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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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Sex Offender Tiers in New Jersey

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If you have a conviction for a sex offense in New Jersey, you may know that the prosecuting attorney reviews your history to classify you into one of the state’s sex offender tiers. The tier classification you receive could have life-altering consequences. 

Prosecutors aren’t always right. Therefore, New Jersey law allows you to challenge the prosecutor’s decision in court. Winning this challenge can be a vital step toward rebuilding your life. Having award-winning New Jersey criminal defense lawyer John W. Tumelty on your side maximizes your chances of regaining your liberty.

How Do Prosecutors Decide Which Tier You Should Be In?

New Jersey’s sex offender registration statute is known as Megan’s Law. At a minimum, Megan’s Law requires almost everyone convicted of a sex crime to register with their local police department as a convicted sex offender. The law applies to both juveniles and adults. 

Megan’s Law includes a classification system for sex offenders based on the likelihood someone will re-offend. The New Jersey Attorney General established guidelines that require prosecutors to determine whether your risk of re-offending is low, moderate, or high. They assess your risk on a scale called the “Registrant Risk Assessment Scale” (RRAS). There is a Juvenile Risk Assessment Scale as well. The prosecutor will classify you as a Tier 1, Tier 2, or Tier 3 offender based upon the score you receive on this scale.

What Is the Difference Between a Tier 1 and Tier 2 Sex Offender in New Jersey?

Tier 1 registrants are low-risk offenders. The guidelines say that a person presents a low risk of committing the crime again if the crime was non-violent, there is no or little criminal history, and the person has strong ties to the community. Tier 1 offenders receive a score of 36 or below on the RRAS. Accordingly, the community does not need to be warned about the existence of this person. Prosecutors will notify the police department about the Tier 1 offender. 

Under the guidelines, a Tier 2 sex offender in New Jersey is someone who presents a moderate risk of committing a sex crime again. That means the offender received a score between 37 and 73 on the RRAS. Tier 2 sex offender presents a moderate risk to the community. Consequently, the community receives limited notice about Tier 2 sex offenders. The prosecutor has to inform the local law enforcement agencies and educational institutions who are likely to encounter the Tier 2 sex offender. Other organizations may be entitled to notice as well.

The guidelines explain that people in Tier 2 are not as likely to re-offend as those in Tier 3. However, they are more likely to re-offend than Tier 1 offenders.

Who Could Be a Tier 3 Sex Offender in New Jersey?

A Tier 3 sex offender in New Jersey presents a high risk of recidivism in comparison to Tier 2 offenders. The guidelines suggest that people who are likely to encounter an offender should be warned about Tier 3 sex offenders. Tier 3 offenders score 74 or higher on the RRAS. Therefore, New Jersey law allows the public to access more information about Tier 3 sex offenders than those in Tier 2. 

New Jersey law permits the state police to post limited information about Tier 3 sex offenders on the New Jersey State Police website. Additionally, the community that’s likely to encounter a Tier 3 sex offender receives additional warnings. The phrase “likely to encounter” means people in the community live near or belong to an organization near a place that a Tier 3 offender frequents. Frequenting an area includes the person’s home and places where the offender works, attends counseling, or goes to school. The prosecutor has to deliver notice to law enforcement agencies, organizations, schools, and the wider community that is likely to encounter a Tier 3 sex offender. 

Fight for Your Rights

Your freedom and privacy could be severely and unfairly limited if the prosecutor assigned you to Tier 2 or Tier 3. You can fight to regain your liberty with help from New Jersey sex crime defense lawyer John W. Tumelty. Attorney Tumelty won several awards for client satisfaction and skills as an attorney. He also has the prestigious honor of being a Certified Trial Attorney with the New Jersey Supreme Court. Contact John today for a free consultation. 

 

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