Testilying – Swearing to tell a lie
Changing stories told on the stand after convictions is so common, court watchers have a name for it. The challenge is what to believe, and when.
Excerpt from Philadelphia Inquirer/Philly.com article by Emilie Lounsberry & Michaelle Bond
It was a giant step for Deirdre Jones to take the witness stand that day in 2012. She had returned to a Philadelphia courtroom to testify about a 1991 murder near Rittenhouse Square. Her first time on the stand, she said, haunted her for almost two decades.
Jones had been the star witness in the 1993 trial of Chester Hollman III, charged with killing a University of Pennsylvania student. Hollman, a 21-year-old with no criminal history, had been picked up minutes after the murder and blocks from the scene.
Detectives found no physical evidence tying him to the crime. So Jones’ testimony — that she had been riding with Hollman and another man in an SUV when they got out and she heard a gunshot — almost certainly cemented his conviction and life prison sentence.
But when Hollman’s appeals lawyers called her back to the witness stand 19 years later, Jones offered a different account.
Choking up, Jones swore she had lied at trial, that she and Hollman had been driving alone that night and he had no role in the killing of the victim, Tae-Jung Ho. Jones said detectives coerced her into implicating Hollman.
Helping to lock him up, she said, stoked years of depression.
“I just thought it was time for me to come out and to tell the truth,” Jones, then a 40-year-old hospital worker, testified in January 2012. “Maybe some of my depression would go away.”
“I tried 3 murder cases in the last year, and witness credibility played a huge role in the hung juries reached in all of them. All 3 cases have since plead to lesser charges and much lower sentences than the 30 minimum for Murder, including 6 and 4 years recently.”
– NJ Criminal Defense Attorney Tim Farrow
The case illustrates a stark reality of the criminal justice system: People lie. They lie to stay out of jail, to get out of jail, to curry favor with cops. And police sometimes lie, too. It’s so common, so understood within the court system, that regulars have a name for it: Testilying — when officers lie to buttress a weak case, or when a defendant lies in hopes of winning an acquittal.
Virginia Is for Felonies? Petty Theft Law From 1980s Sticks
Originally by Alanna Durkin Richer via AP
“Stealing a $230 pair of eyeglasses would land you a misdemeanor conviction in most states. Shoplifting the same item in Virginia could make you a felon for life.
To keep pace with inflation, at least 30 states have raised the dollar minimum for felony charges in the last two decades. Three dozen have a threshold of $1,000 or more, and Wisconsin and Texas won’t charge thefts of less than $2,500 as felonies, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Virginia, however, has kept its felony bar at $200 since 1980, when that money had the same buying power as nearly $600 does today. Virginia is tied with New Jersey for having the nation’s lowest felony threshold.”
NJ is one of the only other states that charges a felony for thefts and shopliftings starting at $200. – Criminal Law Attorney Tim Farrow
How to Handle a Police Traffic Stop
This is a straightforward and accurate video describing how to react if you are pulled over by the police during a traffic stop. Knowing what your rights are and what the law is regarding traffic stops and traffic violations is crucial to avoiding legal pitfalls.
Rossen Reports: What are your rights during a traffic stop?
With traffic stops making headlines across the country, TODAY national investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen is in Rochester, New York to demonstrate what you are required to do when the police pull you over, and whether you have the right to record the incident and to refuse to have your car searched.
Congratulations to Dash Farrow, LLP partner Tim Farrow for being named a 2016 Top Attorney by SJ Magazine!
Photo Credit “David Michael Howarth Photography”
From South Jersey Magazine:
“Every year, we ask SJ attorneys to tell us which of their peers have made an impressive and lasting mark in the legal field. They’re the counselors who are committed to upholding both the spirit and letter of the law. Our Top Attorney list showcases those successful professionals who deserve special recognition.”
About Moorestown, NJ Law firm Dash Farrow, LLP:
Since founding the firm in 2008, Dash and Farrow have provided expert legal advice to businesses and individuals throughout the region in areas such as real estate, litigation, corporate, criminal defense, and DUI.
With experience in a variety of legal issues, including high-profile cases receiving national attention, Ben is often called upon to share his legal knowledge of real estate, corporate transactions, and litigation matters with business, trade and professional groups.
Before devoting his career to criminal defense more than 10 years ago, Tim worked on the other side of the courtroom – first as a law clerk in Camden County Superior Court for a criminal judge, then as an assistant prosecutor in Burlington County. Today, Tim provides criminal defense at all levels, including against driving-related charges, disorderly persons offenses and indictable (felony) offenses. Tim was recognized as a top South Jersey juvenile attorney by SJ Magazine this year!
Murder Trial Ends in Mistrial
After a month-long trial and five (5) days of jury deliberations in Camden County Superior Court, the Court yesterday declared a mistrial based upon the jury’s failure to reach a unanimous verdict. Timothy Farrow’s client faces up to a Life Imprisonment, and a retrial has now been scheduled for April 17, 2017. “A Not Guilty Verdict in a Murder trial is never an easy decision for a jury to make, so I am pleased that at least some of the jurors were convinced enough to hold their ground. This is the second Hung Jury/Mistrial and my client has been in jail for nearly five (5) years, so a Motion to Dismiss will be filed prior to a third retrial.”
State Offers Time-Served to Avoid Retrial of Murder
Timothy Farrow’s client was scheduled to start a second trial today on his charge of Murder in Camden County Superior Court. The first trial ended last June in a Mistrial, based upon the jury’s failure to reach an unanimous verdict. Based upon the mistrial and arguments and proof issues raised by Farrow in the first trial, the State greatly reduced its plea offer. Although the Murder charge carried up to Life Imprisonment, Farrow’s client accepted an offer of four years in State Prison, and based upon his credit for time-served, he is scheduled to be released next month on his sentencing date.
Tim Farrow, of Dash Farrow, LLP, is an experienced criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor who handles criminal defense matters of any kind. When you need experienced, focused, and responsive legal help, call Dash Farrow, LLP at 856-235-8300 or Contact Us Here. We serve individuals and businesses throughout Burlington and Camden County, and all of South Jersey.
N.J. Rethinks Bail – Who Gets Out, Who Stays Jailed
Originally by Maddie Hanna via Trenton Bureau
“As of Sunday, suspects arrested in New Jersey will no longer face the prospect of being stuck in jail solely because they can’t make bail.
But some accused offenders will no longer have any chance of being released before trial, under sweeping changes now in place throughout the state.
The bail-reform package that Gov. Christie and state lawmakers partnered to pass in 2014 – a portion of which voters approved with a ballot question that year – is finally in effect, though concerns about its costs haven’t been resolved.
Instead of getting cash bail set by judges, defendants now will be subject to an analytic tool assessing their criminal histories that will help determine whether they should be released or jailed pretrial. Prosecutors will have to argue if they want a defendant to be held beyond an initial commitment.”
The Bail Reform Act is a major change to the NJ Criminal Justice System. The good news is that a huge number of defendants who could not afford to post bail pending trial under the old system now are being released pending trial without having to post bail. The bad news is that all defendants arrested must now be detained in County Jail for up to 48 hours before a Judge determines if they can be released. Previously, a defendant who could afford bail could post it immediately at the police station and never set foot into the police station. Detention for any period in County Jail is very traumatic, so that is a huge shock to the system for a lot of first-time offenders. It is crucial therefore that family or friends of any person arrested contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately to navigate this brand-new playing field. – Criminal Law Attorney Tim Farrow