In the first death-by-auto case in Cape May County, New Jersey stemming from a texting-while-driving charge, criminal defense lawyer John Tumelty successfully convinced a judge to dismiss an indictment against his client Miheala Reilly, 25.
If tried and convicted of the death by auto charge she was facing, Ms. Reilly could have received a sentence of 10 years in prison.
Reilly, a resident of Upper Township, maintained that she was not guilty of texting while driving when she hit and killed David Loder, 76. The incident occurred when Mr. Loder was crossing Rt. 9 with a cane on July 21, 2014. The judge in the case recently dismissed the indictment against Ms. Reilly after Mr. Tumelty, a former state prosecutor and long-time criminal defense lawyer in South Jersey, systematically unveiled evidence including a timeline of texts and a phone call.
He was able to prove that when New Jersey State Police presented evidence of a phone call and four texts to the grand jury, they made it seem like that communication happened just before the accident. Subsequently, Mr. Tumelty maintained, the grand jury returned an erroneous indictment.
Despite the prosecutor’s insistence that Ms. Reilly was distracted by her cell phone while driving, Tumelty maintained the opposite. He said his client used her phone following the crash, not before or simultaneous to the accident. In fact, the attorney said, Ms. Reilly called her mother and a friend after the crash and then sent two texts to friends.
“The call and texts occurred after the crash,” Mr. Tumelty said in court. “This indictment was the result of misrepresentations presented to the grand jury based on a rush to get an indictment for texting while driving.”
In three decades of defending people charged with serious crimes in New Jersey, John W. Tumelty has been repeatedly able to secure favorable outcomes for clients. He thoroughly reviews each and every piece of evidence in the case and, as he did with Ms. Reilly’s case, will mount a defense in his client’s best interests.
If you or someone you know is facing serious criminal charges in Atlantic City or anywhere in South Jersey, contact the Law Office of John W. Tumelty for a free consultation about your charges.