Case Results

  • State v VM, Passaic County Superior Court

    Defendant found not guilty of statutory rape

    The defendant was indicted on 5 counts by a Passaic County Grand Jury. He was formally charged with second degree sexual assault, fourth degree criminal sexual contact, third degree endangering the welfare of a child, third degree tampering with a witness and fourth degree contempt. The defendant was 28 years old at the time of the offense and alleged to have picked up the 15 year old victim (next door neighbor) from school at 8 am and taken her to a hotel where he engaged in sexual intercourse with the victim. Afterwards, he was alleged to have dropped the victim off on a city street and went to work. The school contacted the victim's mother when the daughter was not present for homeroom and the police responded to the victim's home and school. The victim was eventually located and she gave several conflicting versions of events of the incident. She was taken by the police to the local hospital where she refused a rape kit test. Additionally, the police conducted no investigation of the crime scene. No video surveillance was recovered from the hotel. No witnesses from the hotel were questioned as to identifications of the defendant and juvenile. No proofs of payment to the hotel made by the defendant on the date of incident were gathered by the police. Most importantly, no DNA or other scientific evidence was gathered by the State in this case. After a 2 week Jury trial in Passaic County Superior Court in July of 2017, the Jury returned a verdict of not guilty in one hour and 5 minutes on second degree sexual assault, fourth degree criminal sexual contact and third degree endangering the welfare of a child. The State dismissed the witness tampering and contempt charges after trial.

  • State v ER, Essex County Superior Court

    Gun case downgraded to disorderly person offense

    In June of 2017, Defendant was arrested at Newark Liberty international Airport and charged with third degree unlawful possession of a weapon with first obtaining a permit to carry. The defendant was indicted by an Essex County Grand Jury in August of 2017. The defendant packed his travel bag at his residence in Philadelphia, PA forgetting to remove a bb gun that he had purchased for recreational purposes and previously placed inside it. About to board an international flight to Israel with his family, the weapon was discovered by TSA during an x-ray scan and the defendant was arrested. Plea negotiations resulted in the third degree weapon's offense being downgraded to a disorderly persons offense with imposition of a fine only (no probation, no community service, etc.).

  • State v DL, Union County Superior Court

    Received non-custodial (no jail) probation

    The defendant was indicted in February of 2015 by a Union County Grand Jury on 9 counts including 3 counts of first degree aggravated sexual assault, 5 counts of second degree sexual assault and one count of second degree endangering the welfare of a child. A PreTrial Memorandum (Plea Cut Off Form) was executed in January of 2016. The defendant faced a maximum period of incarceration of 120 years in New Jersey State Prison (NJSP) with a maximum period of 98 years of parole ineligibility. Defendant was alleged to have repeatedly molested through acts of sexual penetration the victim since the age of 6 and throughout the victim's teenage years. There was video evidence of the defendant engaging in sexual intercourse with the victim. The victim was in his mid 20's when the sex assault charges were filed against the defendant, the victim's step father. The charges were vigorously contested through pre-trial motions (Rule 401, Rule 403 (a) and Rule 901 hearings and a motion to dismiss indictment) where the victim's credibility was repeatedly attacked. The initial plea offer was 10 years New Jersey State Prison subject to the No Early Release Act (NERA) or 85 percent rule, Megan and Nicole's Law and Parole Supervision for Life (PSL). Immediately prior to trial, the State offered an amended plea to third degree child endangerment with a recommendation of non-custodial (no jail) probation subject to Megan's Law and Nicole's Law and Community Supervision for Life. Defendant was sentenced in January of 2017.

  • State v AD, Essex County Superior Court

    Received probation on 9mm gun case

    Defendant was indicted by an Essex County Grand Jury in May of 2015. He was charged with second degree unlawful possession of a 9 mm handgun without first obtaining a permit to carry same. The State offered the defendant a reduced plea of 3 years New Jersey State Prison (NJSP) with a one year period of parole ineligibility under a Graves Act exception. The defendant rejected that offer. In January of 2015, the defendant was stopped by an unmarked police vehicle for driving with a suspended license and for operating a Jeep Cherokee with dark tinted windows, front and back. The police immediately placed the defendant into custody for driving with a suspended license and began to question the defendant without administering his Miranda rights. The police asked whether or not the defendant possessed a weapon inside the vehicle. The defendant allegedly admitted to possession and knowledge of 9mm handgun under the front passenger seat inside of his vehicle. A Motion to Suppress Oral Admissions and a Motion to Suppress Physical Evidence Seized under the Exclusionary Rule were filed on behalf of the defendant. Prior to the motions being heard, the State made a non-custodial (no jail) probationary plea offer to the defendant, which he accepted. The defendant was sentenced to probation in October of 2016.

