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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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Emotional Distress and Police Misconduct

Many different questions are raised by individuals who have been accused of a crime or who are in the process of getting arrested. Anyone who has had an unfortunate experience with police may wonder whether or not there are any remedies for their suffering in such a case. This is true whether or not the experience has resulted in physical injuries.

If a police officer knowingly inflicts emotional distress upon someone that he or she is arresting, there are two situations in which the arrestee would have the right to sue. The first involves the circumstances by which the officer caused emotional distress. If the cause of emotional trauma was through a negligent act, then the arrestee might have a case where they would have the right to sue. The second refers to when an officer recklessly or intentionally acts in a way that causes emotional injury. However, a court may determine that the conduct of the officer was within the scope of the law enforcement duties and, therefore, the officer would be held immune and not liable. But, if the arrestee can prove that the officer intentionally inflicted emotional distress during the arrest, then this could be a possible remedy for the arrestee’s situation, as long as there is proof that the officer’s actions have crossed the boundaries.

This occurs in situations in which the officer acted recklessly or intentionally, the officer’s conduct was outrageous and extreme, or the conduct caused critical emotional distress.

Conduct is considered outrageous and extreme when it goes beyond all possible bounds of decency. It is a behavior that society will not tolerate. Outrageous or extreme conduct is actionable if the officer, either intended to cause, or recklessly disregarded a likelihood that conduct would lead to emotional distress. Severe emotional distress involves the reasonable person test, such as when a reasonable person in the same position would have been unable to cope with the same behavior or situation. You may be eligible to use this in your criminal defense case if this situation applies to you. Consulting with an experienced lawyer is valuable if you believe that the officer who arrested you purposefully and knowingly inflicted emotional damage.

If you think that an officer went above and beyond what was necessary in trying to make an arrest, then you need to share your concerns with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Schedule a consultation with the Law Offices of John W. Tumelty to learn more today.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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