Life Sentence Reduced to 2-Year Probation!

freedom-clipart-5Client was charged with aggravated assault and witness tampering, both in the first degree. Both charges carried 10- to 20-year sentences, which could have run consecutively and amounted to a life sentence. The pre-trial plea offer was more than ten years. Client maintained his innocence. This was not surprising; the complaining witness had a history of making false allegations against client, including in a case in which the jury acquitted client, having not believed the complaining witness. Prior to trial, I filed motions to dismiss the witness tampering (because the underlying case had been acquitted) and to introduce the witness’s prior inconsistent accusations. The plea offer was changed to two-year probation for a call client made to the complaining witness while a no-contact order was in place. Client was able to avoid jail time and continue working.  Continue reading

Minimum Sentence for Manslaughter Conviction

Client was charged with manslaughter after the man she shared an apartment with was found dead. Client faced up to ten years in State prison. Client maintained that the incident was initiated by the decedent. I hired an expert to review the autopsy, which confirmed client’s account and also found inconsistencies in the medical examiner’s initial report. Motions were filed to this effect, and the State’s plea offer was lowered to the lowest end of the sentencing range: five years.  Continue reading

Bail lowered from 150K to 7.5K in case of overzealous prosecution

A client  was charged with first degree Witness Tampering for  allegedly posting his criminal case’s discovery to his personal Facebook. He had a bail of $150,000 cash only. However, first degree Witness Tampering requires force or threat of force. Without force or threat of force, it is a third degree charge. The client’s posts had no threats of force. A lengthy bail motion brought this to the judge’s attention, who agreed the charge should not be first degree. Bail was  significantly lowered to $7,500 with a 10% cash option.

It still remains to be determined if simply posting your case’s discovery to your personal Facebook is even third degree Witness Tampering, or even a crime at all. The discovery allegedly shared was the same discovery the prosecutor will share publicly at trial in open court. This is little more than overzealous prosecution.  You can ready more from the Jersey Journal here.

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Distribution Charges Dismissed Before Trial

Case-Dismissed-headClient was charged with distributing drugs to an undercover police officer.  His plea offer included state prison.  Mr. Hudnut investigated several alibi witnesses who stated that the client was in New York during the time of the alleged sale.  No arrest had been made at the scene of the alleged sale and the identification procedure used by the police was poorly administrated.  Upon presentation of the client’s alibi witnesses and a sound legal argument highlighting the deficiencies of the investigating police’s identification procedure, the charges were dismissed the day before jury selection was scheduled to begin.  Continue reading

Not Guilty Trial Verdict!

not guilty 2A client was charged with possessing 14 vials of cocaine with the intent to sell them.  They were found in the lobby of an apartment building that the client was observed by police entering and existing with other individuals in between stretches of time standing on a nearby street corner.  The State alleged that the client did not live in this building.  The client’s plea offer was five years in New Jersey state prison with three-year parole ineligibility.  If convicted, he faced upward of ten years in state prison with five-year parole ineligibility.   Continue reading

A Second Chance for Client with 4 Distribution Cases

4T9znebTEA client had four open files for distributing drugs and/or possessing drugs with the intent to sell them.  His plea offer was seven years in a state prison and, if convicted at trial, his aggregate sentence for all four files would be well over 30 years in prison.  Client maintained he sold to support his own drug habit, but was denied special probation Drug Court because he had failed out of same ten years ago.  Continue reading

Not Guilty Trial Verdict!

not guilty 2Client was charged with possession of illegal drugs with the intent to distribute when three police officers alleged to have seen him run from them and toss the drugs on the ground.  Over thirty vials of cocaine and heroine were recorded.  Client – who was being treated with kidney dialysis three times a week – had a plea offer was five years in New Jersey State Prison and maintained his innocence.   Continue reading

Attorney Hudnut Presents at Statewide Public Defender Training


Yesterday I had the pleasure of presenting at the New Jersey Office of the Public Defender’s statewide in-house Continuing Legal Education training on “Guns and the Law: Graves Act Nuances and Using the Escape Valve to Probation.”

I spoke about my experience securing a probationary sentence after trial for a client convicted of second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon – a first in Hudson County history, which was recently upheld on appeal.  Read more about the trial here.   A hand out of my presentation can be found here: Graves Act waiver pinball.

Shoplifting Ring Leader Charges Downgraded

1344480375275080757Justice.svg.medClient was charged with being the ring leader of a shoplifting scheme that stole over $100,000 from various departments stores New Jersey and New York.  Client was related to the shoplifters, and her car was driven by some of the shoplifters, but no evidence put client in the stores at the time of the thefts or profiting from same.  Client was an employed bus driver with no criminal record.  Her plea offer was over five years in New Jersey State Prison.

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Drug Production Facility Charges Dropped

Charges-Dismissed1Client was charged with first degree drug production facility charges.  The plea offer was near ten years in New Jersey State Prison.  However, I filed a successful challenge to the warrantless search that led police inside the home that the client allegedly lived in (although there was no physical evidence that client lived in or operated at this location).  Accordingly, all charges against the client were dismissed.   Continue reading

Burglary Charges Accepted into Diversionary Program

4T9znebTEClient was charged with breaking into a home and stealing home electronics.  Client was a college student and had no prior criminal felony contact.  The nature of client’s charged kept him out of Pre-Trial Intervention, the diversionary program he would normally be eligible for as a first-time offender.  His plea offer was a plea to a felony with probation, but this would have affected his college financial aid and ability to find work after graduation. Continue reading

Not Guilty Verdict

not guilty 2Client was charged with second degree possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute.  He was a passenger in a car that was pulled over for speeding before cocaine was found in the backseat within client’s reach.  Client’s plea offer was five years in state prison and he faced up to ten years if found guilty at trial.  However, he was found not guilty of  all charges by a jury. Continue reading

First Degree Armed Robbery Charges Dismissed

Case-Dismissed-headClient was charged in state court with first degree armed robbery for the alleged forceful theft of a local restaurant owner.  The plea offer was fifteen years in state prison and, if convicted at trial, the maximum sentence was twenty years in state prison.   However, a review of the state’s proof indicated that the alleged victim was a defendant in a federal prosecution and client had already plead guilty to robbing this victim and agreed to cooperate in any federal prosecution against her.  A motion to dismiss the state charges on the grounds of double jeopardy was granted and the first degree armed robbery charges were dropped.  Continue reading