Blairstown, NJ Man Accused of Molesting Teens at Budd Lake Bagel Shop

Mount Olive Sex Crime AttorneyA man who runs a bagel shop located in Mount Olive, NJ faces criminal charges for allegedly molesting three boys who were employed at the restaurant. The suspect is Bajram Leka, a 58-year-old from Blairstown in Warren County, NJ. Leka owns Adams Hot Bagels and Grill, a restaurant on Route 46 in the Budd Lake part of Mount Olive Township. According to police, Leka “inappropriately” touched the three victims while supervising them at the restaurant and grill. The victims’ identities have not been revealed by authorities.

Two of the alleged victims initially contacted law enforcement to report that Leka had committed the sex offenses. Mount Olive Township police detectives investigated the sex crime allegations and found a third victim. At the conclusion of the investigation, a warrant was issued for Leka’s arrest. The Budd Lake bagel restaurant owner then turned himself in to Mount Olive police. He was processed at police headquarters and moved to the Morris County Correctional Facility in Morristown, NJ.

Severe Penalties for Criminal Sexual Contact in Morris County, New Jersey

Leka faces criminal charges for three counts of criminal sexual contact. This is felony-level offense with severe penalties that include prison time, a criminal record, and a requirement to register as a sex offender. N.J.S.A. 2C:14-3 stipulates that criminal sexual contact is either a third degree felony or a fourth degree felony, depending on the circumstances of the offense. In this case, Leka has been charged with fourth degree criminal sexual contact. In certain cases when the prosecution can’t bring charges of aggravated sexual assault, the defendant may be charged with criminal sexual contact instead. A conviction in the Budd Lake sex crime case could result in Leka, the defendant, being ordered to serve 18 months in NJ State Prison.

Charged with a Sex Offense? Schedule a Free Consultation with an Experienced Morris County Criminal Attorney

If you’ve been arrested and charged with a sex crime like criminal sexual contact or sexual assault in Morris County, NJ, you need to speak with a qualified criminal lawyer. Travis J. Tormey and the other attorneys at the Tormey Law Firm can help you fight your sex crime charges and avoid the most severe penalties. Contact us now to discuss your options.

Jefferson Township Man Allegedly Assaulted Girlfriend, Resisted Arrest

New Jersey State Trooper ShootingAuthorities have cleared a New Jersey State Police trooper who shot a domestic violence suspect in Jefferson Township last year. The police shooting happened in May 2017. New Jersey State troopers went to a residence on Brady Road in Jefferson Township, NJ after police received a report of an assault. According to officials, the suspect’s girlfriend was found walking along Route 80 with visible injuries to her face. Police determined that the suspect assaulted his girlfriend in a car on Route 80 and then ordered the victim out of the car before driving away.

When NJ State Police troopers went to the Jefferson Township home of the suspect, they found 36-year-old Matthew Gerndt inside the house. Gerndt allegedly charged at police when they entered the home. One of the troopers then shot at Gerndt, striking him one time in the left buttock. Gerndt was then placed under arrest and taken to Morristown Medical Center for medical treatment. Gerndt’s blood was drawn at the hospital, with the blood test reportedly showing that Gerndt had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .29 percent. Although Gerndt’s BAC was significantly higher than the legal limit of .08 percent in NJ, he was not charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) because police could not prove that he was driving a motor vehicle while drunk.

Gerndt was still charged with multiple crimes: domestic violence assault and resisting arrest. Those criminal charges are still pending, so Gerndt would likely face severe penalties if he is convicted in Morris County Superior Court in Morristown, New Jersey.

NJ State Trooper Cleared in Shooting of Domestic Violence Suspect

The New Jersey State trooper who shot Gerndt was investigated by the NJ Attorney General’s Office, which is what happens in all NJ police shootings. That investigation led to the trooper being cleared of wrongdoing in the case. According to officials, the trooper was legally justified in the shooting because Gerndt attempted to assault the troopers when they entered the Jefferson Township house.

