Hackensack New Jersey Criminal Law Blog

Hackensack New Jersey
Criminal Law Blog

Published By

Travis J. Tormey, Esq.

Man Charged with Lewdness After Allegedly Bursting into Home in Rutherford, NJ

Posted in Sex Crimes

Police Arrest Suspect in Rutherford Home Invasion

Lewdness Lawyers in Rutherford NJA man allegedly wore high heels – and very little else – when he trespassed in a Rutherford house and seriously scared two people inside. The peculiar incident happened around 5:00 p.m. at a home located on Eastern Way in Rutherford, NJ. The suspect, 39-year-old Justin Paul Christodoro, allegedly walked inside the home by accessing an unlocked backdoor, stepped into the living room, and startled the occupants of the home by yelling, “I’m here!” The two residents later told police that the suspect was wearing black high heels, a black t-shirt, and nothing else.

Patrick A. Feliciano, the Rutherford police captain, issued a statement about the case and said that Christodoro had not yet provided authorities with a sufficient explanation for his strange behavior. Christodoro reportedly entered the home despite the fact that he does not know the two residents. After he shouted at the residents, Christodoro quickly ran out of the house and fled the scene. Rutherford police detectives investigated the criminal incident and contacted neighboring police departments. Within just a few hours, Lyndhurst police officers located Christodoro in a vehicle parked in the driveway of a home on Lake Avenue in Lyndhurst. According to law enforcement, Christodoro was in the front seat of his car and sleeping. Christodoro was reportedly still wearing high heels and a t-shirt.

Disorderly Persons Offense Penalties in New Jersey

Christodoro was arrested by Lyndhurst police and then taken to the New Bridge Medical Center in Paramus to be evaluated for drug use. Police believe that Christodoro could have been under the influence of illicit drugs when he committed the criminal act. After Christodoro is eventually released from the hospital, he will probably be moved to the Bergen County Jail in Hackensack, New Jersey.

Christodoro has been charged with criminal trespassing in Rutherford and possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) and lewdness in Lyndhurst, NJ. Additionally, Christodoro has been cited for a traffic offense for blocking a driveway in Lyndhurst. Depending on how Bergen County prosecutors choose to proceed with the case, more criminal charges against Christodoro could be forthcoming.

If the case goes to trial in either Rutherford Municipal Court or Lyndhurst Municipal Court, it’s possible that Christodoro will be subject severe penalties. Although disorderly persons offenses are treated more leniently than felony-level offenses and don’t often result in jail time for first-time offenders, a conviction for a disorderly persons offense can still lead to the offender being sentenced to up to six (6) months in the Bergen County Correctional Center.

Contact Aggressive Criminal Defense Attorneys in Bergen County, NJ

The Tormey Law Firm handles disorderly persons offenses and felonies in courtrooms throughout Bergen County: Rutherford, Lyndhurst, and Newark. Our experienced criminal attorneys are prepared to help you fight your charges and avoid jail time. Contact us anytime to discuss the details of your case.

Police Arrest Suspects Who Allegedly Planned to Sell Heroin at Garden State Plaza in Paramus, New Jersey

Posted in Drug Crimes

Two Paramus Men Accused of Distributing Heroin in Bergen County, NJ

Heroin Distribution Suspects in Paramus NJUndercover cops with the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office and the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) wrapped up a sting operation and arrested two men who have been accused of trying to sell heroin at the Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, New Jersey. The drug crime suspects, 24-year-old Merciful Parks and 28-year-old Jeffrey H. Rincon, were the subject of an investigation by Bergen County authorities after police received information that Parks distributed heroin in Bergen County. A detective reportedly purchased several bricks of heroin from Parks in October and November and then arranged a meeting at the Paramus mall.

Parks reportedly showed up for the meeting with 30 bricks of heroin (around 1,500 bags) that he was supposed to sell to the undercover police officer in an illegal drug deal. Police arrested Parks in the parking lot and then found Rincon in the same car with the narcotics. Officers allegedly seized heroin valued at $10,000.

