A recent state Supreme Court ruling raises important questions about the tactics law enforcement officers use to secure a confession. In 2011, police officers pulled over an individual suspected of numerous sexual assaults. During questioning, officers led him to believe that, if he confessed, he would get a more lenient sentence that included counseling instead of incarceration. Upon confessing, he was then named in a 12-count indictment and incarcerated.
His took his case all the way to the state Supreme Court, which threw out his confession calling the detectives’ interrogation well beyond the norms of state guidelines for questioning suspects. This case highlights the legal gray area which prohibits coercion of confessions while, at the same time, allowing officers to lie in an effort to elicit them.
A Closer Look at the Case
The defendant was stopped and brought to Bloomfield police station one night around 2:30 a.m. After several hours, he answered questions about his job, address, family, and reasons why he was driving that night. From there, a detective told the defendant that the truth would set him free. As he understood it, if he confessed to the assaults in question, he would remain free to raise his daughter and get counseling for his problem.
In fact, when the defendant asked one of the detectives directly, The help I need is not sending me to jail is it? The detective allegedly responded, Not at all. Nobody gets rehabilitated in jail. The New Jersey Supreme Court found the state failed to prove his confession was voluntary and allowed him to withdraw his guilty plea.
Rape and Sexual Assault Laws and Penalties in New Jersey
Rape, sexual assault, or sexual battery are criminal offenses that bring severe penalties in New Jersey and throughout the country. Though laws and penalties vary from state to state and are based on the severity of the crime and circumstances involved, sex crimes are generally felony offenses. In addition to jail time, most individuals charged with sex crimes must register with the United States sex offender registration and notification program.
Sex offender status not only makes a person’s criminal history and identifying information available to the general public, it also makes it more difficult to find housing or employment. Anyone accused of a sexual assault charge or rape needs skilled legal representation to ensure their Constitutional rights are protected at every stage of the judicial process and to defend them against a charge that could change their life forever.
South Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyers at Agre & St. John Protect and Defend Their Clients’ Rights
In this country, we are fortunate to have the presumption of innocence. From the time you are questioned by officers, you have inherent rights that cannot be disregarded. If you were charged with a crime and believe your rights have been violated, contact a South Jersey criminal defense lawyer at Agre & St. John for a consultation. We evaluate every detail of your case to ensure officers acted according to the law and defend you against serious allegations that could impact your future.
With extensive experience in criminal defense and legal ethics, we offer smart legal guidance for your criminal matter. For a free initial consultation call us at 856-428-7797 or contact us online. Located in Haddonfield, New Jersey, our team serves clients throughout South Jersey including Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, and Salem County.