About the Firm
After gaining invaluable courtroom trial experience as an Assistant Prosecutor
in the Essex County Prosecutor's Office for four years and then as
a Special Deputy Attorney General for the State of New Jersey for one
year, Clifford E. Lazzaro established his boutique law firm, Clifford
E. Lazzaro, P.C., in 1997. His law firm is focused on the areas of criminal
law as well as family and matrimonial law.
Tough Representation from a Smart, Experienced Attorney
From the time his law firm was established, Clifford E. Lazzaro has demonstrated
a high level of expertise in effectively handling each aspect of the court
process, from negotiation to litigation. He delves into the unique facts
of each case and develops innovative strategies to achieve the best results
for each client. His dedication to personalized representation is shown
in the results. Clifford E. Lazzaro, P.C. regularly handles criminal cases
throughout New Jersey as well as the Federal District Court of New Jersey,
and the Federal District Court of New York, Eastern District and Southern
District. The firm has also argued matters before the U.S. Third Circuit
Court of Appeals.
Clifford E. Lazzaro has formidable trial skills honed over a 26 year period
and can lead your case to a favorable outcome. Clifford E. Lazzaro began
his legal career as an Assistant Prosecutor in the Essex County Prosecutor's
Office from 1988 to 1992 and also served as a Special Deputy Attorney
General for the State of New Jersey from 1991 to 1992. During his time
in the Prosecutor's Office, he presented over a 1,000 cases to the
Grand Jury and conducted approximately 30 jury trials and over 15 bench
trials. Clifford E. Lazzaro has been a criminal defense attorney since
1992. Clifford E. Lazzaro graduated from New York University in 1981,
where he received his BA. and from Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law
Center in 1985, where he received his JD.
Clifford E. Lazzaro, P.C. has an active Trial and active Appellate practice.
Clifford E. Lazzaro, P.C. has an active Family and Matrimonial Law and
Municipal Court practice.
Clifford E. Lazzaro, P.C. is a law firm dedicated to providing its clients
with aggressive, experienced and affordable trial and appellate representation.
Clifford E. Lazzaro, P.C. has successfully and aggressively litigated on
behalf of its clients in the following areas:
Clifford E. Lazzaro is an experienced criminal defense attorney engaged
in the full time practice of all criminal matters in all jurisdictions
of the New Jersey Superior Court and the New Jersey and New York Federal
Courts, The firm concentrates on Criminal Defense matters involving Racketeering,
Drug Distribution Offenses and Suppression Motions regarding Illegal Searches
and Seizures inside a home, business or automobile; Suppression Motions
Challenging the admissibility of Coerced and Involuntary Statements; Admissibility
of Recorded Evidence (Wiretaps); Audio Tape and Video Tape Admissibility;
Drug Possession Offenses; Racial Profiling; Aggravated Sexual Assault;
Sexual Assault; Aggravated Criminal Sexual Contact; Sexual Contact; All
Sex Crimes Involving Allegations of Child Abuse; Adam Walsh Child Protection
and Safety Act of 2006; Megan's Law; Tier Classification Hearings;
Endangering the Welfare of a Child; Distribution of Child Pornography;
Possession of Child Pornography; Internet Crimes; Prostitution Crimes;
Murder; Aggravated Manslaughter; Manslaughter; Death By Auto or Vessel
While Intoxicated; Assault By Auto; Eluding; Robbery; Aggravated Assault;
Terroristic Threats; Weapons Offenses; Kidnapping; Criminal Restraint;
Stalking; Theft Related Offenses; Burglary; Receipt of Stolen Property;
Joyriding; Bad Checks; Computer Crimes; Aggravated Identity Theft; Credit
Card Fraud; Bank Fraud; Wire Fraud; Mail Fraud; Stock Fraud; White Collar
Crime; Money Laundering; Federal and State Criminal Tax Violations; RICO;
Gambling Offenses; Asset Seizure and Forfeiture; Pre-Trial Intervention
(PTI) Applications; Drug Court Applications; Intensive Supervision Program
(ISP) Applications; and Trials and Appeals.