Paterson Men Face Drug Distribution Charges in Bergen County

Both Parks and Rincon are from Paterson in Passaic County, New Jersey. They have been charged with drug distribution crimes in Bergen County and would face severe penalties if ultimately convicted at trial in Bergen County Superior Court.

The criminal charges against Parks include possession with the intent to distribute heroin, distribution of heroin, and simple possession of marijuana. The marijuana possession charge is a disorderly persons offense, so it does not carry significant penalties. However, the heroin distribution charges are considered felonies and can result in serious prison time.

Rincon has been charged with possession with the intent to distribute heroin. A conviction on these very serious charges would likely lead to time behind bars in New Jersey State Prison. One way that Parks or Rincon could potentially avoid prison would be to reach a plea deal with the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office and testify at trial against the other suspect.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Aggressive Paramus Criminal Attorney Travis Tormey About Your Drug Crime Charges

If you’ve been charged with heroin distribution, marijuana possession, or any other drug crime in Paramus, NJ, you need to talk to a qualified criminal defense attorney. The experienced criminal lawyers at the Tormey Law Firm represent clients facing charges throughout Bergen County, New Jersey. Contact us immediately to schedule a free consultation and start your defense.

Jersey City Man Arrested for Allegedly Recording Public Park Restroom in Lyndhurst, NJ

Posted in Sex Crimes

Police Arrest Man Accused of Recording Public Bathroom in Lyndhurst, New Jersey

Lyndhurst Child Pornography SuspectPolice in Lyndhurst, NJ recently arrested a man accused of trying to record someone in a public park restroom. The suspect, 38-year-old Raul Rodriguez, is from Jersey City and works as a grocery store clerk. Rodriguez reportedly went to Riverside County Park in Lyndhurst, walked into the restroom, and used his cell phone to record someone using the restroom. The Lyndhurst Police Department got a 911 call to report suspicious activity at the public park and sent police officers to the area. Lyndhurst cops were joined by officers with the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office as they investigated the situation.

Police soon found Rodriguez at the Lyndhurst park. Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office detectives then arrived at the scene to assist with the investigation. According to authorities, the investigation “revealed that Rodriguez used the camera on a smartphone to record and view an area of the men’s bathroom.” Rodriguez was placed under arrest and now faces charges for invasion of privacy.

New Jersey Child Pornography Charges and Penalties

The Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office stated that detectives found images of child pornography on Rodriguez’s cell phone. Bergen County Prosecutor Gurbir S. Grewal issued a statement indicating that Rodriguez’s phone had “sexually explicit images and/or videos of prepubescent children.” As a result of the investigation, Rodriguez was charged with possession of child pornography.

Possession of child pornography in New Jersey is a sex crime listed in the NJ Criminal Code and carries severe penalties. It is illegal for a person to knowingly receive, distribute, download, upload, promote, or traffic images or videos of minors having sex. N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b(5)(b) stipulates that anyone found possessing films, photos, or computer files that depict a child engaged in prohibited sexual acts can be charged with a fourth degree felony. Additionally, prosecutors in Bergen County, NJ tend to aggressively prosecute child pornography cases because these crimes jeopardize the safety and welfare of children. An adult who is ultimately convicted of possessing child pornography in Bergen County Superior Court can potentially be sentenced to 18 months in NJ State Prison and fined $10,000.

Contact the Tormey Law Firm to Discuss Your Bergen County Sex Offense Charges

If you face criminal charges for possession of child pornography in New Jersey, you should talk to a qualified criminal defense lawyer. The experienced Bergen County criminal attorneys with the Tormey Law Firm aggressively defend clients against sex offense charges in NJ. Prior to starting the Tormey Law Firm, Travis J. Tormey worked closely with the sex crime unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Contact Attorney Tormey anytime to discuss your case.

