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Alleged Burglary Results in Rutherford Shoot-Out and Death of One Suspect
Posted on September 16, 2014 by Travis Tormey | 0 Comments

rutherford police shootout burglaryThis morning, a reported burglary, followed by a police chase and shoot-out between officers and the alleged perpetrators, resulted in the shooting and subsequent death of one of suspect and the arrest of the other.

According to initial reports, a citizen contacted the North Arlington Police Department after allegedly witnessing two men attempting to break-into a Nissan SUV on Newell Place at approximately 2:15 a.m. Police then alerted surrounding law enforcement agencies of the incident, including a description of the vehicle provided by the eyewitness.

When officers from the Lyndhurst Police Department noticed the vehicle shortly thereafter, a police chase ensued, ultimately ending when the driver crashed into an overpass barrier on Ridge Road in Rutherford. An officer then parked behind the Nissan in order to prevent the suspects from fleeing, at which time a shoot-out began involving the vehicle’s occupants, two Lyndhurst officers, and one state trooper.

Ultimately, one of the suspects was shot at approximately 3:00 a.m., while the other was taken into custody. The suspect who was shot died at approximately 7:05 a.m. at Hackensack University Medical Center according to Paul Loriquet, a spokesman for the New Jersey State Attorney General’s Office.

Authorities are investigating the incident and have provided little information regarding the sequence of events involved in the shoot-out. However, they have disclosed that the Nissan was a stolen vehicle from Newark and that it was shot multiple times during the incident. The Attorney General’s Office indicated that it remains unclear which of the officers was responsible for shooting the bullet that led to the suspect’s death.

With regard to the other alleged offender, who remains unidentified, he or she is likely to be charged with burglary, among other offenses. In New Jersey, burglary charges are codified in N.J.S.A. 2C:18-2, and can be considered second or third degree crimes, per the alleged circumstances of the case. Specifically, burglary is classified as a second degree crime if the defendant is accused of inflicting, attempting to inflict, or threatening to inflict bodily injury on anyone, or if he or she is allegedly in possession of a weapon during the course of the offense. Otherwise, burglary is a third degree crime, punishable by a term of incarceration ranging from 3 to 5 years in New Jersey State Prison.

For more information pertaining to this incident, access the following articles:

Police shoot man in Rutherford after reported car chase 

Suspect dies after police shooting following car chase in Rutherford

Police Seek Alleged Accomplice of Man Charged with Englewood Carjacking
Posted on September 15, 2014 by Travis Tormey | 0 Comments

englewood carjackingOne man has been charged in connection with an alleged carjacking and subsequent police chase that began at an Englewood convenience store and ended with a crash on the Garden State Parkway in Bloomfield recently. However, the investigation will continue as authorities seek an accomplice whom they believe participated in the crime.

Englewood Police Detective Captain Timothy Torell initially reported the incident, which occurred on Saturday, September 13th at approximately 7:00 p.m., when two men allegedly stole an Infiniti that was parked and left running outside of Jordan’s Convenience Corner store in Englewood. After the driver and his companion entered the store, 35-year-old Latrey Evans and an alleged accomplice are accused of stealing the vehicle.

The incident reportedly involved an altercation between the driver and the defendants when he observed the other men in his car. Then, police say Torell drove the Infiniti into the building, reversed, hit the owner of car, and fled the scene. His alleged accomplice is believed to have jumped from the vehicle during the attempted escape.

A police pursuit ensued shortly thereafter, as the store’s owner immediately notified law enforcement officials. Ultimately, officers from the Englewood, Paramus, and New Jersey State Police Departments participated in the chase, which ended when Torell allegedly crashed the vehicle on the Garden State Parkway in Bloomfield. Although Torell attempted to flee on foot, he was soon arrested and charged with carjacking. He is currently being held at the Bergen County Jail in lieu of bail totaling $250,000.

According to State records, Torell has a lengthy criminal record, including seven felonies, some of which involve robbery and weapons offenses. He is also currently on parole in New Jersey, specifically enrolled in the intensive supervision program. As for the most recent crime for which he is accused, carjacking is a crime of the first degree, punishable by a New Jersey State Prison sentence of up to 30 years under N.J.S.A. 2C:15-2. Per the dictates of this statute, a defendant is subject to a term of incarceration ranging from 10 to 30 years, with a minimum 5-year period of parole ineligibility upon conviction.