Clifford E. Lazzaro is an experienced Municipal Court attorney successfully
representing individuals charged with Disorderly Person Offenses such
as Shoplifting, Theft, Criminal Trespass, Criminal Mischief, Possession
of a Controlled Dangerous Substance-Marijuana under 50 grams; Petty Disorderly
Person Offenses such as Disorderly Conduct; Ordinance Violations; and
all Motor Vehicle Violations and Traffic Offenses such as Drunk Driving
(DUI), Refusal to Submit to Breath Test, Reckless Driving, Careless Driving,
Driving or Operating a Motor Vehicle in an Unsafe Manner, Speeding, Leaving
the Scene of an Accident Involving Bodily Injury, Driving on the Suspended
List, Operation of a Motor Vehicle without Insurance, Impoundment of Motor
Vehicle; and Trials and Appeals.
The firm routinely works with experts in various fields on Criminal Defense
and Family Law matters. We have employed the services of forensic accountants
on matrimonial, criminal and criminal tax cases as well as forensic psychologists
and forensic psychiatrists on Tier Classification Hearings (Megan's
Law) and Competency to Stand Trial Hearings. We have also utilized the
services of DNA experts as well as experts in the field of recorded evidence.
The firm regularly employs the services of private investigators (mostly
retired investigators of County Prosecutor Offices) who work closely with
us in defense of our clients on criminal cases. The investigators utilized
by the firm have many years of experience and are responsible for interviewing
witnesses and taking witness statements under oath in the presence of
a court reporter. They may also be called upon to administer polygraph
examinations of certain clients and testify as a defense witness at trial.
In. short, the firm utilizes the best available resources to achieve the
most favorable results on behalf of its clients.
STRATEGY OF FIRM IN CRIMINAL CASES:
Clifford E. Lazzaro aggressively defends the rights of the accused at every
stage of the criminal proceedings. The accused should always invoke his
or her Fifth Amendment Right to remain silent whenever the police seek
to question that person. No matter how great the pressure the police place
on a person to induce that person to make an incriminating statement,
or any type of statement at all, the person should exercise his or her
right to remain silent and immediately contact a lawyer.
The criminal defense strategy after a person has been formally charged
with a criminal offense is to seek dismissal of the charges. Criminal
charges can sometimes be dismissed through a motion for probable cause
(pre-indictment), a motion to dismiss the indictment, a motion to suppress
evidence, administrative dismissal by the Prosecutor's Office or Pre-Trial
Intervention. A Guilty Plea should never be considered unless diligent
efforts are made to have the case dismissed. When those diligent efforts
are unsuccessful in achieving dismissal of tile charges, a person should
consider a guilty plea or a trial by jury. A plea of guilty should never
be considered when the person charged is innocent. In this country, the
accused is entitled to a presumption of innocence and the burden is on
the Government or the State to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Having experienced and aggressive counsel like Clifford E. Lazzaro by
your side at trial is essential to maximizing the accused's chances
of acquittal. Clifford E. Lazzaro has the skill and experience to influence
a jury and lead the jury to a Not Guilty Verdict when the Government or
State fails to meet its burden of proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
A Guilty Plea is sometimes entered when the evidence of guilt is overwhelming
against the accused.
In this instance, a guilty plea is entered for damage control purposes.
A guilty plea can limit the number of criminal charges and reduce the
sentencing exposure on most cases. On federal cases, experienced counsel
can argue that sentencing should be outside the advisory sentencing guideline
system when the nature and circumstances of the offense and the history
and characteristics of the defendant justify same. In addition, statutory
increases in the guideline offense level sometimes are not justified when
they do not properly reflect the defendant's culpability. Clifford
E. Lazzaro, Esq. has handled numerous Fourth Amendment Suppression Hearings
involving illegal searches and seizures of drugs, weapons, US Currency
as well as challenging the legality of electronic data warrants (wiretaps).
We have also handled numerous suppression hearings involving suggestive
identifications of defendants (Wade Hearings) made by the police.
Clifford E. Lazzaro has handled child pornography cases on both state and
federal levels. The dispositions on those cases speak for themselves.