Investigators said that the New Jersey State troopers clearly identified themselves as police officers before opening each door inside the residence. The troopers also got authorization from the landlord prior to going inside the home.

Contact an Experienced Jefferson Township Domestic Violence Attorney Today

Travis J. Tormey is a knowledgeable domestic violence lawyer who helps clients in criminal cases and at restraining order hearings in Jefferson Township, NJ. If you have been accused of domestic violence assault or any other crime in Jefferson, NJ, Attorney Tormey is prepared to represent you. Contact Attorney Tormey today to discuss your case.

Mendham Township Cop Claimed That Superiors Ordered Him to Target Young Drivers for Traffic Tickets

Mendham Township Traffic LawyersA police officer with the Mendham Township Police Department has settled a lawsuit that alleged that he got denied job promotions because he refused to issue traffic tickets to younger drivers. The case involved Mendham Township Patrol Officer Robert Wysokowski and highlighted what some believe to be a serious problem among police departments through NJ: police profiling of certain types of young drivers by municipalities who are trying to generate quick cash through traffic tickets.

Wysokowski claimed that Mendham Sergeant Stephen Crawford ordered patrol cops to target young motorists to help the police department meet ticket quotas. According to Wysokowski, Crawford told him to “pull over any car with a group of young drivers.” Additionally, said Wysokowski, Crawford told him and other Mendham Township police officers to be on the lookout for motor vehicles with visible Morris County College parking permits.

Wysokowski reportedly refused to profile young drivers, prompting his bosses to retaliate against him in various ways. For example, claimed Wysokowski, he was denied multiple job promotion opportunities. Moreover, said Wysokowski, his superiors repeatedly gave him low ratings and performance reviews that made it difficult for him to secure pay bonuses.

Civil Lawsuit Over Alleged Traffic Quotas in Mendham Township, NJ

When Wysokowski filed a discrimination complaint and claimed whistleblower status, the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office conducted an internal affairs probe. That probe did not find any evidence of criminal conduct by anyone associated with the Mendham Township Police Department – so no criminal charges were filed in the case.

However, Wysokowski was still able to file a civil lawsuit seeking damages related to alleged employment discrimination. Wysokowski filed the civil suit in Morris County Superior Court and alleged that his bosses told him that targeting younger drivers for traffic violations would be considered “good police work.” The case did not reach trial in court because Wysokowski ultimately settled the lawsuit with Mendham Township for $650,000.

Contact a Mendham Township Traffic Ticket Attorney Today!

Were you cited for a traffic offense in Mendham Township, NJ? Then it may be possible for you to fight the traffic ticket and keep your license clear of points. Skilled Morris County traffic attorney Travis J. Tormey represents clients in municipal courts in Morris County and throughout New Jersey. Contact him now to explore your options.

Boonton Detectives Investigate Knife Fight Outside Local Residence

Assault Attorneys in Boonton NJPolice in Boonton, NJ are investigating a recent stabbing that occurred outside a local home. The Boonton Police Department sent officers to a residence on the 200 block of Cornelia Street after receiving a 911 call shortly before 6:20 p.m. The caller was a 25-year-old man who said that someone stabbed him with a knife during a violent fight. When Boonton police officers got to the scene roughly 20 minutes later, they found the victim waiting outside and suffering from a stab wound to his upper torso. The victim was transported to Morristown Medical Center, where doctors treated him for his injury.

Stephen Jones, the Boonton police captain, later issued a news release about the violent incident. Jones stated that the victim reported unexpectedly encountering the suspect when he came from the victim’s backyard. The victim did not know the suspect and did not have any idea why he was on his property. When the victim confronted the suspect, the two of them got into a verbal dispute that quickly escalated and became physical. At some point, the victim reportedly took out a knife that he typically keeps on him for self-defense; however, the victim lost control of the weapon, allowing the suspect to grab it. The suspect reportedly used the knife against the victim and stabbed him in the chest.