Considering his criminal history, his current status as a parolee, and the seriousness of the charges against him, Torell is facing significant penalties if he is found guilty in this case. It remains to be seen whether authorities ultimately identify and charge his alleged accomplice.

For more information pertaining to this case, access the following article: Englewood carjacking suspect who crashed on GSP had accomplice, police say

NJ Officials Dismantle Alleged Cocaine Distribution Operation
Posted on September 12, 2014 by Travis Tormey | 0 Comments

cocaine distribution bustAfter an extensive investigation involving law enforcement officials from Bergen, Morris, Passaic, Hudson, and Union counties, 16 individuals have been arrested in connection with a drug distribution operation that was allegedly transporting cocaine throughout New York and New Jersey.

According to the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, a Morristown Police Bureau Officer provided the initial information that spawned the investigation in April. A Narcotics Task Force was subsequently assembled with the purpose of penetrating the organization. As a result of the coordinated efforts of the aforementioned law enforcement agencies, the alleged cocaine distribution network was recently dismembered, resulting in 16 arrests across multiple counties.

Authorities believe that 46-year-old New York City resident Camilo Rogelio, known as “El Maestro,” was supplying the cocaine, which was then distributed to street-level drug dealers by 51-year-old Bronx resident Julio Santana, also known as “El Chino.” Officials indicated that the investigation is ongoing, as they attempt to identify an additional supplier who may be involved.

Three Bergen County residents were among those arrested on Wednesday, September 10th, including 64-year old Englewood resident Aubrey Ward, 65-year-old Englewood resident Clarence Edward West Jr., and 53-year-old Dumont resident Mingo R. Roach. Interestingly, of all of the suspects taken into custody, 13 are currently over the age of 40, and the eldest is 69.

During the arrests, officials executed multiple search warrants, ultimately retrieving over 930 grams of cocaine, the street value of which has been estimated at $93,000. Approximately 4 pounds of marijuana, 13 vehicles, and $7,000 in alleged drug proceeds were also seized.

Of those arrested, Santana and Rogelio are facing the most serious charges. Rogelio has been charged with two felony-level drug offenses, one of which is second degree possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. He is currently being held at Riker’s Island, pending extradition to New Jersey.

Santana, on the other hand, is facing charges for a total of 20 indictable felonies, including 3 first degree charges, 10 second degree charges, and 7 third degree charges. Among the first degree crimes for which he has been accused is a charge for distribution of cocaine in a quantity greater than five ounces. According to N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5, these offenses are not only punishable by a 10 to 20 year term of incarceration, as are the majority of first degree crimes in New Jersey, they also entail a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment for those convicted.

Specifically, the mandatory minimum term must include a period ranging from one-third to one-half of the sentence imposed, during which the defendant is ineligible for parole. In addition, he or she may be subject to a maximum fine of $500,000.

Currently, Santana is being held in the Morris County Correctional Facility in lieu of a $500,000 cash-only bail. It remains to be seen whether the continued investigation results in any additional arrests.

For more information regarding this case, access the following article: Huge cocaine bust: 16 arrested in alleged network spanning NJ and NYC

Travis Tormey Talks Ray Rice Plea Agreement on Dom Giordano’s Radio Show
Posted on September 11, 2014 by Travis Tormey | 0 Comments

ray riceTravis J. Tormey, the owner and managing partner of the the Tormey Law Firm, was recently featured on the popular Philadelphia radio show hosted by Dom Giordano, providing his opinion on former NFL player Ray Rice’s plea agreement with the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, which followed Rice’s indictment on aggravated assault charges.

After plea negotiations, both parties agreed to Rice’s enrollment in the Pre-Trial Intervention Program, as well as his attendance of anger management classes.

