would impair or debauch the morals of the child. Second degree child endangerment also includes certain offenses relating to the production and distribution of child pornography. N.J.S.A. § 2C:24-4.

 

Fourth degree lewdness, also called “indecent exposure,” occurs when a person exposes his intimate parts for the purpose of arousing or gratifying his own sexual desire or that of anyone else when he knows or reasonably expects that he will be observed by a child who is less than 13 years old and where he is at least four years older than the child. The crime is punishable by up to 18 months in prison. N.J.S.A. § 2C:14-4.

 

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. N.J.S.A. § 2C:7-2.

 

If you’ve been charged with child sexual assault in Monmouth County or anywhere else in New Jersey, you need a knowledgeable and skilled child sex abuse defense attorney who will fight to have your charges reduced or dismissed. You can contact me, Anthony N. Palumbo New Jersey Sex Crime Attorney, 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.

 

 

Elizabeth Man Not-guilty of Child Sexual Assault


I have been defending sexual assault cases in New Jersey for over 35 years and I have built a reputation for excellence in this area of the law. A recent case in the news illustrates the verdict I strive to obtain for my clients in sexual assault cases. In the case, an Elizabeth man was found not guilty in the alleged sexual assault of a 6-year-old girl after it was proved that he could not have possibly inflicted the alleged injuries. The man was charged with first degree sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child and was facing up to 20 years in prison.

The case was dismissed after it was demonstrated that the alleged wounds were caused while the defendant was in custody. While it was at one point an issue that the suspect ran from police when he was arrested, the defense lawyer explained that upon arrest, he was approached by plain clothes officers and did not realize he was being arrested. The man does not speak English and unfortunately, an immigration detainer was placed on him when he was charged with the crime. The man now faces deportation even though he was found not guilty.

My name is Anthony N. Palumbo, New Jersey sex crime attorney and when it comes to sexual assault cases in New Jersey, I have a reputation for providing solid defenses. Sexual assault cases are difficult for all of the parties involved and require the right balance of sensitive negotiation and hard-line litigation to obtain the best possible outcome for the client. If you have been accused of sexual assault in Elizabeth, I am prepared to defend your charge. Contact me today at 1-866-664-8118 for a Free and Confidential Consultation with an experienced sex crime attorney, or visit my website at www.palumbo-renaud.com for more information about sexual assault in New Jersey.