Sexual Assault Conviction Upheld After Appellate Dissent
- June 26, 2015
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T.J.M. was accused by the daughter of his girlfriend, with whom he resided, of sexual abuse. T.J.M. was charged with second-degree sexual assault (N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2(b)), first-degree aggravated sexual assault (N.J.S.A.. 2C:14-2(a)(1)) and second-degree endangering the welfare of a minor (N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4(a)) and was ultimately convicted of second-degree sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a minor. Chloe, the child making the accusations, indicated that T.J.M. had abused here over a period of roughly 4 years in the residence they shared and in the defendant’s van. The conviction of T.J.M. in the Bergen County Superior Court, Law Division, Criminal part was affirmed by the NJ Appellate Division but a dissenting opinion within the Appellate Division led to an appeal. In a pretrial hearing, the trial judge determined that the defendant’s 6 year old conviction for resisting arrest during a driving under the influence (DUI) stop could be utilized to impeach him at trial. Additionally, Chloe’s lengthy history of involvement with the juvenile justice system prior to making the allegations against the defendant was limited to defense counsel’s cross-examination at trial. The defendant raised, on appeal, Chloe’s entrance and presence in the courtroom during summation of the defense and prosecution to which an objection had been raised during trial as well as the fact that person’s in the courtroom were identified. The dissenting opinion focused on the cumulative errors set forth above resulting in a deprivation of the defendant’s right to a fair trial. During an appeal as a matter of right, in State v. T.J.M., the NJ Appellate Division determined that the dissenting opinion was not correct in its interpretations and focus and upheld the opinion of the NJ Appellate Division affirming the defendant’s conviction. Sex crime charges can be levied many years after an alleged incident and can result in incarceration, substantial and irreparable damage to the reputation and lifestyle of the accused in addition to the deprivation of liberty and rights, registration as a sex offender, loss of employment opportunities, possibility of civil commitment and social stigma. If you are accused of a sex crime it is absolutely imperative that you obtain experienced criminal defense counsel to begin working on your defense immediately. For more information about sexual assault, rape, endangering the welfare of a minor, internet crimes, child pornography or other sex crimes in NJ visit DarlingFirm.com. This blog is for informational purposes and not intended to replace the advice of counsel.