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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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Suborning Perjury in New Jersey

Perjury Lawyer Atlantic City NJWhen a person swears to tell the truth before a court of law in either a civil or criminal trial and then proceeds to lie under oath, this is considered perjury. The witness in question is solely guilty of perjury, in this case specifically, if they decide to lie on their own without any coercion from their attorney or outside party. Since the court systems rely so heavily on truthful testimony to serve justice correctly, punishments for perjury are swift and severe. When a witness takes the stand and then proceeds to lie under oath, they are undermining the integrity of the court and may very well cause harm to others and waste countless taxpayer dollars.

Suborning Perjury Defined

When any outside party pressures or otherwise coerces a witness to give false testimony in front of the court or any other legal proceeding, and that witness does indeed follow through with that act, that person is guilty of suborning perjury. Although this is true, if the person in question is an attorney, they do not have to directly pressure a witness to give false testimony to be guilty of suborning perjury, they only need to be aware of the witness’ plans to lie on the stand.

If a person or other party pressures or convinces a witness in a court case to give false testimony on a witness stand, they are guilty of “suborning perjury” as opposed to the simple charge of “perjury”. This is the case because the word “suborn” simply means to bring about, therefore if someone causes a witness to lie in their testimony on a witness stand, they will still be guilty of suborning perjury regardless if there had been any threats made towards the witness or any time of intimidation.

Suborning Perjury and Attorneys

Although it is not illegal for any given person to be aware of a witnesses plans to lie in their testimony before the court, it is indeed illegal if the attorney involved in the case is aware of any plans made by any witness that they will call to the stand to testify to lie. As officers of the court, attorneys have the responsibility to uphold and defend the integrity of the court system and when a witness lies on the stand, they are directly attempting to undermine that integrity. An attorney cannot call to the stand any witness they so much as think may lie under oath on the witness stand, let alone attempt to coerce a witness to lie. If by chance an attorney learns of a witness’ plans to lie in their testimony, they must immediately make the witness aware of all possible consequences of perjury as well as strongly advise against it.

Punishments for Suborning Perjury in NJ

According to federal law, the punishment for suborning perjury includes fines and a possible prison sentence of up to five years. In regards to specific state law, suborning perjury can cost you at least 1 year in a state prison, and is regarded as a felony. It takes an extremely experienced attorney to navigate avoid the maximum sentence if you are guilty of suborning perjury. Contact John W. Tumelty immediately if you have been charged with suborning perjury so that we may begin working on your case immediately to get you the justice you deserve.

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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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.