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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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Child Sexting in Atlantic City or Anywhere Else is a Crime. Period.

Today’s teenagers are never far from their cell phones. They’re constantly texting, tweeting, Instagramming and snapping “selfie” after “selfie.” Most of your teen’s cell phone activity is likely innocent, but a disturbing trend could land them in hot water. “Sexting” is the practice of sending sexually suggestive photos and messages, and many hormone-ridden teens may not realize the ramifications.

It is illegal to send or receive nude photos of a minor, regardless of who has taken the photos. That means that even if the photo is a “selfie,” if the sender is under 18 they are breaking child pornography laws.

New Jersey enacted a teen sexting law in 2012 that created a diversion program to be used in lieu of criminal prosecution for teens facing criminal charges as a result of sexting. These teens may be ordered to participate in counseling and educational programs.

The diversion program, however, is granted at the discretion of a judge. This means that if the violation of the law is more severe – for instance, if the case involves older teens posting explicit photos of others on public websites – criminal prosecution could still occur.

Teenagers value their privacy, but as a parent you must emphasize that they should value their freedom more. Educate your children on the legal ramifications of sexting.

If your child has been charged with a crime related to sexting or cyberbullying, contact the Law Offices of John W. Tumelty at 609.385.4010 for a free initial consultation about the case.

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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.