Criminal Defense

Cooperating Plea Agreement in Federal Criminal Cases

Just the other day, "Bridgegate" cooperator and former Port Authority of New York and New Jersey official David Wildstein, was sentenced in federal court to probation. The two defendants that he cooperated against were sentenced to 24 months and 19 months in federal prison. Despite the fact that Wildstein pled guilty to two counts of conspiracy for his role in the offense, and faced several years in prison, the sentencing judge granted the government’s downward departure motion for a much more lenient sentence – in this case probation.

By |2022-06-08T21:05:53-04:00July 13th, 2017|Plea Bargaining|0 Comments

The Attorney General’s Directive to Go Back to Harsh Punishments

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently issued a directive to all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to charge defendants with the most serious provable offenses that carry the most substantial sentences, including mandatory-minimum sentences. This directive is a shift back to prior years where the “war on drugs” and other initiatives were designed to reduce crime and incarcerate – warehouse for extended periods - defendants for the longest possible terms.

By |2023-10-02T19:04:34-04:00May 17th, 2017|Sentencing|0 Comments

Wearable Technology Used in Criminal Investigations to Solve Crimes

Technology has advanced the ease and quality of life immeasurably. Smart phones are handheld computers that can surf the internet; deliver emails, texts and phone calls; take videos and pictures; make dinner reservations and track your every movement through various apps. Our cars can almost drive themselves with lane change warnings; infrared cameras; heads-up displays, cruise control with radar; event data recorders that record speed, braking and seatbelt use; and GPS tracking in case the car is stolen. Home security cameras, Amazon Echo, smart TV, smart appliances and the like can all be controlled remotely through the internet. A variety of devices that are small and comfortable enough to wear, such as Fitbits, iWatches and the like can track our movements, heart rates, calories burned, number of steps and location.

What is an Arrest Warrant?

An arrest warrant is, in many cases, the formal start of a criminal case against an individual. It is a sworn written recitation of enough “facts” of the case that demonstrate to a judge that there is probable cause to believe that a crime(s) has been committed and the at the defendant committed the alleged crime(s).

By |2023-10-20T16:14:14-04:00April 7th, 2017|Arrest Warrant|0 Comments

Expanding the Use of Experts in Criminal Cases

 In many types of criminal cases, the right expert can be invaluable.  Whether it is a forensic accountant in a complex fraud or tax investigation; a medical or billing expert in a healthcare fraud investigation; a forensic psychiatrist for a sex abuse or child pornography case; a computer expert for a computer crimes matter; or a drug or gang expert in a serious drug case, the proper expert retained early in the investigation can assist the client’s criminal defense attorney in his or her efforts to prevent the charges from being filed, or to develop a solid defense to aid in plea negotiations or to prevail at trial.

By |2023-09-29T14:02:53-04:00January 31st, 2017|Criminal Investigation, Criminal Trial|0 Comments

2016  New Jersey Supreme Court Domestic Violence Year-in-Review

In 2016, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued two opinions of particular importance for attorneys who regularly handle criminal domestic violence cases in New Jersey.  In State v. Bryant, decided on November 10, 2016, the Court suppressed evidence found during a protective sweep search of a home after a 911 call reporting a crime of domestic violence.  The opinion is extremely important for any defendant who has been charged with a crime based upon evidence uncovered during a police response to a domestic violence call. 

By |2021-05-23T23:19:43-04:00January 10th, 2017|Domestic Violence|0 Comments

NJ Appellate Division Clarifies Rules for Social Media Evidence Use at Trial

In the past few years, the explosion in the popularity of smart phones, text messaging, and use of social media has dramatically altered the fabric of our lives in ways that we are only beginning to understand. It has also changed the way that sophisticated attorneys investigate and litigate criminal cases.  We all now carry with us detailed records of our conversations, photographs, and even our whereabouts in our mobile phones. For those unlucky enough to become ensnared in a criminal case, those records can become evidence of incalculable value.  This is especially so for cases of domestic violence, where the parties almost always have created a voluminous record of communications in the form of text messages and online chats by the time a contested matter goes to trial.

By |2023-09-29T15:59:37-04:00December 23rd, 2016|Criminal Investigation|0 Comments

What is a Proffer Agreement?

Thanks to television and movies, most people are aware that prosecutors often make deals or agreements with individuals under investigation, wherein the person being investigated is granted immunity from prosecution or a reduction of charges in exchange for providing information to the government. Of course, the details of these negotiations are dramatized for the sake of the narrative; the reality of the situation is far more complex, particularly in white-collar criminal investigations. Almost any immunity or plea arrangement begins with a proffer agreement.

By |2023-10-02T19:17:41-04:00December 1st, 2016|Criminal Investigation, Proffer|0 Comments

Felony Conviction: Loss of Civil Rights

A felony conviction has a serious impact on a defendant’s life, even beyond the obvious immediate consequences of sentencing. A person who has a felony conviction on their record forfeits certain rights that other members of the community enjoy. In some jurisdictions there exists a process by which an individual can seek to have a felony conviction expunged from their record, but even this process may not fully restore every right and privilege that the person held prior to their conviction.

By |2022-06-08T21:18:08-04:00December 1st, 2016|Federal Courts, Felony, Penalties, Prison|0 Comments

What to Do When FBI Agents Come Knocking

It’s 6 a.m. or 8 p.m., your doorbell rings and two people are standing outside holding up their badges and credentials.  They say they are Special Agents with the FBI and would like to talk with you for just a few minutes about something important.  They ask if they could come in to speak with you privately.  Caught off-guard, and not wanting them to think that you have anything to hide, you invite them in (and, of course, you don’t want your neighbors to see them talking to you on your front steps).  The agents are “friendly” and just have a few questions to get your input, your side of things.   You decide to talk to them, only for a few minutes, in the comfort of your own home or office.  At the end, they thank you for your time and hand you either a grand jury subpoena or a “target letter.”  They say that you should get an attorney, or if you can’t afford one, the court will arrange for an attorney for you.

By |2023-09-29T14:08:31-04:00November 16th, 2016|Criminal Investigation|0 Comments
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