Following his sentencing on June 27 to a term of 26 years in state prison, former Fox 5 news reporter Charles Leaf asked the Superior Court to allow him to be released on bail pending the outcome of his appeal. His attorney argued that the judge should grant bail because Mr. Leaf’s appeal is based on a multitude of alleged problems with the trial and jury verdict. “This was not a simple case…it was as complicated as can be,” his defense attorney said.
Issues such as a 21-minute gap in the video of a forensic interview with the victim, evidentiary issues relating to the seizure of Leaf’s computer, and the exclusion of records relating to the victim’s counseling sessions add to the complexity of the case and Mr. Leaf’s appeal. Further, the victim herself testified that Leaf never molested her and that the allegations she made two years prior were fed to her by her nanny. Finally, Leaf’s father-in-law flew from Poland to testify that he was actually the person who downloaded the images of child pornography found on Leaf’s computer. Those issues, along with Mr. Leaf’s continued assertion of innocence, have his defense attorney arguing that prison is not necessary at this point.
Mr. Leaf was convicted of all charges by a jury on February 20 after a month-long trial and little more than 5 hours of deliberations. Those charges include: aggravated sexual assault; sexual assault; endangering the welfare of a child; possession of child pornography; and hindering prosecution. Of his 26-year sentence, 20 years must be served before he will become eligible for parole. When he is paroled, Mr. Leaf will be required to register as a sex offender under New Jersey’s Megan’s Law. Depending on the level of his reporting requirements, Mr. Leaf will be required to register with the local police, may be required to notify local neighborhood groups and schools, and may be included on the State’s internet registry of sex offenders. At his tier classification hearing, Mr. Leaf may challenge what level of reporting will be required of him.
At the conclusion of the hearing, Superior Court Judge James J. Guida said he doesn’t believe Leaf is a threat to jump bail, but that is not enough to release Leaf while he appeals his conviction. Agreeing with the prosecutor’s assertion that bail pending appeal is not a right, but an exception, Judge Guida remanded Leaf to the Southwoods State Prison to await the outcome of his appeal.
If you or anyone you know has been charged with similar offenses, the consequences can be serious, resulting in long prison terms and other penalties. Legal representation is vital to protect your freedom and rights, so don’t delay in hiring someone to stand up for your interests.
For additional information, see the following articles: Legal issues don’t entitle former Fox 5 reporter Leaf to bail in appeal of child-sex conviction, judge says; Charles Leaf blames state child welfare workers, sentenced to 26 years for sex assault on girl, 4
A 49-year-old Hackensack man was recently arrested by officers from the Bergen County Sheriff’s Department after he allegedly attempted to use a fake driver’s license to obtain a new one from the Lodi Motor Vehicle Commission.
Victor Olivo Alvarez-Sanchez was arrested on September 10th, at which time he was charged with possessing and exhibiting a fictitious driver’s license. Alvarez-Sanchez is currently being held on $7,500 bail in the Bergen County Jail and could be facing significant time in New Jersey State Prison if convicted.
According to N.J.S.A. 2C:21-2.1, “a person who knowingly exhibits, displays or utters a document or other writing which falsely purports to be a driver’s license, birth certificate or other document issued by a governmental agency and which could be used as a means of verifying a person’s identity or age or any other personal identifying information is guilty of a crime of the third degree.” These crimes are punishable by a term of incarceration ranging from 3 to 5 years in New Jersey State Prison, in addition to a fine of up to $15,000.
The defendant could also be charged with possession of a fictitious license, which is a fourth degree crime. Although fourth degree charges are considered less serious than third degree charges, they are still indictable felonies in New Jersey and can entail a prison sentence of up to 18 months.
It is also important to note that a person convicted of either of the above offenses is subject to a driver’s license suspension for a period of between 6 months and 2 years, which commences on the day the sentence is imposed. In addition, Falsifying Government Documents is considered a crime of moral turpitude and therefore, may have implications related to immigration status.
If you or anyone you know has been charged with these or similar offenses, the consequences can be serious, resulting in substantial prison terms and financial penalties. Don’t delay in hiring legal representation to protect your freedom and your rights.
For additional information, see the following article: Bergen sheriff’s officer nabs Hackensack man with bogus driver’s license at Lodi MV
According to Upper Saddle River Police Detective Lieutenant Ed Kane, the man was returning from a gas station convenience store when he was struck by a minivan traveling southbound on the busy highway.
The man was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident, while the driver of the van was taken to Valley Hospital in Ridgewood. Notably, police have not filed criminal charges against the driver, nor did they issue any motor vehicle summonses in connection with the incident.
Although this death was a deemed an accident and authorities did not find the driver at fault for the pedestrian’s death, a driver in similar circumstances could find him or herself facing criminal charges. For instance, an individual accused of driving while under the influence during an accident that resulted in a pedestrian’s death, could be charged with vehicular homicide under NJ law. Likewise, a driver could be charged with vehicular homicide if he or she was allegedly using a handheld cellphone at the time of the accident.