  • State v KB, Essex County Superior Court

    Rape charge, received Pretrial Intervention

    Defendant was indicted in September of 2015 and charged with one count of first degree aggravated sexual assault, one count of second degree sexual assault and two counts of third degree aggravated criminal sexual contact. Defendant was employed by the a New Jersey company responsible for providing care for developmentally disabled individuals. The 62 year old developmentally disabled victim claimed that defendant sexually assaulted her in a shower by digital penetration and that defendant masturbated during incident. Defendant claimed that he never went into shower area with victim and never had any inappropriate contact with victim. The police never conducted a crime scene investigation of the shower area to collect DNA. Additionally, there were no eyewitnesses to the event or video surveillance footage capturing the alleged assault. Defendant had no prior criminal history and victim had a history of making false allegations of sexual assault against caregivers. The defendant faced a 17 year period or parole ineligibility if convicted of the charges. Defendant was offered a plea to first degree aggravated sexual assault with a recommendation that he serve 12 years in New Jersey State Prison (NJSP) subject to Megan's Law, Parole Supervision for Life (PSL), an Adult Diagnostic Test Center (ADTC) evaluation for sexual offenders and no victim contact. In April of 2016, Defendant rejected the plea and elected to exercise his constitutional right to proceed to trial. Immediately prior to trial, the victim was re-interviewed by the Essex County Prosecutor's Office and determined not to be credible. The defendant was offered Pretrial Intervention (PTI) which he accepted in December of 2016.

  • State of New Jersey in Interest of DG (Juvenile), Middlesex County Superior Court

    Juvenile recieved 3 year indeterminate sentence

    Juvenile was accused of first degree armed robbery, second degree 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 Bascus, Marcus, Essex County Superior Court

    Defendant faced life, accepted 15 year plea deal

    Marcus Bascus accepted responsibility and entered a guilty plea on June 5, 2014 to First Degree Conspiracy to Commit Murder and Second Degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (handgun) related to the shootings which occurred on September 25, 2010 at an off-campus Seton Hall University fraternity party in East Orange, New Jersey. One person died and 4 others were wounded during the gunfire. Pursuant to the plea agreement, the State is recommending a maximum 15 year sentence subject to NERA (85%) law and the Graves Act. At sentencing, State will dismiss 8 remaining counts of the indictment-First Degree Murder, 4 counts of First Degree Attempted Murder, First Degree Felony Murder, Second Degree Burglary and Second Degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose. The co-defendant in this case, Nicholas Welch, was convicted after a jury trial earlier this year (2014) and sentenced on May 30, 2014 to 95 years in a state prison with an 89 year period of parole ineligibility. Bascus admitted under oath to agreeing to provide and providing Welch with a loaded .38 cal handgun knowing that Welch was going to illegally enter the off-campus fraternity party and shoot people with the gun causing death and/ or serious bodily injury. This was a damage control plea. Clifford E. Lazzaro, Esq. handled the plea and the entire case on behalf of Marcus Bascus.

  • United States v TF, United States District Court (NJ/ Trenton)

    The defendant faced 24 to 30 months, received 12

    The defendant was charged with violating the terms and conditions of supervised release on a prior federal drug conviction and faced incarceration of 24 to 30 months consecutive to state sentencing in Monmouth County Superior Court. The defendant entered a guilty plea in federal district court to committing new criminal offenses (see Monmouth County 22 Count Accusation referenced above) while on supervised release. Clifford E. Lazzaro, Esq, successfully argued at sentencing for a 12 month term of imprisonment on the supervised release violation. 2014 case.

  • State v TF, Monmouth County Superior Court

    The defendant faced 150 years, received 5 years

    The defendant was charged by way of a 22 Count Accusation with four (4) counts of third degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance (cds), 4 counts of third degree possession of cds with intent to distribute, 4 counts of third degree distribution of cds, 4 counts of second degree possession of cds with the intent to distribute within 500 feet of public housing, 4 counts of second degree distribution of cds within 500 feet of public housing, 1 count of third degree possession of cds within 1,000 feet of a school and one count of third degree distribution of cds within 1,000 of a school. CDS in this case was Methylone (Molly). The defendant had an extensive prior criminal history for indictable or felony offenses involving cds distribution offenses and was subject to a mandatory extended term. Plea deal negotiated by Clifford E. Lazzaro. The defendant plead guilty to 4 out of the 22 counts of the accusation. The defendant plead to 3 counts third degree distribution of cds and one count of third degree distribution of cds within 1,000 feet of a school. The remaining 18 counts of the Accusation were dismissed at sentencing. All counts to run concurrent with one another. The defendant received a 5 year term New Jersey State Prison (NJSP) with 30 months of parole ineligibility. Mandatory extended term waived by the state as part of plea. 2014 case.

  • State v KD, Monmouth County Superior Court

    Gun case dismissed

    The defendant was arrested in Dec. of 2013 and later indicted and charged with one count of second degree unlawful possession a firearm (handgun), one count of third degree receipt of stolen property (stolen Highpoint 40 caliber handgun) and one count of third degree possession of CDS. The defendant's plea offer was 7 years New Jersey State Prison (NJSP) with 42 months of parole ineligibility. Case dismissed in September of 2014.

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