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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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Search and Seizure Law Basics

Search and seizure law is one of the most common methods through which someone’s defense strategy emerges if the police violate your rights and do not carry out a search and seizure in conjunction with your constitutional rights. Officers are empowered to carry out searches in several different circumstances, including when you consent to it, but there’s often little to be gained by making things easier for the police.

The police are eligible to search you if they have the necessary probable cause to believe that they could find evidence showing that you engaged in a crime and a judge issued a warrant, or if the specific circumstances of the situation justified a search without a warrant being issued. The critical element of your search and seizure rights is whether or not a person has a legitimate expectation of privacy and the thing or place being searched. This privacy issue is the crux of your constitutional rights.

Usually, the courts will use a two-part test to determine whether or not the person actually did expect some level of privacy and whether or not such an expectation was reasonable. When a search violates the 4th Amendment, this information may be used in your criminal defense. The fruit of a poisonous tree doctrine and the exclusionary rule may both become a component of your criminal defense. Evidence that is the product of an illegal search cannot be admissible in court under the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine and if a court determines that an unreasonable search did occur, any evidence that was seized cannot be used as direct evidence against the defendant in a criminal prosecution.

If you believe that the police have violated your rights in any way; in arresting you or conducting a search without probable cause, you need to consult with an experienced attorney immediately to protect your best interests.

Do you need help learning more about your rights after charges have been assessed? Contact the Law Offices of John W. Tumelty via our convenient online contact form 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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