Sexual Assault Plea Reversed For Failure To Understand Supervision
- November 13, 2014
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William Smullen pled guilty to two counts of second degree sexual assault (N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2c(4))for having sexual intercourse on two separate occasions with a 15 year old female while he was 23 years old. The defendant was sentenced to lifetime supervision under N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6.4 as part of his plea agreement. In addition to federal charges, based on defendant’s travel from his home state of New York to have sexual relations with the minor, Smullen was sentenced in New Jersey to 3 years in prison and community supervision for life. Following sentencing in State v. Smullen, the Defedant sought post-conviction relief (PCR) claiming insufficient opportunity to fully understand the scope of community supervision for life in spite of the 10 page document the judge provided him during the plea hearing which summarized lifetime community supervision. Additionally, the Defendant claimed ineffective assistance of counsel as a result of counsel’s failure to explain the restrictions Smullen would face in New York under Megan’s Law. The PCR court determined that holding the attorney accountable for failure to advise the Defendant of supervision requirements in other states was inappropriate. The Appellate Division held that, as a lifelong resident of New York, the Defendant should have been advised of the applicable provisions of community supervision for live which would be applicable to him as a New York resident and reversed the decision of the PCR court. it was also established at trial that the defense attorney was unaware of the terms of supervision for life in New Jersey as well and asked for additional time to review the provisions but was denied same. The matter was remanded for a determination of whether the Defendant would have pled guilty or exercised his right to a trial if he understood the community supervision provisions of his sentence. If you have been charged with a sex crime a conviction or guilty plea can result in incarceration for a term of years followed by involuntary civil commitment for life. Consequences also include registration as a sex offender and the social stigma you will face forever. It is critical you obtain experienced criminal defense counsel immediately if you are charged with a sex crime. For more information about rape, sexual assault, child molestation, solicitation of a minor or other sex crimes in New Jersey visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com. This blog is for informational purposes and not intended to replace the advice of an attorney.