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Venue Change After Death Threats And Murder Conspiracy

Venue Change After Death Threats And Murder Conspiracy

Aakash Dalal was charged with multiple crimes including criminal mischief (N.J.S.A. 2C:17-3(a)(1)) for spray painting anti-Semitic graffiti on a synagogue in Hackensack, NJ; first-degree aggravated arson (N.J.S.A. 2C:17-1(a)) associated with a synagogue in Rutherford, NJ; first-degree bias intimidation (N.J.S.A. 2C:16-1(a)); and first degree conspiracy to commit aggravated arson (N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2(a)(2) and N.J.S.A. 2C:17-1(a)) as well as similar matters within the same region occurring during a limited timeframe. Once the matter began proceeding through the courts, Dalal was also charged with first-degree conspiracy to murder a Bergen County Assistant Prosecutor (N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2(a)(1) and N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3); third-degree conspiracy to possess a firearm for an unlawful purpose (N.J.S.A. 2C:5-2(a)(1) and N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4) and third-degree terroristic threats (N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3(b)). Dalal was indicted for many of the charged counts as well as first-degree terrorism (N.J.S.A. 2C:38-2(b)(1)) and second-degree terrorism (N.J.S.A. 2C:38-4). Prior to trial, Dalal sought transfer of the case to another judge without objection by the State as the prosecution intended to introduce evidence that Dalal intended to target Presiding Criminal Part Judge Liliana DeAvila-Dilebi and Judge Partick Roma. Dalal also sought change of venue without success and brought an interlocutory appeal. Given the facts of the case, the NJ Appellate Division judges hearing the matter determined that, despite their own confidence in the judiciary, a reasonable person in Dalal’s situation could have substantial doubt as to their potential for obtaining a fair trial in the Bergen County Superior Court. The appellate judges quoted Chief Justice Rabner’s opinion in DeNike v. Cupo, 196 N.J. 502, 506 (2008): “[t]he Judiciary derives its authority from the State Constitution but earns the public’s confidence through acts of unquestioned integrity.” The matter was reversed with directions that the matter be heard by a judge from outside the vicinage. If you are facing criminal charges, it is imperative that you insure your rights are upheld and you have the best chance possible at a fair trial. For more information about serious criminal matters in New Jersey visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com. This blog is for informational purposes only and not intended to replace the advice of an attorney.

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