The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, is a statewide criminal defense firm with twelve offices throughout New Jersey. Our team includes ten (10) attorneys that dedicate their practices exclusively to defending the accused, making it a unique commodity in the state. The qualifications of the lawyers are also impressive and include:

• Over 200 Years of Combined Experience Representing Clients Charged With Indictable Crimes, Disorderly Persons Offenses and Serious Motor Vehicle Violations
• Former County Prosecutors Who Have Served At The Highest Levels Such As Director Of Major Crimes, Juvenile, Domestic Violence, Special Operations, Homicide, Drug Task Force, Guns, and Even An Entire Trial Division
• Certified Criminal Trial Attorneys
• Recognition as Top 100 Trial Lawyers by the National Trial Lawyers Association, Top 10 Defense Lawyers in New Jersey by the National Academy, Ten Leaders in both Criminal Defense & DWI in New Jersey and Superlawyers

Free consultations with an attorney at the firm are always free. You can reach us 24/7 at 877-450-8301.

In any criminal case, the State must prove each element of the charged offense in order to obtain a guilty verdict. Thus, if the State cannot demonstrate an element of a crime, the defendant should not be convicted, and any conviction based on inadequate facts should be overturned. In a recent case, a New Jersey appellate court discussed what the State must establish to prove guilt for a kidnapping offense, specifically discussing the element of a substantial period of confinement. If you are charged with kidnapping or any other felony, it is advisable to consult a knowledgeable New Jersey criminal defense attorney to assess what evidence the State may produce against you.

Factual History of the Case

It is reported that the defendant held a knife to a woman’s neck and forced her to perform sex acts for several hours, despite her protests. She was ultimately rescued by a passerby. The defendant was charged with numerous crimes, including first-degree kidnapping. He was convicted as charged, after which he appealed, arguing that the State had failed to prove the substantial period of confinement requirement of the kidnapping offense. His appeal was granted, after which the State appealed. On appeal, the appellate court reinstated the defendant’s conviction.

The Substantial Period of Confinement Element of Kidnapping Crimes

Under the relevant statute, a person that moves a party a substantial distance or unlawfully confines someone else for a substantial period will be found guilty of kidnapping if the act is undertaken for the purpose of committing a crime or inflicting bodily harm. Further, unless a defendant releases his or her victim unharmed and in a safe environment, kidnapping is a first-degree crime. The statute does not define the terms substantial distance or significant period, however.

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Criminal defendants are afforded the right to confront any witnesses that testify against them by both the New Jersey and the United States Constitutions. Thus, if a defendant is denied the right to cross-examine a witness, it may result in a miscarriage of justice. There are some limitations to the right to confront witnesses, though, that may constrain a defendant’s right to question a witness regarding certain topics. Recently, a New Jersey court addressed the issue of whether a criminal defendant that is charged with the same crime as a cooperating witness may question the witness regarding his sentencing exposure. If you are charged with a criminal offense, it is essential to retain a dedicated New Jersey criminal defense attorney who will fight to help you seek a just outcome.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the defendant, the witness, and another individual were arrested and charged with burglary. The witness accepted a cooperating plea offer, agreeing to testify against the defendant and the other individual in exchange for a three-year sentence. The trial judge suggested a modification of the agreement, which ultimately resulted in a reduced sentence of one hundred and eighty days in jail, followed by probation. The witness then testified against the defendant at trial.

Allegedly, in an attempt to establish the bias of the witness, the defendant’s counsel tried to question the witness regarding his plea negotiations and the sentence he would have faced if he had not agreed to testify against the defendant. The trial court barred the attorney from asking such questions, however, stating that it could prejudice the jury. The defendant was convicted and sentenced to seven years imprisonment, after which he appealed, arguing that the trial court’s limitation of his cross-examination of the witness deprived him of his right to confrontation.

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Generally, criminal suspects that are juveniles are treated differently than adult offenders by the criminal justice system and are afforded greater rights. In some instances in which a crime allegedly committed by a minor is egregious, however, the State may move for a waiver that would allow the minor to be prosecuted as an adult. In a recent case, a New Jersey appellate court discussed the appropriate procedures for determining whether a juvenile that is charged with a grave crime should be waived to the Criminal Part and tried as an adult. If you or your child are accused of committing a crime, it is critical to understand your rights, and you should speak with a trusted New Jersey criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

Facts of the Case

Allegedly, the defendant was accused of sexually assaulting a five-year-old boy. The defendant, who was seventeen at the time the offense was reportedly committed, suffered from intellectual disabilities, which an expert psychiatrist stated resulted in the defendant’s intellectual age being the same as that of a thirteen-year-old child. The State requested that the defendant be waived to the Criminal Part due to the serious nature of his offenses. The trial court granted the waiver, and the defendant appealed. On appeal, the appellate court reversed the trial court ruling.