Considering the significant public scrutiny and media frenzy surrounding Rice’s case, Giordano asked Tormey why the defendant was not sentenced to a term of imprisonment as punishment for the charges. In response, Mr. Tormey explained that cases like these are often resolved in a similar manner, and Rice’s sentence reflects the same treatment that any other first-time offender would receive in this situation. Tormey said:

“It’s a third-degree aggravated assault; he’s facing three to five years in New Jersey State Prison, but there’s a presumption of non-incarceration for first-time offenders. So that means even if he were convicted, let’s say they bounced him from PTI, they said ‘no, we’re not going to give you that, we’re going to take you to trial over her [the victim's] objections, they try the case, and they win, best case scenario: the judge is going to give him probation anyway. The only difference is that he would have a felony on his record.”

Questioned as to whether the release of a video tape that allegedly shows Rice punching his fiancé would have altered the outcome of the case, Tormey said, “The tape does change things because even without her, as long as they have a custodian of record from the casino come in, they could corroborate the tape and they, technically, could continue to press the charges against him.”

All in all, Tormey did not think that the tape would have significantly altered the way in which this case ultimately resolved, stating “In my career, I’ve almost never seen the State pursue charges over the wishes of a victim.”

For additional information about the case and the recent broadcase, access the following article: Attorney On Ray Rice Video: ‘The Tape Does Change Things, They Could Press Charges Without Her’

New Law Requires Video Cameras in NJ Police Patrol Vehicles
Posted on September 11, 2014 by Travis Tormey | 0 Comments

cameras in police carsFollowing a string of recent issues involving questionable conduct among law enforcement officials, one of which includes a false DWI case against a New Jersey Assemblyman, the State government just passed legislation requiring all newly-acquired police patrol vehicles to contain video cameras.

Interestingly, the Assemblyman who sponsored the bill, Democrat Paul Moriarty of Washington Township, was, in fact, the victim of the aforementioned false DWI claim. Moriarty, who is also the Chairman of the Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee, was charged with a DWI offense in his own municipality in 2012. The case against him was ultimately dismissed after surveillance video from the police car involved in the stop recorded evidence which led prosecutors to drop the charges.

Washington Township Police Officer Joseph DiBuonaventura was subsequently charged with a total of 14 criminal offenses, including harassment, official misconduct, and falsifying a police report. Prosecutors reportedly identified inconsistencies in his report on the incident after viewing the footage from the in-car video camera. They ultimately concluded that the stop itself was illegal, and that Officer DiBuonaventura had targeted Moriatory.

Moriarty originally introduced the newly-implemented legislation during the last legislative session. However, it was pocket-vetoed by Governor Chris Christie after receiving Assembly and Senate approval. Undeterred, the Assemblyman proposed the bill again during the last Spring session. This time, the Governor signed the bill into law, in a significant policy-changing event which occurred on Wednesday, September 10th.

Specifically, the new legislation mandates that municipal police departments furnish all newly-acquired police vehicles with in-car video cameras. As a more cost-effective alternative, the law also allows for the purchase of body cameras to be worn by all police patrol officers. In order to supplement funding for the new technology, the court will now add a $25 fee to all convictions for DWI offenses.

Overall, this new law represents an enormous opportunity for defendants charged with DWI’s in New Jersey, providing defense attorneys with access to the critical information necessary to successfully represent clients whose rights may have been violated in terms of the procedure that police officers are obligated to follow prior to, as well as during, a DWI stop.

For instance, I often achieve positive results for my clients by challenging the validity of the motor vehicle stop itself, the 20 Minute Observation Period, and/or the Alcotest 7110 (breathalyzer) machine. Video evidence of any errors made during one of these required stages can provide leverage when negotiating with the prosecutor, if not compelling the dismissal of the charges altogether.

Follow this link to view some of my strategy videos on Fighting DWI Charges in New Jersey

For more information pertaining to this matter, access the following article: Assemblyman Paul Moriarty’s police camera bill, inspired by DWI false arrest, signed into law

New Jersey Legalizes Sports Betting Despite Federal Ban
Posted on September 10, 2014 by Travis Tormey | 0 Comments

nj sports bettingFollowing a recent directive by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and the State government’s subsequent legalization of sports betting, a horse racing track in Monmouth County is scheduled to open for business on Sunday, September 14th.

This represents a significant shift in State policy regarding gambling, which is still considered illegal in most states under Federal Law. Although a 2011 referendum clearly communicated New Jersey residents’ desire for the legalization of sports betting, the aforementioned federal law, which was enacted in 1992 and limited the number of states in which legalization was allowed to occur, had prevented any changes until recently.

