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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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New Jersey men could be charged under new child pornography law

New Jersey state law recently got tougher on criminal convictions related to child pornography. A new statute calls for a mandatory five years in prison without parole if a person is convicted of distributing 25 or more images of child pornography. A conviction for distribution of child pornography is significantly more serious than a possession conviction.

Anyone convicted under the new statute will also be subject to lifetime supervision. Technically, other people wouldn’t even have to see the illegal images for a person believed to be in possession of them to be charged with distribution. The new law calls for a distribution charge if the files are stored in a shared folder.

Fourteen New Jersey men were recently the first to be arrested and charged with possession of child pornography since the new statute took effect. The arrests occurred over about a month-long period, and most of the men are expected to have their charges increased to distribution.

The investigation reportedly started in June, with investigators gathering information from particular search terms and other online information. Federal agents were involved in the investigation.

When the community hears about such serious charges, the general reaction is to automatically assume that the accused parties are guilty. But it is important to remember that anyone accused of a crime has a constitutional right to a criminal defense. Accused parties must be presumed innocent unless or until the prosecution proves otherwise, and individuals who are accused Internet sex crimes will need to be fully aware of their rights.

Source: The Cape May Gazette, “Lower Township men charged with child pornography,” Oct. 28, 2013

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