Trenton pays $350K settlement for woman’s death in police lockup

Cliff Bidlingmaier along with co-counsel successfully resolved a prison suicide case. When dealing with injuries that take place in a jail or prison there are specific regulations that must be followed by the governmental agency. When suffering an injury as a result of being incarcerated contact Cliff Bidlingmaier for a consultation.

Click here: Trenton pays $350K settlement for woman’s death in police lockup.

Comments Off on Trenton pays $350K settlement for woman’s death in police lockup

The Benefits of Record Expungement

One wild and crazy night on the town, an act of juvenile foolishness or a friend’s drunk I’ll-do-it-if-you-do-it dare: any of those things can result in a criminal record that follows you and affects all aspects of your life. Pursuing an expungement, which removes the record from the court history, is a legal process worth both time and money for four reasons:

Ease of employment: Given the choice, a prospective employer will choose someone with a clean criminal history, even if your record has only one minor incident. A clear criminal history shows a prospect stayed out of trouble and maintains lawful behavior at all times. Entire blog →

Comments Off on The Benefits of Record Expungement

New Jersey Constitutional Protections for Criminal Defendants

In New Jersey crimes and offenses are set forth N.J.S.A. 2C:1-4. When charged with a crime or an offense there are certain Constitutional protections afforded.

2C:1-4. Classes of offenses. a. An offense defined by this code or by any other statute of this State, for which a sentence of imprisonment in excess of 6 months is authorized, constitutes a crime within the meaning of the Constitution of this State. Crimes are designated in this code as being of the first, second, third or fourth degree.
b. An offense is a disorderly persons offense if it is so designated in this code or in a statute other than this code. An offense is a petty disorderly persons offense if it is so designated in this code or in a statute other than this code.

Disorderly persons offenses and petty disorderly persons offenses are petty offenses and are not crimes within the meaning of the Constitution of this State. There shall be no right to indictment by a grand jury nor any right to trial by jury on such offenses. Conviction of such offenses shall not give rise to any disability or legal disadvantage based on conviction of a crime.
c. An offense defined by any statute of this State other than this code shall be classified as provided in this section or in section 2C:43-1 and, except as provided in section 2C:1-5b and chapter 43, the sentence that may be imposed upon conviction thereof shall hereafter be governed by this code. Insofar as any provision outside the code declares an offense to be a misdemeanor when such offense specifically provides a maximum penalty of 6 months’ imprisonment or less, whether or not in combination with a fine, such provision shall constitute a disorderly persons offense.
d. Subject to the provisions of section 2C:43-1, reference in any statute, rule, or regulation outside the code to the term “high misdemeanor” shall mean crimes of the first, second, or third degree and reference to the term “misdemeanor” shall mean all crimes.

When charged with a crime or an offense in New Jersey contact Cliff Bidlingmaier at 609-989-7995 for your free consultation.

Comments Off on New Jersey Constitutional Protections for Criminal Defendants

Cliff Bidlingmaier Successful in Dismissing Offenses

Cliff Bidlingmaier was successful in having multiple offenses pending against a former professional athlete dismissed in the State of New Jersey. When facing criminal charges in New Jersey or Pennsylvania contact the firm for a free consultation, (215) 970-2755.

Comments Off on Cliff Bidlingmaier Successful in Dismissing Offenses

Cliff Bidlingmaier Successful In Having Charges Against His Client Dismissed

Cliff Bidlingmaier was successful in having charges against his client pending in the Superior Court of New Jersey dismissed. Those charges included but were not limited to first-degree offenses, which carry with them the possibility of incarceration for 10-20 years. The list of charges included, but were not limited to:

MAINTAINING/OPERATING CDS PRODUCTION FACILITY: 2C:35-4: 1st Degree

MANUF/DISTR CDS-HEROIN/METH/LSD>50Z/ETC 2C:35-5A(1) 1st Degree

CDS MANU/DIST/PWID 2C:35-5B(10)(A) 2nd Degree

MANUF/DISTR CDS- 2C:35-5A(1) 2nd Degree

POSS CDS/ANALOG – SCHD I II III IV 2C:35-10A(1) 3rd Degree

POSS CDS/ANALOG – SCHD I II III IV 2C:35-10A(1) 3rd Degree

Comments Off on Cliff Bidlingmaier Successful In Having Charges Against His Client Dismissed

Having Your Record Expunged In New Jersey

Cliff Bidlingmaier was recently successful in having multiple clients granted expungements. Retaining experienced counsel can assist you in potentially having your record expunged.

The expungement statute in New Jersey is contained in N.J.S.A. 2c:52-1, et. seq., and is defined as:

(a). Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, expungement shall mean the extraction and isolation of all records on file within any court, detention or correctional facility, law enforcement or criminal justice agency concerning a person’s detection, apprehension, arrest, detention, trial or disposition of an offense within the criminal justice system. Entire blog →

Refusal to Submit To A Breathalyzer Dismissed

Cliff Bidlingmaier was successful in having a Refusal to Submit to a breathalyzer dismissed using arguments set forth by the Supreme Court of New Jersey case of State v. Leavitt, 107 N.J. 534, 542 (1987), also known as the “confusion doctrine.”

