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STATE v. HENDRICKS — NEW JERSEY MURDER TRIAL — “NOT GUILTY” VERDICT

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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Is It Against the Law to Run from the Police?

The news has been dominated by headlines of racial bias among law enforcement as of late. Most recently the City of Baltimore has erupted in protest over the death of 25-year-old African-American resident Freddy Gray while in police custody. Before that, it was the Michael Brown death that had Ferguson, Missouri in a months-long state of civil unrest. It has been said by many that these doomed encounters escalated largely because the victims attempted to evade police prior to the altercation. This raises a fundamental question which goes to the heart of the issue: is it actually illegal to run from the police?

According to the Supreme Court, it is not against the law to flee from law enforcement. Yet in areas with a high concentration of crime, courts have routinely ruled in favor of measures like stop-and-frisk and pursuit of residents on the basis of pure suspicion. This has created a rift between police officers and the black community, as it’s often resulted in the death of those being pursued. The common denominator in these pursuits has been the presence of “reasonable suspicion,” a tool that allows law enforcement a certain amount of leeway to engage with those they feel may be involved in illegal activity.

Courts have ruled that fleeing from police while in a high-crime area is grounds for reasonable suspicion; however, this does not mean that an attempt to flee is an automatic admission of guilt. If you feel you’ve been unfairly pursued by law enforcement, talk to an experienced attorney immediately. You should never have to feel like you’re being targeted by police officers who are supposed to protect you. Just because distrust has been allowed to grow between the police and your neighbors doesn’t mean that you have to pay the price for it with your freedom or your life.

If you feel as though bias has contributed to the criminal charges you’re currently facing, call John Tumelty today. Mr. Tumelty is a former prosecutor and has sat on both sides of the criminal justice system. He is ready to put his experience to work for you. Call now for a free consultation.

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Atlantic County Office

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Atlantic County Office

South Jersey criminal defense lawyer John W. Tumelty is conveniently located in Atlantic City, NJ. He serves clients in Atlantic, Ocean, Gloucester and Cape May counties and the Jersey Shore, including: Absecon, Atlantic City, Avalon, Brigantine, Buena, Cape May, Egg Harbor City, Egg Harbor Township, Estell Manor, Folsom, Galloway Township, Hamilton Township, Hammonton, Linwood, Longport, Margate, Mullica Township, Northfield, Pleasantville, Port Republic, Somers Point, Ventnor,  and Waymouth.