Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Practice of Criminal Defense; Best Practices in Defending a Criminal Charge in New Jersey

Being a criminal defense attorney is not a profession for the meek, lazy or uninformed.  To become a successful and competent criminal defense attorney in New Jersey requires much skill, dedication and persistent effort.

One of the first things that defense counsel must do when discussing the case with his or her client is to ascertain whether the defendant has an alibi defense, specifically, whether the defendant has credible evidence from a witness or witnesses that the defendant was not at the scene of the crime.   It is essential that these witnesses are located and interviewed as soon as possible while their memory is still fresh, and before they relocate or disappear. 

Recently the New Jersey Supreme Court had an occasion to address this issue in a Post-conviction relief appeal when it was alleged that defense counsel failed to investigate the defendant’s alibi defense, and hence, was convicted of murder when this witness was not called to the stand to testify on behalf of the defendant.  In State v. Porter, our highest court remanded the case back to the trial court and ordered that the defendant be afforded an evidentiary hearing to determine whether defense counsel was ineffective in failing to investigate this alibi witness. 

In all PCR appeals if the defendant makes out a prima facie showing and raises material facts that defense counsel’s actions at trial gave rise to ineffective assistance of counsel, the trial court must then afford the defendant an evidentiary hearing.  At this hearing the defendant would be allowed to call witnesses, and defense counsel, to explain why he or she failed to investigate and call this alibi witness.

If you have been charged with a crime in New Jersey or have been convicted of a crime in which your attorney failed to provide an adequate defense you must seek a consultation with an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney, who has handled criminal cases in Union, Essex, Bergen, Hudson, Somerset, Passaic, Morris, Warren, Hunterdon, Ocean, Monmouth, Mercer, Middlesex, Gloucester, Burlington, Camden, Atlantic, Cumberland, Sussex and Salem counties in New Jersey.

By: Vincent J. Sanzone, Jr., Esq.
Dated: December 28, 2013

Law Office of Vincent J. Sanzone, Jr.
Elizabeth, New Jersey
(908) 354-7006

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