On Monday, September 8th, the Governor announced his decision to legalize sports betting, provided that these enterprises receive no funding or sponsorship from the State. A petition for approval of this directive has also been submitted to Trenton’s U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp. Notably, Judge Shipp NCAA previously ruled to uphold the federal ban on sports betting last year. As such, his pending ruling with regard to the Christie directive is uncertain.

The ultimate resolution of the sports betting issue in New Jersey remains to be seen; however, some have predicted an upcoming trend toward sports betting in casinos and at racetracks, which may serve to supplement the economic downturn in Atlantic City caused at least, in part, by the reduction in gambling at casinos. Atlantic City’s need for a revival has been a topic of discussion for quite some time, as many have shut down in the last few years. In fact, three Atlantic City casino closings have occurred so far this year, with another planning to close its doors next week after its umbrella corporation filed for bankruptcy.

The one thing that is clear with regard to gambling laws in New Jersey is that underage gambling remains a crime under N.J.S.A. 5:12-119. According to this statute, gambling is prohibited for individuals under the age of 21. Those charged with underage gambling, which are considered disorderly persons offenses, are subject to a variety of significant penalties if they are ultimately found guilty.

For example, a conviction for underage gambling is punishable by a maximum sentence to serve 6 months in the county jail, a fine ranging from $500 to $1,000, and a mandatory 6-month driver’s license suspension. If the individual is not yet 17, his or her driver’s license is subject to postponement, followed by a 6-month suspension when said license is issued.

In addition, a parent or guardian who allows a person in their custody to gamble underage can also be charged with a disorderly persons offense in violation of the above statute.

For more information regarding this matter, access the following article: New Jersey Track May Start Sports Betting Sunday

Travis Tormey Provides Legal Commentary for NJ.com Article on Ray Rice Case
Posted on September 9, 2014 by Travis Tormey | 0 Comments

travis tormeyAttorney Travis. J. Tormey of the Tormey Law Firm was recently quoted in an article published by NJ.com, after the news source requested his legal opinion regarding the domestic violence case against former Ravens football player Ray Rice. In the most recent development in this case, Rice was approved for enrollment in New Jersey’s Superior Court Pre-Trial Intervention Program, a rare occurrence in cases of this kind, according to Tormey.

Rice was initially facing charges for aggravated assault in the Atlantic County Superior Court, following the release of surveillance video which documented him assaulting a woman who is now his wife. The Baltimore Ravens subsequently terminated Rice’s contract with the team and the NFL issued an open-ended suspension against him on Monday, September 8th.  The resolution of his criminal case was pending prior to the Prosecutor’s Office’s recent decision to approve him for PTI.

In New Jersey, charges for aggravated assault are classified as felony-level offenses under N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1b. Defendants accused of committing these offenses can be subject to charges graded as second, third, or fourth degree crimes, per the circumstances of the specific case. As such, an individual could be facing a New Jersey State Prison sentence ranging from 18 months to 10 years, depending on the degree of the charges filed against him or her.

In the aforementioned case, which incited national outrage, Rice was charged with a third degree aggravated assault crime, punishable by a maximum 5-year term of incarceration.  Some cases involving aggravated assault are downgraded to disorderly persons offenses, which are adjudicated in Municipal Court and entail significantly less severe penalties. For instance, an individual convicted of a disorderly persons offense in New Jersey can be sentenced to a maximum 6 month-period to be served in the county jail.

The Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office’s surprising PTI determination in Rice’s case, which was not remanded to the municipal court, contradicts the common course of action in domestic violence cases in New Jersey, as noted by Mr. Tormey and other seasoned legal professionals.

In discussing his extensive experience representing clients in domestic violence cases throughout New Jersey, Mr. Tormey stated: “This is very unusual and kind of surprising that prosecutors allowed him into PTI if they had that video. In cases of domestic violence, it’s typically hard to get into PTI.”