Evaluating Whether a Juvenile Defendant Should be Waived to the Criminal Part

Under New Jersey’s revised waiver statute, the minimum age for an offender to be eligible for waiver is fifteen. Additionally, a waiver motion must be accompanied by a written statement of reasons that explicitly explains the facts used to assess the waiver factors enumerated under the statute, along with an explanation of how the evaluation of those facts supports a waiver for the juvenile in question.

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People throughout New Jersey are aware that if individuals are stopped by the police, they must first be advised of their Miranda rights before any interrogation begins. It is not typical, though, for a person to know the full extent of the Miranda warning or to know if a less then complete warning has been administered. Regardless of an individual’s independent knowledge of their rights, if an investigating officer fails to provide a proper warning to a defendant, it may result in the dismissal of any conviction that arises out of evidence obtained via the defendant’s interrogation, as shown in a recent New Jersey case. If you are accused of a crime, it is advisable to meet with an accomplished New Jersey criminal defense attorney to examine your rights.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the police stopped a car in the early morning for a traffic violation. There were two passengers in the car, one of whom was the defendant, that the driver identified as minors. The police noticed an odor of alcohol during the stop and requested that the driver undergo field sobriety testing. The driver became belligerent and ordered the other passengers to take things from the car. When the passenger door was opened the smell of marijuana wafted out of the vehicle. The police then advised the defendant to place her belongings back in the car because, at that time, they were going to conduct a narcotics investigation. The defendant complied and was advised of her Miranda rights.

Allegedly, the officer then asked the defendant if a purse in the car belonged to her. She responded, yes. The officer did not confirm that the defendant waived her rights prior to questioning her. Narcotics were found in the purse. The defendant was then charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance and was adjudicated delinquent. She appealed, arguing that she was not properly advised of her rights.

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In many instances in which a defendant is charged with a serious crime, there will be evidence that may be enough for the State to obtain a conviction. In such instances, a defense attorney will often request that the court instruct the jury regarding any lesser included offenses of the crime with which the defendant is charged, in an attempt to avoid the greater penalty associated with the more serious misconduct. An instruction on lesser included offenses is not always warranted, however, as demonstrated in a recent New Jersey case in which the defendant was convicted of murder. If you are charged with a serious crime, it is prudent to speak to a seasoned New Jersey criminal defense attorney to discuss your options for seeking the best result available under the facts of your case.

Facts and Procedural History

It is reported that the defendant, who worked for the victim, bound and gagged the victim and placed a sponge soaked with ammonia over her nose. He then, along with an accomplice, transported her to a wooded area where he proceeded to dig a hole and bury her. The accomplice testified that the victim was making noises and moving while she was being buried. An autopsy revealed that the victim died of asphyxiation. The defendant was charged with numerous crimes, including first-degree murder, kidnapping, and robbery.

Allegedly, during the trial, the defendant’s attorney requested a jury instruction on the lesser included offense of aggravated manslaughter to the first-degree murder charge, arguing that the defendant’s acts were reckless rather than intentional. The court denied the request, and the defendant was convicted as charged, after which he appealed.

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A confession by a defendant is an extremely powerful aspect of a criminal case. This is why police work so hard to persuade someone to admit to a crime prior to their obtaining an attorney. Tactics to coerce someone into a confession have, in fact, been commonplace since our nation was created and this is why the Fifth Amendment was adopted to preclude the government from forcing citizens to self-incriminate. If you have been charged with a criminal offense and provided a confession prior to your obtaining representation, you definitely want to read this article closely. A lawyer who is knowledgeable and skilled in Miranda Hearings may be able to change the entire complexion of your case. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall possess these attributes with:

  • Over 200 years of collective experience litigating complex suppression issues involving Miranda and other constitutional right violations
  • 10 lawyers that limit their practices exclusively to criminal defense

Criminal defendants have numerous rights that extend even after they are convicted of crimes, especially if they are juveniles at the time they allegedly engaged in unlawful activity. For example, a juvenile that is convicted of an offense is protected from being sentenced to mandatory life imprisonment without parole. Recently, a New Jersey court discussed the parameters and implications of this prohibition, in a case in which the defendant appealed a life sentence issued when he was seventeen on the grounds that it was unlawful. If you are a minor charged with a crime, it is important to confer with a knowledgeable New Jersey criminal defense attorney regarding your rights.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that in 1976, the defendant was charged with multiple crimes when he was seventeen, including murder and armed robbery. He was then indicted on numerous other charges, including intent to steal and escaping from a youth corrections center. He ultimately pleaded not guilty to the murder and intent to steal charges in exchange for dismissal of the remaining charges. He was then sentenced to life imprisonment.

