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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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Police chase ends in death of New Jersey pedestrian

A November 10 police chase ended tragically when a fleeing driver fatally struck a 32-year-old man near downtown Newark. A 35-year-old man is being held on $500,000 bail on charges including vehicular homicide after crashing into an ambulance and then running down a pedestrian.

According to reports, the chase began when police attempted to stop a 2002 Lincoln Continental observed committing multiple traffic violations. The chase led from Route 280 into Newark proper before concluding with the fatal accident.

Under New Jersey law, in order to convict a person on a vehicular homicide charge the state needs to prove that the accused caused a person’s death by driving recklessly. The burden falls to the state to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused knowingly operated a motor vehicle without regard for obvious and substantial risk to others. Jurors are allowed to draw certain inferences about a driver’s intent from the circumstances leading up to a fatal accident, but it remains important to remember that circumstances do not always reveal the truth of a person’s knowledge or intent.

When a driver’s conduct leads to injury or death, many people feel a natural inclination to assume the worst about the person accused with fault. Police reports and the news reports that follow tend to paint suspects as guilty based on a one-sided view of the facts. An experienced defense attorney can help make certain that the jury sees both sides of the story and that a person charged with a crime enjoys the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

Source: Newark Patch, “Pedestrian Killed in Police Chase Last Week,” Nov. 15, 2012

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