Cliff Bidlingmaier was successful in having a possession of CDS charge dismissed based upon discovery violations in New Jersey. Entire blog →

New Jersey Supreme Court: Right to a Jury Trial

The Supreme Court of New Jersey in the case of State v. Denelsbeck, found that an individual charged with a third or subsequent DWI offense, in violation of NJSA 39:4-50, is not entitled to a jury trial, and defendant’s conviction via a bench trial did not violate his Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial.

NJ Supreme Court Rules PTI Not an Option After Trial

As reported by the the New Jersey Law Journal, New Jersey’s pretrial intervention (commonly known as PTI), designed to divert less serious criminal cases from prosecution, is not available after charges have been tried and guilty verdicts are returned, the state Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday.

PTI is not now and never has been a sentencing alternative, and admitting an otherwise deserving defendant after a verdict frustrates the goals of early diversion, early rehabilitation and avoidance of the stigma of a criminal conviction, the justices said in State v. Bell.

They agreed with an appeals court that found a trial judge erred in allowing Sean Bell to enter the program after a charge of second-degree aggravated assault, which would have precluded his admission, was dismissed but also after a jury found him guilty of third-degree aggravated assault.

At Bell’s high school graduation party in June 2006, he and Thomas Schwab punched and kicked another guest, Michael Higgins, knocking him unconscious. Schwab and Bell were charged with the same offenses but Schwab was granted admission to PTI in consideration for testifying against Bell.

Bell did not apply for PTI until after his trial, despite the requirement of R. 3:28(h) that applications be made  within 28 days of indictment.

Overruling the prosecutor’s rejection, Ocean County Superior Court Judge Wendel Daniels found Bell entitled to PTI. He said Bell and Schwab were similarly situated and the prosecutor’s decision to deny Bell PTI was a clear error of judgment.

Daniels relied on State v. Halm, 319 N.J. Super 569 (App. Div. 1999), where the defendant was charged with first, second and third degree offenses in connection with a sexual assault. His timely application for PTI was rejected by the court staff and the prosecutor. After he was convicted only of third-degree cocaine possession, he moved for reconsideration. The motion judge said no but the Appellate Division reversed.

In Bell’s case, the Appellate Division distinguished Halm because Bell did not make a timely PTI application.

The Supreme Court agreed in a 6-0 ruling, saying, “Whether pre-indictment or post-indictment, an accused must apply for admission to PTI prior to trial.”

Judge Mary Catherine Cuff, writing for the court, said it was “of no moment” that a jury found the defendant not guilty of first- or second-degree crimes that might have barred his path to PTI.

She said the goals of PTI, first established by statute in 1979, “have been completely frustrated” by Bell’s admission to PTI, nearly four years from the date of the altercation that gave rise to the charges.

PTI admission in this case “not only thwarts the purpose of this particular diversionary program because the defendant has been found guilty of a criminal offense but also nullifies a valid verdict of guilt.

“We know of no authority that permits a court to nullify a valid verdict through the device of a belated application to a diversionary program,” she said.

Assistant Public Defender Dale Jones, whose office represented Bell,  called it “troubling” that he will receive a harsher sentence than his codefendant, absent any distinctions between the criminal acts of the two.

“People who commit the same offense ought to be treated the same way,” Jones said. “A decision like this kind of makes it, who’s got the best lawyer and who wins the race to the prosecutor’s office.”

Supervising Assistant Ocean County Prosecutor Samuel Marzarella said court’s decision, and its decision not to apply the Halm case, reaffirm the time restrictions on applying for PTI in the face of defense counsel’s arguments.

NJ Appeals Court Affirms Suppression of Contraband – Not Enough Evidence to Support Detaining Vehicle or K-9 Search

As reported by NJ.com, a New Jersey state appeals court has ruled that heroin found after a motor vehicle stop in June 2011 cannot be used as evidence against a North Plainfield man because police improperly detained the vehicle and used a drug-sniffing dog.

Appellate judges upheld a lower court’s ruling that there was an “insufficient legal basis” for a Warren Township Police Officer’s request to the Defendant for consent to search the vehicle or the use of the K-9 unit, according to the decision issued on Friday.

The “dog sniff” occurred nearly an hour or more after the initial stop, the decision states.  The Defendant’s employer owned the vehicle and later consented to a search, at which time police found six bricks of heroin in the glove compartment, the decision states.

“(The Officer’s) hunch was correct, but it was nothing more than a hunch and, consequently, insufficient to warrant a request to search or a dog sniff not concurrent with the stop,” the decision states.

The appellate decision rejected the state’s appeal of the July 2013 ruling to suppress the heroin as evidence. The Defendant, 38, has been charged with possession of heroin with the intent to distribute.

He was stopped on June 10, 2011 for driving with excessively tinted windows, the decision states. The Officer learned that Defendant’s driver’s license was suspended, and he was unable to produce a current insurance card for the vehicle, the decision states.

Ferreiro suspected criminal activity due to “’(the Defendant’s) extreme and unusual nervousness,’ the fact that his ‘stories were a little different,’ and the tobacco shavings” seen in the vehicle, the decision states. After the Defendant refused to consent to a search of the vehicle, Ferreiro called in the K-9 unit, the decision states.

But in the initial ruling, Superior Court Judge John Pursel found that “there were insufficient facts to support a reasonable and articulable suspicion of criminal activity,” the decision states.

“The employer’s consent to search was prompted by the improper dog sniff and cannot cure the constitutional violations that led up to it,” the decision states.