Dumont, NJ Man Arrested in Central Jersey Drug Busts

Posted in Drug Crimes

NJ Law Enforcement Makes Several Arrests in Investigation of Alleged Drug Trafficking Network in Middlesex County

Bergen County Drug Trafficking ChargesAuthorities arrested 20 people, including a Bergen County man, who were allegedly involved in a drug trafficking network operated out of Central Jersey. Police made the arrests at the conclusion of a five-month-long investigation that included the NJ State Police, the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office, the U.S. Postal Inspector, and various police departments in New Jersey. Detectives gathered evidence and ultimately arrested the suspects for allegedly playing roles in a drug distribution network that moved cocaine, heroin, marijuana, methamphetamine, and prescription drugs like oxycodone, roxycodone, suboxone, and morphine in Central Jersey, including Middlesex County and Somerset County.

The police investigation was called Operation Bird Cage and ended when detectives got search warrants for spots in Bergen County, Middlesex County, and Somerset County, NJ. The subsequent drug raids allegedly turned up more than one kilogram of cocaine, more than 2,000 bags filled with heroin, around one pound of marijuana, an unspecified quantity of methamphetamine, around 300 Oxycodone pills, six Roxycodone pills, nearly 250 Suboxone pills, just under 50 morphine pills, 15 ecstasy pills, almost 300 unidentified pills, and a hydraulic kilo-press. The seized drugs reportedly have a street resale value of approximately $370K.

Law enforcement also seized nine motor vehicles during the NJ drug raids. If prosecutors in the case are able to prove that the cars were used as part of illegal drug activity, the State might be allowed to keep the seized property under the New Jersey civil forfeiture law. The State might also be able to keep $98K in cash that was reportedly seized in the drug busts.

The police departments and law enforcement agencies that assisted with the drug raids included Hillsborough police, South Bound Brook police, Dunellen police, the Bound Brook K-9 unit, the Bergen County SWAT team, SWAT teams in Middlesex County and Somerset County, and the US Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Group 3.

Drug Distribution Charges for Dumont Man

One suspect who was arrested by police in the Central Jersey drug trafficking case is a resident of Dumont in Bergen County, NJ. Leon Blue, Jr. is a 52-year-old man who lives in Dumont. He has been charged with second degree crimes (promoting organized street crime, possession with intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance (CDS), and conspiracy) and third degree crimes (possession of a CDS and financial facilitation of criminal activity). As a result, Blue could face severe penalties that include significant prison time if he is ultimately convicted.

Among the other individuals arrested by police as part of Operation Bird Cage were Dunellen man Robert Cardinal, Dunellen woman Georgiann Cardinal, Hillsborough man Timothy “TJ” Jenkins, and South Bound Brook man Michael “Low Rider Mike” Wayne. Cardinal faces criminal charges for first degree leader of a narcotics trafficking network, while the other suspects face charges for lesser crimes.

Gun Trafficking Charges for Drug Crime Suspects in Middlesex County

The illegal drug distribution network allegedly trafficked guns as well as narcotics in Middlesex County and Somerset County, New Jersey. While executing the drug raids, police officers allegedly seized 19 weapons: handguns, rifles, shotguns, and assault weapons.

The weapons seizures led to additional criminal charges for the suspects. For instance, Robert Cardinal faces criminal weapons charges for unlawful transfer or sale of an assault firearm. If Cardinal is convicted on these third degree felony charges, he would be subject to a sentence of 3-5 years in state prison. Michael Wayne, one of the other suspects arrested by police, faces even more severe penalties because his charges for unlawful possession of an assault firearm are classified as a second degree felony.

Contact an Experienced Bergen County Criminal Lawyer About Your Drug Distribution Charges

The Tormey Law Firm is a criminal defense team in Bergen County that helps clients fight drug crime charges throughout New Jersey. If you have been charged with cocaine possession, heroin distribution, marijuana distribution, or other any drug offense in NJ, we are prepared to defend you and help you avoid the most severe penalties. Contact us anytime to schedule a free initial consultation.