New Jersey law contains similar language which serves to substantiate Mr. Tormey’s opinion regarding PTI eligibility for defendants’ charged with domestic violence. In fact, N.J.S.A 2C:43-12(e) provides an extensive list of factors to be considered by the probation department and the prosecutor’s office before approving a defendant’s enrollment into PTI. Specifically, “Whether or not the crime is of an assaultive or violent nature” is included as one of the grounds for PTI application rejection.

Further, the conditional dismissal program, a diversionary program similar to PTI that is provided through the Municipal Court for lower-level offenses, does not allow entrance for defendants charged in cases related to domestic violence.

Overall, the Rice decision has the following implications: he will not be sentenced to a term of incarceration, will not be subject to a period of parole, and cannot receive any additional punishment for these charges, provided that he successfully complies with the conditions of the one-year PTI probationary period. If Rice does, in fact, complete the program, the charges against Rice will be dismissed and he will be eligible to expunge any record of the arrest, the charges, and the dismissal of the case. Ultimately, am expungement would result in a completely clean criminal record for Rice.

Ironically, this case occurred in the same year as the 20th anniversary of the federal Violence Against Women Act, which was passed in 1994. One of the elements of this law involves substantial funding for the investigation and prosecution of offenses involving violence against women.

Democratic New Jersey Assemblyman Joseph Cryan just announced his intention to introduce new legislation that would mandate harsher penalties for those convicted of charges related to domestic violence in New Jersey. Whether or not the proposed bill is ultimately enacted into law remains to be seen; however, the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office continues to defend its decision in the Rice case.

To view the NJ.com article in its entirety, access the following link: Ray Rice video: Prosecutor’s office says ‘decision was correct’ not seek jail time for Rice

Fair Lawn Police Arrest Man for Burglary, Theft Crimes
Posted on September 8, 2014 by Travis Tormey | 0 Comments

fair lawn police departmentOfficers from the Fair Lawn Police Department recently arrested a man who is now facing charges for burglary, theft, and obstructing the administration of the law, after the defendant allegedly attempted to steal two bicycles from a local garage.

According to Fair Lawn Police Officer Edward Egan, he initially noticed 52-year-old Haledon resident Clarence Goodman in the vicinity of Morlot Avenue and Essex Place at approximately 12:45 a.m. on Friday, September 5th. At the time, Goodman was reportedly riding one bicycle and attempting to wheel another alongside it. When Officer Egan approached Goodman, he allegedly attempted to flee, which prompted Officer Egan to call for reinforcements.

Police took Goodman into custody shortly thereafter, charging him with burglary, theft, and obstructing the administration of the law (often called “obstruction”). After processing, he was being held at to the Bergen County Jail with his bail set at $25,000.

In New Jersey, offenses involving theft are delineated into distinct categories which include: theft by deception, theft of services, theft of movable property, and theft by extortion. As such, the specific charges filed against a defendant vary per the specifications of each case. With regard to the aforementioned case, Mr. Goodman has likely been charged with theft of movable property.

Theft of movable property offenses are addressed under N.J.S.A. 20-3. Per the dictates of this statute, the degree of these charges is contingent upon the value of the property associated with the alleged offense. For instance, a crime involving property valued at less than $200 is considered a disorderly persons offense, which is punishable by a maximum of six months to be served in the county jail. On the opposite side of the spectrum, offenses involving property valued above $75,000 are classified as second degree felonies, which entail a New Jersey State Prison Sentence ranging from 5 to 10 years.

The combined value of the bicycles allegedly stolen by the defendant in this case remains undisclosed. Hypothetically, if the amount is between $200 and $500, then Mr. Goodman has been charged with a fourth degree theft crime, which could result in an 18-month term of imprisonment upon conviction.

For additional information regarding this case, view the following article: Fair Lawn police say Haledon man tried stealing two bicycles at once

Bergen County Terroristic Threats Charges in 2nd Case Against Teaneck Man
Posted on September 5, 2014 by Travis Tormey | 0 Comments

ramapo student terroristic threatsA former student at Ramapo College was recently indicted in Bergen County for terroristic threats in his second case of this kind, the first of which involved a New Jersey State Police Officer as the alleged victim.

According to a spokeswoman from the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, 24-year-old Teaneck resident Zachary Rackman is accused of sending a threatening email to the current vice provost for curriculum and assessement at Ramapo College’s Mahwah campus. The alleged victim, Eric Daffron, reportedly received an email in January, which threatened to kill him and/or other students and faculty at the school.