Needless to say, the firm has much experience in this area. If you are
charged with child pornography or other sex offenses which have Adam Walsh
Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 or Megan's Law implications,
call for an appointment. In United States vs. L B, the defendant was charged
and plead guilty to one count of possession of child pornography pursuant
to 18 USC 2252A (a) (5) (B), a Class C felony. The defendant was found
to be in possession of over 600 images of child pornography stored on
a computer hard drive and also over 600 images of child pornography stored
on a computer disc on June 29, 2006. The defendant faced up to 10 years
in federal custody and a fine of up to $250,000.00. The Total Offense
Level under the federal sentencing guidelines was 24 and the Guideline
Range for imprisonment was 51 to 63 months. As a result of defendant's
Pre-Sentence Report Memorandum, the Court imposed a variance to a level
19 and the defendant was sentenced on April 8, 2008 to a term of 30 months.
The sentence imposed by the Court was below the advisory guideline range
of 51 to 63 months because of the nature and circumstances of the offense
and the characteristics of the defendant did not properly reflect the
defendant's culpability. Clifford E. Lazzaro negotiated the plea and
argued at the sentencing in the above matter.
SUCCESS ON TRIALS:
State v S R, Union County Superior Court.
The defendant was charged by way of a four (4) count indictment with one
count of second degree sexual assault against a minor, one count of second
degree attempted sexual assault, one count of third degree endangering
the welfare of a child and one count of third degree attempted endangering
the welfare of a child. Defendant was subject to 85% sentencing of between
5 and 10 years on each second degree count under the No Early Release
Act (NERA) and Megan's Law sentencing. After a 2 week trial in early
August, 2010, the jury deliberated approx. 3 hours and 20 minutes and
the defendant was found not guilty on all 4 counts. Clifford E. Lazzaro
tried the case.
State v F G, Union County Superior Court.
The defendant was charged with one count of second degree sexual assault.
Defendant was subject to NERA (85%) sentencing between
5 and 10 years and Megan's Law sentencing. The rape trial lasted approx.
one (1) week. During this November, 2010 trial, the State offered to amend
(dismiss) the second degree sexual assault count to third degree terroristic
threats with a recommendation for a probationary sentence. Defendant accepted
the amended probationary plea which no longer had NERA (85%) and Megan's
Law consequences, Clifford E. Lazzaro tried the case.
SUCCESS ON PLEAS:
State of New Jersey in Interests of D G (Juvenile), Middlesex County Superior Court
Juvenile was accused of first degree armed robbery, second degree armed
robbery and distribution of CDS. State threatened to waive juvenile case
for adult prosecution if juvenile did not enter guilty plea. Juvenile
entered a guilty plea to all charges listed above and State recommended
an 8 year indeterminate sentence in a youth facility. Clifford E. Lazzaro
submitted significant positive background history (Juvenile was a star
hs athlete recruited by several colleges) and a detailed sentencing memorandum
outlining the mitigating factors to the Court. A mentor from the youth
house testified at sentencing on behalf of the juvenile. The juvenile
had no prior history of juvenile delinquency and had never had the benefit
of any prior probationary supervision. The Court sentenced the juvenile
to a 3 year indeterminate sentence over the objection of the Middlesex
County Prosecutor's Office. 2014 case.
State v N G Middlesex County Superior Court
The defendant was 18 years old at the time of the incident. The defendant
was accused of aggravated sexual assault against his best friend's
younger brother (age 10), Allegations of torture, anal intercourse and
fellatio. DNA evidence mixed together and matching both defendant and
victim recovered at the crime scene by the State. The defendant was administered
a polygraph examination. The defendant faced a period of incarceration
of 75 years in a New Jersey State Prison. In a negotiated plea, the defendant
received 8 years New Jersey State Prison subject to the No Early Release
Act or 85% rule and Megan's Law, This was a damage control plea which
minimized the significant state prison exposure the defendant was facing.
State v J S, Monmouth County Superior Court.
The defendant issued over $550,000.00 in Bad Checks to Monmouth Raceway
Track. The checks were issued over a several month period of time. The
defendant initially faced second degree sentencing exposure between 5
and 10 years in New Jersey State Prison (NJSP). The negotiated plea in
August of2010 amended the charge to one count of issuing a Bad Check,
a third degree offense. At sentencing in November of 2010, the defendant
received non-custodial, no jail probation with the requirement that he
make restitution of $2000.00 per month over the course of a
5 year period of probation. Clifford E Lazzaro handled the plea and sentencing.