Englewood Police Arrest Man Who Allegedly Sexually Assaulted 83-Year-Old Woman Walking to Church

Posted in Sex Crimes

Englewood Man Accused of Attempted Sexual Assault of Dumont Woman

Sex Crime Charges in Englewood NJA man from Englewood, NJ man was arrested and charged with sexual assault after reportedly stalking and attacking a Dumont, NJ woman on her way to church for early morning service. The suspect, 23-year-old Margarito Hernandez-Valladeres (who also goes by Jose Ramirez, Jr.), resides in Englewood, New Jersey and is employed as a laborer. According to Bergen County prosecutors, Hernandez-Valladeres stalked the 83-year-old victim while she headed to the Korean Community Church on Tenafly Road in Englewood, New Jersey on July 28, 2017. When the victim got to the rear parking lot of the church, Hernandez-Valladeres reportedly attacked her and threw her onto the ground.

Englewood police said that the victim was able to stop her attacker by screaming and getting the attention of a passing motorist. The attacker stopped and then walked away when the vehicle pulled over. The elderly victim avoided serious injury, but she still required medical attention for minor injuries sustained in the attack.

Police Still Investigating Sex Offense in Englewood, New Jersey

Detectives with both the Englewood City Police Department and the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office investigated the alleged sex offense, with investigators talking to Englewood, NJ residents and getting surveillance video footage that showed the sexual assault.

It took a long time before detectives caught a break in the investigation: an anonymous tipster notified law enforcement officials and identified Hernandez-Valladeres as the suspect. According to authorities, Hernandez-Valladeres confessed to the crime during an interview at the Englewood police station. He was then placed under arrest and moved to the Bergen County Jail in Hackensack, NJ.

Hernandez-Valladeres has been charged with many crimes in connection with the Englewood, NJ attack: second degree attempted sexual assault, third degree criminal restraint, and fourth degree criminal sexual contact. If Hernandez-Valladeres reaches a plea deal with prosecutors, or if the charges are dropped, he would likely avoid trial in Bergen County Superior Court. However, if the case goes to trial, Hernandez-Valladeres would face severe penalties that include years behind bars in state prison.

Talk to an Experienced Sex Crime Attorney in Bergen County, NJ

The Tormey Law Firm is a New Jersey criminal defense firm that helps clients fight sexual offense charges in Bergen County, NJ. If you or a loved one has been charged with a sex crime in NJ, our experienced criminal defense attorneys can defend you against the charges. Call us at 201-556-1570 or fill out the online form to schedule a free initial consultation.

Palisades Park Cop Accused of Possessing Cocaine & Marijuana in Fort Lee, NJ

Posted in Drug Crimes

Fort Lee Police Arrest Palisades Park Cop Who Allegedly Had Large Stash of Illegal Narcotics

Palisades Park Cop Accused of Drug CrimesA Palisades Park police officer was arrested after Fort Lee detectives allegedly found him in possession of illegal drugs at his house in Fort Lee. The suspect, Richard J. Giacobone, is a 39-year-old man with a home on Summit Avenue in Fort Lee. He is employed as a police officer with the Palisades Park Police Department. Giacobone was placed under arrest after authorities searched his residence and allegedly found drugs and prohibited weapons. Palisades Park police alerted Fort Lee police after learning that Giacobone may have been “under the influence of illegal narcotics.” The Fort Lee Police Department, the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Task Force, and the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Confidential Investigations Unit investigated and got a search warrant for Giacobone’s home in Fort Lee, NJ. A search of the home reportedly turned up cocaine, marijuana, and anabolic steroids, in addition to large capacity ammunition magazines.

Giacobone was placed under arrest on the same day as the search of his Fort Lee residence. He was processed at Fort Lee police headquarters and then taken to the Bergen County Jail in Hackensack, New Jersey. Next month, Giacobone will have to appear in Bergen County Central Judicial Processing Court. If the case eventually proceeds to trial, Giacobone would likely have to answer the drug offense charges and the criminal weapons charges in Bergen County Superior Court.

Drug Crime Penalties in Bergen County, New Jersey

The possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) is serious criminal offense and carries significant penalties. Law enforcement in Bergen County has been targeting drug possession crimes in recent years because the county, much like New Jersey and the rest of the U.S., has been plagued by a drug abuse epidemic. Giacobone has been charged with possession of cocaine, possession of marijuana, and possession of anabolic steroids. If convicted on the most serious charges of cocaine possession, Giacobone could potentially be sentenced to 3-5 years in state prison. That’s because cocaine possession is classified as a third degree felony in the NJ Criminal Code.