Allegedly, during his imprisonment, the defendant was found guilty of over one hundred infractions, almost forty of which were serious. In 1990 he engaged in a riot during which a prison guard was stabbed. He was charged and convicted of multiple counts relating to the riot and was ultimately sentenced to fifteen years imprisonment with a parole bar of close to seven and a half years. He was subsequently denied parole multiple times. He then filed a motion arguing that his life sentence was illegal under recent case law.

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The recently enacted Criminal Justice Reform Act (CJRA) aimed to enlarge and protect the rights of criminal defendants, in part by reducing and eliminating bail and pretrial containment for non-violent offenders that do not present a risk of harm. As the CJRA is relatively new, its scope and application are still being interpreted by the courts. This was demonstrated in a recent New Jersey appellate case in which the court ruled on the issue of whether the CJRA allowed for criminal contempt charges when a defendant violates the condition of his or her pretrial release. If you are faced with criminal charges, it is critical to retain a zealous New Jersey criminal defense attorney who will work to protect your interests.

Factual History

It is reported that two defendants were arrested and charged with unspecified crimes. They were both released without bail prior to trial, but they were required to comply with certain conditions. Each defendant independently violated one of the conditions of his release, and both were charged with contempt for violation of a court order. The trial courts independently ruled that, under the CJRA, the defendants could not be charged with contempt for violating a release order. The State appealed, and the appellate court reversed, after which the defendants appealed.

Criminal Contempt Under the CJRA

On appeal, the appellate court largely affirmed the trial court rulings. The appellate court noted that when a judge orders conditional pretrial release, the defendant must be notified of the conditions in a clear and specific manner so that the defendant is apprised of what conduct is acceptable. If a court fails to notify a defendant of the repercussions for violating the terms of his or her release, it does not preclude the court from seeking any authorized remedy for the violation.

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In New Jersey, if a criminal defendant lacks the ability to understand the crimes the State alleges the defendant committed or the consequences he or she faces if convicted, the defendant may be held unfit to stand trial. When a defendant’s competency is questioned the State must prove numerous factors for the defendant to be found competent, as discussed in a recent New Jersey case in which the defendant was charged with kidnapping and attempted sexual assault. If you are charged with kidnapping or a crime of violence, it is wise to meet with a knowledgeable New Jersey criminal defense attorney to analyze your potential defenses.

The Alleged Crime

It is reported that the defendant was charged with kidnapping and attempted aggravated sexual assault. The defendant had a competency hearing, after which he was found competent to stand trial. Shortly prior to trial, however, he struck his head and began exhibiting concerning behavior. The defendant’s attorney requested a second competency hearing, but the request was denied. A jury convicted the defendant, after which he appealed arguing, in part, that the court erred in denying the second competency hearing.

Competency to Withstand Trial Under New Jersey Law

Under New Jersey law, if a defendant lacks the capacity to understand criminal proceedings against the person, or to assist in his or her own defense, the defendant cannot be tried, convicted, or sentenced, during the time the incapacity exists. As such, a competency hearing must be held when evidence is produced that raises a bona fide question as to a defendant’s competence.

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If a person is charged with a crime, the State must prove each element of the charge in order to obtain a conviction. While the State may rely on direct and circumstantial evidence in support of its position that a person committed a crime, in most instances, the State is not permitted to introduce evidence of a person’s prior crimes or bad acts to demonstrate that the person is guilty of a current charged offense. Recently, a New Jersey appellate court discussed the prior bad acts exclusion in a case in which the State appealed the trial court’s ruling barring evidence of prior charges. If you are charged with a crime, it is in your best interest to discuss your charges with a capable New Jersey criminal defense attorney to assess what evidence the State may attempt to introduce against you.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the defendant was charged with numerous crimes on separate occasions. Specifically, in 2014 the defendant was charged with weapons crimes and receiving stolen property but was ultimately acquitted. The charges arose out of the seizure of a gun from a hidden compartment in the defendant’s dashboard. In 2017, the defendant was charged with numerous weapons and drug offenses, and a warrant again revealed a gun hidden in a secret compartment in the dashboard of the defendant’s car. Prior to trial, the defendant filed a motion asking the court to preclude evidence of the gun found in the hidden compartment as set forth in the 2014 case. The trial court granted the motion, and the State appealed.

Evidence of Prior Crimes and Bad Acts

Under New Jersey law, evidence of prior crimes, bad acts, or wrongs, is generally not admissible unless it is used to demonstrate motive, intent, preparation, opportunity, or the absence of mistake or accident when such issues are relevant to the primary issue in dispute. In other words, it is a rule of exclusion, not inclusion, and courts must exercise caution in deciding whether to admit such evidence, as it has a tendency to be prejudicial. Particularly, evidence suggesting that a defendant committed a prior crime is more likely to persuade a jury that it is probable that a defendant committed the crime with which he or she is currently charged, and a court must carefully analyze whether it should be admitted.

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