Vehicular homicide is a second degree crime in New Jersey, carrying penalties which include a 5 to 10-year state prison sentence, with a minimum 3-year period of parole ineligibility and fines up to $150,000. If the accident took place within one thousand feet of a school, the charges could be elevated to first degree, which are punishable by a maximum prison sentence of 20 years and fines up to $200,000. Either of these charges would also require a driver’s license suspension ranging from 5 years to life upon conviction.
For more information , access the following article: Man killed crossing Route 17 in Upper Saddle River
Following a string of recent issues involving questionable conduct among law enforcement officials, one of which includes a false DWI case against a New Jersey Assemblyman, the State government just passed legislation requiring all newly-acquired police patrol vehicles to contain video cameras.
Interestingly, the Assemblyman who sponsored the bill, Democrat Paul Moriarty of Washington Township, was, in fact, the victim of the aforementioned false DWI claim. Moriarty, who is also the Chairman of the Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee, was charged with a DWI offense in his own municipality in 2012. The case against him was ultimately dismissed after surveillance video from the police car involved in the stop recorded evidence which led prosecutors to drop the charges.
Washington Township Police Officer Joseph DiBuonaventura was subsequently charged with a total of 14 criminal offenses, including harassment, official misconduct, and falsifying a police report. Prosecutors reportedly identified inconsistencies in his report on the incident after viewing the footage from the in-car video camera. They ultimately concluded that the stop itself was illegal, and that Officer DiBuonaventura had targeted Moriatory.
Moriarty originally introduced the newly-implemented legislation during the last legislative session. However, it was pocket-vetoed by Governor Chris Christie after receiving Assembly and Senate approval. Undeterred, the Assemblyman proposed the bill again during the last Spring session. This time, the Governor signed the bill into law, in a significant policy-changing event which occurred on Wednesday, September 10th.
Specifically, the new legislation mandates that municipal police departments furnish all newly-acquired police vehicles with in-car video cameras. As a more cost-effective alternative, the law also allows for the purchase of body cameras to be worn by all police patrol officers. In order to supplement funding for the new technology, the court will now add a $25 fee to all convictions for DWI offenses.
Overall, this new law represents an enormous opportunity for defendants charged with DWI’s in New Jersey, providing defense attorneys with access to the critical information necessary to successfully represent clients whose rights may have been violated in terms of the procedure that police officers are obligated to follow prior to, as well as during, a DWI stop.
For instance, I often achieve positive results for my clients by challenging the validity of the motor vehicle stop itself, the 20 Minute Observation Period, and/or the Alcotest 7110 (breathalyzer) machine. Video evidence of any errors made during one of these required stages can provide leverage when negotiating with the prosecutor, if not compelling the dismissal of the charges altogether.
Follow this link to view some of my strategy videos on Fighting DWI Charges in New Jersey
For more information pertaining to this matter, access the following article:Assemblyman Paul Moriarty’s police camera bill, inspired by DWI false arrest, signed into law
Managing Partner Travis J. Tormey, of the the Tormey Law Firm, recently spoke with Philadelphia talk show host Dom Giordano to discuss former NFL player Ray Rice’s plea agreement with the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, which followed Rice’s indictment on aggravated assault charges.
Specifically, the negotiated agreement reached by the parties calls for Rice’s enrollment in the Pre-Trial Intervention Program, as well as his attendance of anger management classes.
With many members of the public and the media questioning why Rice was not sentenced to serve any jail time as punishment, Mr. Tormey explained that cases like these are often resolved in a similar fashion, and that Rice received the same treatment that any other first-time offender would receive in the same situation. According to Tormey:
“It’s a third-degree aggravated assault; he’s facing three to five years in New Jersey State Prison, but there’s a presumption of non-incarceration for first-time offenders. So that means even if he were convicted, let’s say they bounced him from PTI, they said ‘no, we’re not going to give you that, we’re going to take you to trial over her [the victim's] objections, they try the case, and they win, best case scenario: the judge is going to give him probation anyway. The only difference is that he would have a felony on his record.”
Questioned as to whether the release of a video tape that allegedly shows Rice punching his fiancé would have altered the outcome of the case, Tormey said, “The tape does change things because even without her, as long as they have a custodian of record from the casino come in, they could corroborate the tape and they, technically, could continue to press the charges against him.”
However, Mr. Tormey found it unlikely that the tape would have actually affected the outcome in this case, saying “In my career, I’ve almost never seen the State pursue charges over the wishes of a victim.”
For more details, access the following article: Attorney On Ray Rice Video: ‘The Tape Does Change Things, They Could Press Charges Without Her’
The Tormey Law Firm, LLC, in Paramus, New Jersey, serves clients in Bergen County, Morris County, Passaic County, Hudson County and beyond, including Hackensack, Fort Lee, East Rutherford, Elmwood Park, Englewood, Garfield, Lodi, Lyndhurst, Mahwah, Montvale, Paramus, Jersey City, Morristown, Dover, Denville, Parsippany, Mount Olive Paterson, Clifton, Wayne Palisades Interstate, Ridgefield Park, Saddle Brook and Teaneck.