Giacobone also faces criminal charges for weapons offenses, which could result in severe penalties. Although Giacobone is a police officers, it was still against the law for him to possess large capacity ammunition magazines because such devices are banned by NJ law.

Beyond the legal consequences of a criminal conviction, Giacobone could also find that his employment with the Palisades Park Police Department is in jeopardy. That’s because he would probably lose his job if convicted of a felony in New Jersey. Before Giacobone started to work for the Palisades Park police force, he was employed as an officer with the New Milford Police Department. He reportedly resigned in 2015 and then started work in Palisades Park, NJ.

Free Consultation with Experienced Fort Lee Drug Crime Lawyer

If you have been charged with cocaine possession in Fort Lee, NJ, it is imperative that you talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney and start building a strong defense against the charges. The skilled attorneys at the Tormey Law Firm have successfully defended countless clients against drug offense charges in Bergen County, NJ. Contact us today to explore your legal options.

Paramus Man Admitted to Psychiatric Hospital 22 Times Before Allegedly Killing Mother

Posted in Homicide

Paramus, NJ Man Arrested After He Allegedly Murdered Mom with Boxcutter

Paramus Murder ChargesA recent case in which a Paramus man allegedly murdered his mother with a boxcutter has prompted calls for stricter guidelines concerning mental health evaluations and treatment in New Jersey. The domestic violence homicide suspect is 30-year-old Jesus Lopez, who lived with his mother, 56-year-old Susana Lopez, at a home located on Spring Valley Road in Paramus, NJ. According to authorities, Lopez used a boxcutter knife as a weapon to slit his mom’s throat during a violent encounter. Afterwards, Lopez allegedly left his mother’s body in the home’s garage for almost two weeks while it decomposed.

On October 24, police discovered the victim’s body inside the house. The body was found by Paramus cops who were dispatched to the residence to conduct a welfare check. A social worker at Bridgeway Rehabilitation Services in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ contacted law enforcement and requested the welfare check because she grew concerned after not seeing Lopez for more than a week. One of the responding police officers saw several flies inside the house and smelled a strong odor coming from the garage. Both Paramus police officers then entered the house and reportedly came across Lopez, who was in a catatonic state as he sat alone in a chair and stared at a wall. According to Bergen County prosecutors, Lopez spoke to the officers and said, “I killed my mother 13 days ago.” Lopez was subsequently arrested and charged with first degree murder. He is currently being held without bail at the Bergen County Jail in Hackensack, NJ.

NJ Mental Illness & Violent Crimes

Lopez reportedly has been involved in numerous domestic violence incidents in the past. Law enforcement officials indicated that Paramus police had been called to Lopez’s Paramus residence at least 14 times since June 1, 2015. Police recently released a 911 recording from one of those incidents. On the emergency call, Lopez’s mother tells a police dispatcher that her son was threatening to physically harm her. Another 911 recording released by Paramus police indicated that Lopez’s mother felt “anxious and scared” because her son was becoming “aggressive and scary.”

The many 911 emergency calls, and subsequent police visits to the Lopez residence, resulted in Lopez being admitted 22 times to the Bergen Regional Medical Center for mental health issues. The psychiatric hospital visits were mandatory because Paramus police believed that Lopez’s violent actions presented an imminent threat to his mother’s safety.

Given how tragically events unfolded in the aftermath of those psychiatric hospital stays, some observers are now asking: Why was Lopez allowed to leave psychiatric care and return home before his mental health issues and propensity for violence could be dealt with? A source who spoke to the media has questioned the effectiveness of the New Jersey legal system for allowing both Lopez and his mom to “fall through the cracks.” The reality is that mental illness is a serious problem in New Jersey and throughout the US, with authorities often struggling to help those individuals most in need of mental health evaluations.

