Prepared for the People as a public service by the Law Office of Vincent J. Sanzone, Jr.
Most people have watched the reality show, “The First 48-Hours”, in which the theme of the show is the necessity of law enforcement to solve the crime in the first 48-hours of the alleged crime. Statistics show on average that if the crime is not solved within the first 48-hours, the chance of capturing a suspect goes down with each passing day.
The reason for this is that witnesses’ memories fade, evidence is lost or destroyed; important and essential witnesses’ disappear or cannot be found because they have left the area.
Although not all crimes are solved within this time frame, most are. Unfortunately, law enforcement is not always right and sometimes charges the wrong person. Most people are not aware (more than we will admit) that a percentage of the people who are actually charged are innocent. The rule is in law enforcement, once a person is charged with a crime, the investigation stops and the file is closed.
Just as it is important for law enforcement to attempt to get a jump on the crime within 48-hours in the attempt to solve the crime, it is even more important for an arrested individual to retain an experienced New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney to begin to conduct his own investigation to determine whether law enforcement has gotten its facts right. Also, it is important that the suspect obtain an attorney to send/fax various evidence preservation letters to the law enforcement agencies that investigated the crime, or the place or jurisdiction where the alleged crime took place to prevent law enforcement from destroying evidence.
For example the City of Jersey City Police Department has a policy, which is illegal and against state law, to destroy dispatcher communication audio tapes after 30-days, even when there is pending criminal case or quasi-criminal case which is evidence and relates to the case. However, Jersey City Police Department, like many other towns and cites in New Jersey continue to violate state law and tape-over and/or destroy these audio tapes, thus making it difficult to prove that the officer lied as to what happened, e.g., motion to suppress, eluding case, etc.
Therefore, it is mandatory that someone charged with a crime or serious motor vehicle offense retain an experienced NJ Criminal Attorney to investigate and immediately put law enforcement on notice that they are not to destroy valuable evidence, evidence which often exculpates and proves that the suspect is in fact innocent.
Law Office of Vincent J. Sanzone, Jr., Esq.
P.O. Box 261
277 North Broad Street
Elizabeth, N.J. 07207