Sexual Assault Sentence Requires Explanation
- November 4, 2013
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The defendant in State v. R.D. was convicted, in a non-jury trial, of 6 counts of 2nd degree sexual assault (N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2(b)) on his daughter C.D. while she was under the age of 13, 3 counts of 2nd degree engaging in sexual conduct that would harm, impair, or debauch the morals of a child while under a legal duty to care for her (N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4(a)) , aggravated assault on his daughter while she was under the age of 13 (N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2(a)(1), one count of 3rd degree terroristic threats (N.J.S.A. 2C:13-3a) to her if she disclosed the abuse and 1 count of 3rd degree attempt to cause or recklessly cause significant bodily injury (N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)(7)) to C.D. The state presented witnesses on child sexual abuse. C.D. and the defendant lived in the same household from birth and the abuse became more invasive and frequent as she aged reaching a number of several times monthly and including penetration. Defendant failed to testify or present witnesses. The Bergen County trial judge sentenced defendant to an aggregate 70 year prison sentence which was subject to the No Early Release Act (NERA) (N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2). Defendant appealed based on the court’s reliance on opinion testimony concerning Child Sexual Abuse Accommodation Syndrome (CSAAS) by the State’s expert and errors and omissions in the judge’s sentencing analysis. The NJ Appellate Division heard the appeal as to the errors and omissions but affirmed the convictions. Due to the trial judge’s failure to make clear for which sentences were intended to be consecutive or concurrent, failure to set forth the Yarbough factors to justify any consecutive sentences and failure to specifically set forth any jail credits or “gap time” credits defendant may be entitled to the Appellate Division remanded for resentencing. If you are facing charges for sexual assault, endangering the welfare of a minor or similar charges, you should consult an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. If you are convicted or plea to a sex crime in New Jersey, in addition to incarceration you face lifelong listing on a registry which can affect your ability to obtain employment, restrict where you may reside and generally have a negative impact on the remainder of your life. For more information about soliciting a minor, statutory rape, child molestation, internet crimes, child pornography or other sex crimes in New Jersey visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com. This blog is for informational purposes only and not intended to replace the advice of an attorney.