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Mr. Tumelty represented Helena Hendricks, who was charged with first degree murder in Atlantic County Superior Court. The defendant faced a number of additional charges, including armed robbery, conspiracy and possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose. At the conclusion of a jury trial that lasted three weeks, the defendant was found "not guilty" of all charges.

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Chris Christie Issues Pardon for Man Convicted of Atlantic City Robbery

NJ Governor Chris Christie recently issued a pardon to a man who was previously convicted of committing a robbery in Atlantic City more than 40 years ago.
In 1972, when he was just 18 years old, John Berry was addicted to cocaine and heroin. Around that time, Berry went to a music festival that was being held on the Atlantic City boardwalk. During the festival, Berry walked into a store on the boardwalk and shoplifted a couple of toy guns. He then used the imitation firearms to commit another robbery.

Governor Christie recently made an announcement at the NJ Statehouse in which he cited Berry as a bright shining example of the benefits of emphasizing treatment and rehabilitation instead of punishment for non-violent drug offenders.

After being released from prison, Berry got on the right path and made a better life for himself. Berry, who is now 61 years old and resides in Philadelphia, has avoided drugs and alcohol for nearly 35 years. After being released from prison, Berry went through a detox program, as well as a 12-step program for addicts. Berry went on to get a college degree and eventually got a job providing addiction treatment services to other non-violent drug offenders in need of help. He currently serves as a case manager for the Philadelphia Treatment Court, helping drug addicts get through the court-managed drug treatment program.

Governor Christie observed that while Berry’s story of recovery and redemption is remarkable, the same positive outcome is also possible for other drug-addicted individuals who are encouraged to get their lives back on track. Christie said that the “same type of redemption” would be available to others “if only they had a little help along the way.”

This belief in rehabilitation is one of the reasons that Christie has emphasized drug treatment instead of mandatory incarceration for first-time, non-violent drug offenders. Christie has strongly promoted the use of drug courts in New Jersey, something that he also plans to push for on a federal level if he is elected President.

After committing his theft offenses in 1972, Berry was placed under arrest and charged with robbery and possession of stolen property. Although Berry was convicted and served prison time for his crimes, he can now continue to do good things in the world without having to worry about a criminal record. That’s because Governor Christie recently issued a pardon that will erase the conviction from Berry’s permanent record.

For additional information about Governor Christie’s pardon of John Berry, read the Asbury Park Press article entitled, “Christie Pardons Recovering Drug Addict for 1972 Crime.”

If you have been accused of marijuana possession, robbery, theft or any other crime in New Jersey, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. A qualified attorney can also help you seek an expungement for a past arrest and/or conviction. Contact South Jersey criminal defense lawyer John W. Tumelty immediately to discuss your case and explore your legal options.

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