Attempted Murder Suspect Entitled To Fair Trial
- March 2, 2015
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Geraldo Rivera was charged with the attempted murder (N.J.S.A. 2C:5-1 and N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3a(1)) of Sean and Michael Burns during a bar fight over Sean Burns’ failure to tip the barmaid, Rivera’s fiancée’. Sean Burns was left with four stab wounds to the torso and Michael Burns’ was cut severely exposing his intestines. Rivera, who claimed self-defense, also suffered head wounds. Multiple witness accounts diverged considerably leaving the jury to decide which version was most plausible. At trial, the prosecutor utilized various methods, including PowerPoint to present the State’s case. Rivera was ultimately convicted of second-degree aggravated assault (N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)(1)) on Sean Burns and fourth-degree aggravated assault (N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)(3)) on Michael Burns. Rivera was sentenced to eight years in prison with a period of parole ineligibility under the No Early Release Act (N.E.R.A.)(N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2). On Appeal in State v. Rivera, Rivera challenged the conviction based upon the State’s unfair trial tactics depriving him of the right to a fair trial. The NJ Appellate Division determined that the prosecutor’s display of Rivera’s picture on a slide with the word guilty on it and other overly suggestive acts including climbing into the jury box at one point while Rivera was seated at the prosecutor’s table to operate a projector as if to indicate fear of the defendant deprived Rivera of a fair trial. If you are facing charges of murder you are looking at a sentence of 30 years to life and even for lesser included offenses the sentence can be the same as life in prison depending on your age at sentencing. When confronting such charges, it is imperative that you have experienced and trusted criminal defense counsel at your side to ensure you have the best chance possible in fighting the case and protecting your rights. For more information about murder, aggravated manslaughter, assault or weapons charges in New Jersey visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com. This blog is for informational purposes only and not intended to replace the advice of an attorney.