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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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How Forensic Scientists Investigate a Crime Scene

New Jersey criminal defense lawyer

Prosecutors in criminal cases often rely on evidence in order to prove the defendant’s guilt. Without sufficient evidence, the State may have no choice but to drop the charges. That’s why NJ law enforcement agencies often utilize crime scene investigators and forensic scientists to gather evidence. Crime scene investigators typically collect the evidence, while forensic science technicians both collect and analyze the evidence.

The way evidence is gathered and examined can be critical during trial, as well as pre-trial hearings, because there are strict rules that govern the admissibility of evidence in criminal cases. If forensic scientists failed to follow certain protocols and procedures, it’s possible that an experienced attorney may be able to challenge the evidence in your case and get it ruled inadmissible at trial.

Forensic Scientists Must Document Relevant Information

The individuals who gather evidence at a crime scene must be very careful to document important details, which includes taking notes on the crime scene conditions and anything else that might be deemed relevant to the case. Crime scene investigators are also expected to take photographs just in case the evidence changes over time or can’t be preserved.

Forensic Scientists Must Avoid Contaminating the Evidence

Forensic scientists also need to exercise extreme caution when looking at evidence, whether it’s at the crime scene or at a laboratory. One mistake during the collection process, or during testing of the evidence, and it’s possible that the evidence could become inadmissible at trial. Whether the forensic scientist is investigating a blood sample, a fingerprint, or a suspected illegal substance such as drugs, just one mistake at the crime scene or in the lab could be fatal to the prosecution’s case.

Depending on the circumstances of your case, a skilled criminal defense lawyer may be able to get your charges dismissed, or win at trial because the crime scene investigators or the forensic science technicians failed to properly do their jobs.


If you were arrested and charged with a crime in Atlantic County or anywhere else in New Jersey, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. The experienced, aggressive criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of John W. Tumelty can fight the evidence in your case and help you beat the charges. Contact us now to schedule a free initial consultation.

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