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Westfield NJ Criminal Defense Law Blog

What is money laundering, and is it a serious crime?

You have probably heard or read about someone facing criminal charges following a federal investigation into money laundering. Don’t be fooled into believing that it is not a serious criminal offense just by the fact that it is rarely associated with violence and is referred to as a white collar crime.

Not only can you face long prison sentences and heft fines if convicted, but each transaction can be charged by prosecutors as a separate criminal offense for which a court may impose penalties. Federal prosecutors are encouraged in their training manual to charge you separately for each transaction. 

What is Megan’s Law?

Megan’s Law is a federal law is named after a 7-year-old New Jersey girl named Megan Kanka, who was raped and murdered by a registered sex offender in 1994. The offender moved across the street from Megan’s family, but they did not know that he was a convicted child molester. Megan’s Law, which was enacted in 1996, requires states to make information about registered sex offenders available to the public.

Under Megan’s Law, all states must have a sex offender registry and some form of community notification. In New Jersey, the sex offender registry is available on the Internet so that the public can access the information. 

How can the government seize my property without charging me?

There have been stories in the news recently about how the government – at both the New Jersey and federal levels – has been using asset forfeiture as a means of funding law enforcement activities. While this may not come as a surprise in cases where criminal defendants have been convicted of crimes and the assets seized represented their ill-gotten gains, the reality is that sometimes people are having their property taken away from them without a warrant requirement or even being charged with anything.

At the federal level, the government can seize property using a variety of means. It can do so administratively; it can do so through the criminal justice system; and it can do so in civil court actions. Civil asset forfeitures can be particularly pernicious, with more than $4 billion of property assets seized nationally in one year alone, and more than $2 billion in cash being seized from individuals who were never charged with a crime.

New type of cybercrime can cause injury or death through hacking

Most alleged Internet crimes are based on some form of financial fraud or related to a sex or pornography charge or stalking. Hacking can cause many types of angst, embarrassment and inconvenience to its targets. But rarely do you hear of someone dying as a result of Internet hacking.

A new type of Internet crime is the focus of an investigation by the Federal Drug Administration. “Medjacking” refers to a hacker’s ability to interfere with the remote delivery of medication through a medical device that is controlled through a computer. The possibility of such a crime occurring is so real that even the Department of Homeland Security is involved.

Due process and the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

This post continues our series examining the provisions of the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution in connection to your rights to due process under federal and New Jersey law when you are accused of a crime. Thus far we have considered the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments to the Constitution; here, we will look at the Eighth Amendment.

The Eighth Amendment is one of the shortest in the Constitution, comprising a single sentence, “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

Cyber-bullying is a crime: what you need to know

Cyber-bullying is a form a bullying that takes place using electronic technology, such through a computer or cell phone. Most commonly, the bullying occurs on social media websites like Facebook, by e-emails, or over text messages. Recently, cyber-bullying became a crime in the state of New Jersey.

Many of us have made comments online that we later regret. So how do you know if you committed the crime of cyber-bullying? 

Federal investigation reveals threat posed by computer hacking

The extent to which Internet crime has evolved was on evident in an announcement by federal prosecutors in New Jersey of the indictment of nine people. According to the indictments, the accused hacked into news service databases to intercept press releases before their publication dates.

The hackers used the information gathered about businesses, including mergers and acquisitions, in this international computer crime. The federal investigation claims that the accused used the information to make stock trades before the general public got wind of the information. The advantage gained in this cyber-crime allowed the nine to amass more than $30 million before the scheme was discovered and shut down.

What are the penalties for embezzlement?

Embezzlement is when a person in a position of trust misappropriates assets entrusted to him or her. The New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice does not specifically use the term embezzlement. Rather, embezzlement is defined as theft by failure to make required disposition of property received.  

If you have been accused of embezzlement, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Embezzlement is a very serious crime, and an attorney can help you understand your rights and options.

Due process and the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

The "right to a speedy trial" is grounded in the Sixth Amendment. But this amendment provides much more than a requirement that the government not unduly delay a criminal trial. Below we break down the protections that this important part of the Bill of Rights includes.

  • The right to a speedy and public trial. In undemocratic legal systems courts are often used as a tool of political oppression. Holding a person in custody indefinitely "pending trial" is one way that the government can effectively imprison a person without ever having a trial. The Sixth Amendment ensures that in New Jersey and elsewhere in the United States these forms of judicial abuse are proscribed.

Due process: the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

This post is the third in our series covering due process in criminal law actions. In the first two posts we addressed the concept of due process rights generally, and the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in particular. In this post we will examine the Fifth Amendment.

Although it is only a single paragraph long, this amendment includes a considerable array of protections for criminal defendants in New Jersey, which are outlined below.