Articles Posted in Sex Crimes

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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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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Typically, when a person is convicted of a sex crime, the person will be deemed a sex offender. This often requires, in part, that the person registers on the internet as a sex offender. There is an exception to the internet registry requirement, however, for people convicted of a single-sex offense committed against a blood-relative, which is usually referred to as the household exception. In a recent case in which the defendant objected to the internet registry requirement, a New Jersey appellate court analyzed whether the household exception applies to a person convicted of sex crimes against multiple children in his household.  If you are charged with a sex crime, it is critical to engage an assertive New Jersey criminal defense attorney who will fight to protect your rights and reputation.

Facts of the Case

Reportedly, the defendant pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated sexual assault. The victims were two children that resided in the defendant’s household. The defendant was sentenced to eight concurrent years of imprisonment for each crime. Following his release, a Megan’s Law classification hearing was held during which the defendant was deemed a Tier II offender with a moderate risk of committing another offense. The hearing judge also determined that the defendant was required to register pursuant to the Internet Sex Offender Central Registry statute. The defendant objected to the registry requirement, arguing that the household exception to the internet registry requirement should apply. The hearing judge rejected the defendant’s assertions, and the defendant appealed.

The Household Exception to the Sex-Offender Internet Registry Requirement

In New Jersey, some people convicted of sex crimes are exempt from the internet registry requirement. Specifically, a person who is no more than a moderate risk may be exempt from the requirement if his or her sole sex offense is a conviction that arose out of circumstances in which the victim was a blood relative of the offender. The statute specifically provides that a sole sex offense is a single conviction or adjudication of guilt for a sex crime in which there was only one victim, one occurrence, that involves members of a single household.

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Many people who are convicted of sex crimes are required to register as sex offenders and submit to certain supervisory conditions as part of their sentences. Recently, the Supreme Court of New Jersey addressed the discrete issue of whether the condition that a registered sex offender submit to continuous GPS monitoring pursuant to the Sex Offender Monitoring Act violated offenders’ constitutional rights against unreasonable search and seizures. If you are charged with a sex offense, it is in your best interest to speak to a dedicated New Jersey criminal defense attorney to discuss what measures you can take to safeguard your interests.

Factual and Procedural History

Reportedly, in 2007 New Jersey enacted Sex Offender Monitoring Act (SOMA), which aimed to protect the community and prevent future sex crimes by permitting increased supervision of high-risk sex offenders that were released into the community. Specifically, SOMA permitted the New Jersey State Parole Board (the Board) to track high-risk sex offenders’ locations via an ankle device with GPS technology.

Allegedly, the defendant, who was convicted of attempting to lure a minor into a vehicle in 2010, was classified as a Tier III or high-risk sex offender following his release from incarceration in 2015. Thus, he was required to submit to GPS monitoring pursuant to SOMA. The monitoring allowed the Board to monitor the defendant’s location at all times. Thus, the defendant challenged the requirement as unconstitutional, arguing that it violated his rights against unreasonable search and seizure. The trial court found, however, that the requirement constituted a special needs exception to the warrant requirement for searches. The defendant then appealed.

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In New Jersey, a person may not only be charged for the commission of a sex crime, but also for attempting to commit a sex crime. Mere discussions or speculation regarding criminal acts are often insufficient to form the basis of a criminal charge, however, and there are certain elements the State must meet to convict a person of an attempt offense. Recently, a New Jersey appellate court discussed the criminal attempt statute in a case in which the defendant appealed his attempted sex crime convictions. If you are accused of attempting to commit a sex crime, it is critical to engage an assertive New Jersey sex crime defense attorney to assist you in fighting to protect your rights.

Factual History

It is reported that the defendant, who was a 62-year-old man, responded to an ad on a classified website. The ad was placed by a detective purporting to be a 14-year-old girl. Through the course of correspondence over several months, the “girl” advised the defendant that she was 14 and sent him a picture of herself that had been digitally altered so that she looked like a child. The conversations between the defendant and the girl became sexual in nature, and the defendant described the acts he would like to engage in with the girl. They ultimately agreed to meet at a fast-food restaurant so that the defendant could take the girl back to his house.

Allegedly, when the defendant arrived at the restaurant, he was arrested, and in his car, the police found condoms and whipped cream vodka that the girl requested the defendant purchase. He was charged with attempted sexual assault, luring a minor, endangering the welfare of a child and two counts of attempting to endanger the welfare of a child. He was convicted of four of the counts, after which he appealed, arguing that improper jury instructions allowed him to be convicted of the attempt crimes based on his mental state.

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People that are convicted of sex crimes are typically required to register as sex offenders. In New Jersey, there are multiple tiers sex offenders can be categorized under, based on their perceived risk of re-offense, and the obligations imposed on a sex-offenders varies based on tier. The duty of proving a sex offender’s tier designation falls on the State, not the offender, as discussed in a recent case in which the offender objected to his classification as a Tier II offender. If you were charged with or convicted of a sex crime, it is in your best interest to speak to a knowledgeable New Jersey criminal defense attorney to discuss your rights.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the defendant, who lived in Pennsylvania, was charged with and convicted of numerous sexual assault charges involving acts perpetrated on his minor son and daughter. He pleaded guilty to one charge and was deemed a sexually violent predator and a pedophile and sentenced to a term of imprisonment followed by parole. The defendant then relocated to New Jersey, and following a hearing he was classified as a Tier II sex offender, which required him to notify law enforcement agencies and community organizations of his status. The defendant appealed his designation, arguing that he should have been classified as a Tier I offender. Upon review, the appellate court affirmed his designation.

The Burden of Establishing the Appropriate Sex Offender Tier

In New Jersey, registered sex-offenders are categorized into three tiers based on the risk of re-offense: Tier I, which is low risk, Tier II, which is a moderate risk, and Tier III, which is a high risk. Tier classification is determined on a case by case basis, based in part on the offender’s risk assessment scale score, which is determined by the seriousness of the offense, the offender’s history and characteristics, and what community support is available. In assessing what designation is appropriate, a court must balance the offender’s right to privacy and the community’s interest in notification and safety. While an offender cannot dispute the risk assessment score he or she is assigned, he or she can dispute the proposed Tier designation.

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