SUCCESS ON APPEALS:
Guilty verdicts can sometimes be reversed at the Appellate level and Clifford
E. Lazzaro, P.C. thoroughly reviews trial transcripts in order to ascertain
the viability of appeal. Issues on appeal can include prosecutorial misconduct,
ineffective assistance of counsel or errors made by the Court on the law.
State v. Anthony Conigliaro, 356 N.J. Super. 54 (App.Div.2002), the Defendant, was charged with two counts of criminal sexual contact,
N.J.S.A. 2C:14-3(b), and two counts of child abuse, N.J.S.A. 9:6·3.
After a jury trial, defendant was found guilty on one count of each charge.
Concurrent sentences of fifteen months imprisonment were imposed on each
count along with appropriate penalties. Defendant was also required to
register under Megan's Law and to provide a blood sample for DNA analysis.
Clifford E. Lazzaro, P.C. handled the appeal and served only as appellate
counsel. In a published decision, the Appellate Division reversed the
Defendant's guilty verdict and remanded the matter back to the Trial
Court on the grounds that the admission by the Trial Court of a writing
into evidence as an "excited utterance" under New Jersey Rule
of Evidence 803(c)(2) as a hearsay exception was reversible error, as
it was not cumulative, and went with the jury as an exhibit during deliberations.
Clifford E. Lazzaro, P .C. has successfully defended victims of Racial
State v. Aloysius Paul, A-4731-98T1, following a jury trial, the Defendant was convicted of first degree possession
of one kilo of cocaine with intent to distribute and sentenced to a fifteen
year sentence with five years to be served before parole eligibility,
Clifford E. Lazzaro, P.C. handled the appeal and served only as appellate
counsel. In the appeal, the Defendant claimed ineffective assistance of
counsel for previous counsel's failure to raise the issue of racial
profiling. The Appellate Division found that the issue of racial profiling
was properly preserved and ordered that the matter be remanded to the
Trial Court. The Defendant's guilty verdict was subsequently vacated.
State v. Ryan Scott, Indictment No. 00-01-0083, the Defendant, an African American, was stopped at a convenience store
located at a service area on the New Jersey Turnpike. Two New Jersey State
Troopers stopped the Defendant and requested his driving credentials.
In the police report, the troopers cited illegal parking by the defendant,
along a yellow painted curb directly in front of the convenience store,
as the reason for the stop. The defendant produced valid driving credentials.
The Trooper requested that the defendant consent to a search of the vehicle.
The defendant refused to sign a consent to search form, The troopers brought
in a narcotic detector dog to "sniff" the vehicle for the presence
of narcotics despite the lack consent either orally or in writing from
the Defendant. Based on the results of "sniff'', the troopers
obtained a search warrant for the vehicle. A search of the vehicle was
conducted, whereupon approximately 37 oz. of crack cocaine was recovered,
In July, 1999, the Defendant and the co-defendant passenger, were indicted
on first degree possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute, third
degree possession of cocaine, and second degree Conspiracy. Clifford E.
Lazzaro, P.C. maintained a position that the New Jersey State Police were
exercising a system of profiling African Americans which they applied
to this vehicle, violating the Defendant's Fourteenth Amendment rights
of Equal Protection and Due Process not to be discriminated against due
to his minority status, Clifford E. Lazzaro, P.C. filed a Motion Requesting
Discovery Alleging Racial Profiling by the New Jersey State Police. Subsequent
to the filing of the motion, the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice
filed a Motion to Dismiss the Indictment against the Defendant "in
the interest of justice" due to the allegations of Racial Profiling.
By Order of the Honorable Walter R. Barisonek, J.S.C., of the Union County
Superior Court, the Defendant's Indictment was dismissed.
Clifford E. Lazzaro, P.C. is up to date on all current law as the firm
can access LEXIS-NEXIS Research System online at any time.
Clifford E. Lazzaro, P.C. is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Clifford E. Lazzaro, P.C. 1 Broad Street-Second Floor, Elizabeth, New Jersey 07207