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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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The Right to Remain Silent and How to Properly Invoke It

Most people are at least familiar with the general concept of the right to remain silent. The purpose of the right to remain silent is to help you avoid incriminating yourself accidentally when police officers or other authorities are questioning you about something.

Most people’s involvement with the right to remain silent has come through movies and television. However, many people are also confused about whether or not Miranda Rights have been read or whether this triggers their right to remain silent. The police only have to give you your Miranda warning when you are in custody and being interrogated.

Interrogation can include not just direct questioning but also actions or words that a police officer should know could reasonably lead to an incriminating response. In order to officially invoke the right to remain silent or to take advantage of your right to speak to an attorney, it is recommended that you take steps to enhance these as soon as possible. This is so that you avoid making any minor mistakes in your case that could ultimately increase your chances of being convicted.

Courts have indicated in the past that anyone who has been accused of a crime or is currently under interrogation by the police should make clear that they are invoking their fifth amendment rights against self-incrimination.

This makes it possible for you to avoid having your subsequent silence when officers are asking you questions mentioned at trial. In the past, sometimes the prosecution would use the silence without specific verbal recognition of your right to remain silent as evidence of guilt. Situations may vary but as soon as you have been accused of a crime, it is recommended that you tell the officers that you are invoking your fifth amendment rights to remain silent and request your opportunity to speak directly to an experienced criminal defense attorney.

The sooner you have a criminal defense attorney at your side to advise you about what is involved and what you can do to further limit the potential consequences, the better you will feel about your case. You may need to tell the officers directly that you wish to invoke your right to remain silent in order to achieve maximum benefits from this constitutional right.

Accused of a crime? You can’t afford to wait to get help from an experienced Cape May criminal defense attorney. Contact the Law Office of John W.Tumelty today at 609-390-4600 or via his online contact form.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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