Following an investigation, an indictment was issued in Bergen County Superior Court last week against Zachary Rackman. The defendant, a Ramapo student between 2012 and 2014, was reportedly charged with this offense in 2013 in connection with another case involving officers from the New Jersey State Police Department. Official documents indicate that the 2013 charges were resolved through his enrollment in a Pre-Trial Intervention Program.

The Pre-Trial Intervention program, also known as “PTI,” is a diversionary program in New Jersey available to certain first-time offenders who are facing charges for felony-level offenses. Notably, PTI applicants must have no prior criminal record and have not previously been enrolled in a diversionary program such as PTI or a conditional discharge. For those who meet the program’s eligibility requirements and receive approval from the prosecutor’s office, PTI admission entails a period of probation during which the charges are suspended. Successful completion of the program’s conditions, which may include mandatory drug testing and community service, will result in the dismissal of the charges and no criminal record for the defendant.

In the pending case against Rackman, he will not be eligible to utilize PTI, as he was previously enrolled in the program. With this in mind, he is facing a prison sentence and a criminal charge on his record if he is ultimately found guilty. In New Jersey, terroristic threats offenses are classified as third degree crimes under N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3. As a result, Rackman could be sentenced to a term of incarceration ranging from 3 to 5 years if he is convicted.

For more information regarding this case, access the following article: Teaneck man indicted for allegedly threatening to kill Ramapo College administrator

Englewood Man Charged With Bergenfield Assault, Weapons Crimes
Posted on September 4, 2014 by Travis Tormey | 0 Comments

bergenfield assault caseFollowing an altercation involving three people that occurred on a Bergenfield street recently, one man has been charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, as well as a weapons-possession offense.

According to officials from the Bergenfield Police Department, Officer Joseph Arrigo allegedly witnessed an altercation involving 24-year-old Englewood resident Alejandro Gonzalez and two others at approximately 3:00 a.m. on Sunday, August 31st. Officer Arrigo, who was on patrol in the vicinity of West Clinton and Portland avenues at the time, subsequently called additional officers to the scene for assistance.

After police put a stop to the fight, they questioned the individuals involved, one of whom reportedly sustained a head wound, while the other suffered multiple abrasions. Authorities have accused Gonzalez of hitting one of the alleged victims in the head with a brick and assaulting the other with a belt. He was immediately taken into custody and is currently being held at the Bergen County Jail in lieu of $40,500 bail without a 10 percent option.

In New Jersey, assault offenses are distinguished into the categories of “simple assault” and “aggravated assault,” depending on the circumstances of the specific case. Generally the specific charges are contingent upon factors including: the degree of injury sustained by the victim, the identity of said victim (such as a law enforcement officer or public servant), and whether or not a weapon was involved in the alleged offense.

For a defendant facing assault charges, a simple assault charge is the more favorable of the two, as it is considered a disorderly persons offense as opposed to an indictable felony. Disorderly persons offenses are addressed at the Municipal Court level and are punishable by a maximum sentence of 6 months to be served in the county jail. Notably, certain defendants with no previous criminal record who have been charged with simple assault may be eligible for a diversionary program known as the Conditional Dismissal Program in Municipal Court. For more information about this program, access the following link: FAQ’S About NJ’S Conditional Dismissal Program in Municipal Court.

On the other hand, indictable felonies, which pertain to aggravated assault offenses, will be tried in the Superior Court in the County in which the alleged offense occurred. These charges are further delineated into classifications of first, second, third, and fourth degree crimes. First degree charges are considered the most serious under the New Jersey Criminal Code, with the severity of the charges proceeding in descending order from first to fourth. As such, a conviction for a first degree crime can entail of sentence of up to 20 years in New Jersey State Prison, while a fourth degree crime is punishable by a maximum sentence of 18 months.

The degree of the aggravated assault charges against Gonzalez remains undisclosed; however, the potential penalties to which he may be exposed are significant due to the fact that he has been charged with a felony-level offense.

For more information pertaining to this case, access the following article: Englewood man accused in Bergenfield brick, belt attack