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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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The Best Times to Exercise Your Right to a Speedy Trial


The Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees criminal defendants the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury. One of the most important aspects of that right is the “speedy” part because cases, in New Jersey and elsewhere, often take a very long time to work their way through the criminal justice system.

Unfortunately for many defendants, New Jersey does not provide for any kind of set time limit when it comes to bringing a criminal case to trial. As a result, defendants can potentially languish behind bars for many months or even years before their legal issue is resolved. Moreover, even if the defendant is able to secure release from police custody by posting bail, the looming threat of a criminal charge can hang over the accused’s head and make it very difficult for them to move ahead with their life. For instance, some employers won’t want to hire a job applicant who has pending criminal charges on their record. Beyond that, petitioning for an expungement and clearing the arrest from your record won’t be possible until the matter has been adjudicated, settled, dropped, or otherwise resolved.

A Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney Can Assert Your Right to a Speedy Trial Early in the Legal Process

What does all of this mean for you if you have been charged with a crime in New Jersey and would like to bring the case to trial? First and foremost, it means that you are going to want to hire a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney as soon as you are detained, arrested, or charged. Do not delay when it comes to securing the services of a skilled attorney because you will need to assert your right to a speedy trial well in advance of the actual trial date. That’s because there is a certain “use it or lose it” quality to your Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial: if you wait too long and fail to assert your right in a timely fashion, you may not be able to get the charges against you dismissed at a later date.

Another reason that it is important for your attorney to assert your right to a speedy trial as early in the process as possible is that the judge in your case may not grant the motion to dismiss the first time. NJ judges often grant leeway to the prosecution to prepare their case for trial. This can lead to delay after delay. The best way to combat these stall tactics, and to ensure that your rights are not violated, is to repeatedly assert your right to a speedy trial and continue to file new motions each time. A qualified criminal attorney who is familiar with the legal process in New Jersey will be able to do this on your behalf.


If you face criminal charges in Atlantic County, NJ, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side. The experienced, aggressive criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of John W. Tumelty can help you fight your criminal charges and protect your legal rights. Contact us now to schedule a free consultation.

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