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STATE v. HENDRICKS — NEW JERSEY MURDER TRIAL — "NOT GUILTY" VERDICT

Mr. Tumelty represented Helena Hendricks, who was charged with first degree murder in Atlantic County Superior Court. The defendant faced a number of additional charges, including armed robbery, conspiracy and possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose. At the conclusion of a jury trial that lasted three weeks, the defendant was found "not guilty" of all charges.

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What Happens When Your Loved One Is Denied Bail

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If you or a loved one is arrested and charged with a crime in New Jersey, there will likely be a bail conference hearing at which a bail amount is set. The judge who sets the bail amount will consider a number of factors and then decide on a proper amount. The reason bail exists is so that a person merely accused of a crime is not unnecessarily punished by sitting behind bars as the wheels of justice slowly turn and the case heads to trial.

It may seem unfair, perhaps even unconstitutional, that your loved one should have to stay in jail despite the fact that they have not yet been convicted of a crime. After all, aren’t all criminal defendants presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law? Well, the reality is that the NJ criminal justice system imposes bail requirements on criminal defendants in order to ensure that the accused individuals ultimately show up to court. The bail serves as a sort of collateral, with the defendant, or the person who posts their bail, forfeiting the money if the defendant fails to meet any of the conditions of release.

Changes to NJ Law Allow Judges to Deny Bail to “Dangerous” Defendants

Until very recently, every criminal defendant in NJ was entitled to a bail amount. However, the new year brings with it changes to the New Jersey bail system. Prosecutors will now have the ability to hold defendants who have been accused of violent crimes and who have been deemed “dangers” to the public – and they will be able to hold these individuals without bail.

If your loved one is considered too dangerous to be granted release on bail, they could remain behind bars until their criminal case is resolved. So what does this mean for the defendant? It might mean that NJ prosecutors will have a great deal of leverage to get the incarcerated defendant to accept an unfavorable plea deal – or risk remaining in jail for months or even years while their trial date keeps getting postponed or delayed. The best way to avoid being stuck behind bars, or being forced to plead guilty to a crime they did not commit, will be for the defendant to have an experienced criminal defense attorney on their side. A knowledgeable criminal lawyer may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor and file motions for dismissal on the basis of the defendant’s right to a speedy trial.

Criminal Defendants Must Stay Out of Trouble After Posting Bail

It is important to keep in mind that even if your loved one does qualify for bail and then secures their release by posting bail, they will still need to abide by all the bail requirements. This means showing up to court dates and not committing any crimes while on release.

In the event that the defendant does violate their release conditions, the judge could revoke bail and issue an immediate warrant for their arrest. If that happens, the person who posted the money will forfeit bail. Moreover, the defendant could wind up stuck behind bars until their criminal case has been resolved, which might take a very long time.

 

If you have been charged with a crime in Atlantic County, New Jersey, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney representing you throughout the legal process. The experienced, aggressive criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of John W. Tumelty can help you fight your criminal charges. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation about your case.

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