The problem for mental health professionals was summed up by Joe Masciandaro, president and CEO of CarePlus in Paramus. According to Masciandaro, mental health facilities in New Jersey are required to release patients after a stay of 72 hours – unless doctors can clearly show that the patient poses a threat of violence to themselves or to others. Unfortunately, said Masciandaro, 72 hours just isn’t enough time for doctors to get a good handle on the patient’s mental health problems. This means that patients like Lopez are typically released after just 72 hours – sometimes with tragic results.

Free Consultation with Paramus Criminal Defense Attorney Who Defends Clients Against Violent Crimes

Travis Tormey is an experienced Paramus criminal defense lawyer who has successfully represented clients facing violent crime charges and domestic violence charges in New Jersey, including Bergen County, NJ. If you or a loved one has been placed under arrest and charged with a violent crime, such as murder, aggravated assault, or terroristic threats, you should contact the Tormey Law Firm immediately to schedule a free consultation.

Victim in Fort Lee Hit & Run Accident Dies, Suspect Charged with Manslaughter

Posted in Traffic Violations

Fort Lee Traffic Ticket AttorneyAn Elmwood Park man has been charged with vehicular manslaughter in connection with a fatal car accident in Fort Lee, NJ.

The suspect is a 41-year-old resident of Elmwood Park in Bergen County, NJ. According to authorities, he was at fault in an auto accident at the intersection of Lemoine Avenue and Bridge Plaza North in Fort Lee, New Jersey.

The suspect was reportedly driving his vehicle through the intersection shortly before 10:00 a.m. when he struck another car and then struck a pedestrian.

Afterwards, the suspect allegedly drove off without stopping. Fort Lee, NJ police eventually identified the suspect and arrested him.

Bergen County prosecutors initially filed third degree charges against the suspect for leaving the scene of an accident with bodily injury. However, prosecutors elevated the charges to second degree leaving the scene of an accident of a fatal motor vehicle collision after the victim died due to her accident-related injuries.

To learn more about this case, view the NJ.com article, “Charges Upgraded in Hit-and-Run After Pedestrian Dies.”

Two Women Charged with Robbery of Bank in Garfield, New Jersey

Posted in Theft Offenses

Theft Attorneys in Garfield NJA Passaic, NJ woman and a Connecticut woman accused of robbing a bank in Garfield, New Jersey have been charged with federal crimes.

The robbery suspects are a 23-year-old woman from Passaic NJ and a 19-year-old woman from New Haven, CT. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the suspects walked into the Spencer Savings Bank in Garfield, NJ and posed as customers.

After asked a teller about opening a checking account, the suspects allegedly showed a handgun and threatened to shoot the worker unless she gave them cash. One of the suspects also allegedly stood guard over the bank manager during the theft crime.

After getting cash, the suspects reportedly ran out of the building and fled the scene.

Two weeks after the Garfield, NJ bank robbery, the suspects reportedly tried to rob a second bank in Teaneck, NJ. Police officers apprehended the women shortly after the robbery.

Now the suspects face federal robbery charges. If they are ultimately convicted on the charges, they could be sentenced to 20 years in federal prison.

To learn more about this case, view the NJ.com article, “2 Women Charged in Garfield, Teaneck Robberies.”

Fair Lawn, NJ Police Investigate Stabbing of Three Women

Posted in Domestic Violence

Fair Lawn Assault AttorneysFair Lawn, NJ law enforcement is investigating a domestic violence assault incident at a residence located in Fair Lawn, New Jersey.

The violent incident happened at around 2:30 a.m. The Fair Lawn Police Department got a 911 call about three women being attacked with a knife at the home.

When Fair Lawn police officers got to the scene, they found three women suffering from stabbing wounds. The victims were transported to an area hospital to receive urgent medical treatment for their injuries.

Fair Lawn, NJ detectives are currently investigating the attack. At this time, police have not released a whole lot of information about the violent crime because authorities have classified it as a domestic violence offense.

Depending on the outcome of the police investigation, the perpetrator could potentially face very serious criminal charges for aggravated assault and weapons offenses.

Additionally, the suspect would likely be subject to a temporary restraining order (TRO) because it was reportedly an act of domestic violence.

To learn more about this case, go to the NJ.com article, “3 Females Stabbed in Domestic Violence Incident, Police Say.”