Penalties for Aggravated Assault & Weapons Offenses in Boonton, New Jersey

Afterwards, the suspect fled the scene of the violent crime. The victim alerted Boonton police, which dispatched cops to the area. Boonton officers were joined by officers from other law enforcement agencies, including the Mountain Lakes Police Department, the Boonton Township Police Department, and the Morris County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit. Despite canvassing the area around the Boonton home in search of the suspect, police could not find him.

If police are eventually able to arrest the stabbing suspect, he could be charged with aggravated assault or maybe even attempted murder. Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, which is addressed by the NJ Criminal Code in N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b), is a second degree felony and can result in a penalty of 5-10 years in NJ State Prison. Beyond that, since aggravated assault is one of the violent crimes listed in the No Early Release Act (NERA), anyone who is convicted of this offense would have to serve at least 85% of their prison sentence before they are eligible for parole.

Interestingly, the victim in the Boonton stabbing case might also be subject to criminal charges. The victim told Boonton detectives that he carried the knife for self-defense, but that claim will likely need to be investigated by police. In fact, it’s possible that the victim could be charged with possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. As set forth by N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4, possession of a knife for an unlawful purpose is a third degree felony and carries a penalty of 3-5 years in New Jersey State Prison. (Possessing a handgun under similar circumstances is a second degree felony and carries a possible penalty of 5-10 years in state prison.)

Schedule a Free Consultation with Aggressive Criminal Attorneys in Morris County, NJ

If you or a loved one has been charged with a violent crime in Morris County, you need to talk to a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The experienced criminal lawyers at the Tormey Law Firm have successfully defended clients against aggravated assault charges in Boonton, Parsippany, Dover, and elsewhere in Morris County, NJ. Contact us today to discuss your case.

Jefferson Township Police Arrest Man Who Allegedly Broke into Residence and Secretly Recorded Sex Video

Jefferson Township Sex Crime LawyersJefferson Township law enforcement arrested a local man accused of a sex crime that involved breaking into a home and recording a video of two residents having sex. According to officials, 19-year-old Jason Scheidecker illegally entered the victims’ house in the Oak Ridge section of Jefferson Township approximately one year ago. Once inside the home, Scheidecker allegedly used his cell phone to secretly record two people having sexual relations.

The victims learned about the home invasion when Scheidecker allegedly posted the explicit video on the social media website Twitter. Law enforcement soon got involved, prompting the video to be removed from the site. Over the course of the next 10 months, Jefferson Township police investigated the criminal act and ultimately identified Scheidecker as the main suspect. Scheidecker, who lives in the same Oak Ridge part of Jefferson Township as the victims, was later placed under arrest.

Sex Offense Charges & Penalties in NJ

Scheidecker faces multiple criminal charges, including invasion of privacy and burglary. The most serious charge is the invasion of privacy charge, which covers the suspect’s initial act of secretly recording the victims and the suspect’s later act of posting the video online.

It is illegal for a person in NJ to film or record a person engaged in sexual relations without their permission. This crime carries severe penalties that include jail time and Megan’s Law sex offender registration requirements for life. Scheidecker not only faces the invasion of privacy charges, but he could also be charged with sex crime charges if prosecutors decide that there is enough evidence in the case.

Scheidecker will also have to answer a drug crime charge. That’s because he already had an arrest warrant for possession of drug paraphernalia out of Passaic County, New Jersey. When police learned about the outstanding warrant, they took Scheidecker to the Passaic County Jail in Paterson. Scheidecker was being held at the correctional facility without bail. Possession of drug paraphernalia is classified as a disorderly persons offense and does not usually require the offender to be held in jail. However, the warrant in this case was issued as a no-bail warrant.

Free Consultation with Experienced Criminal Lawyers About Your Sex Crime Charges in Morris County, NJ

Were you charged with a sex crime in Morris County, New Jersey? You really need to talk to an experienced criminal defense lawyer and start building a strong defense. Travis Tormey is a knowledgeable criminal attorney who can help you fight your sex offense charges. Contact Attorney Tormey today.

North Bergen Man Killed Victim with Hammer & Hid Body in Lincoln Park, New Jersey

Lincoln Park Homicide ConvictionCarlos Rojas will stay in prison for the violent killing of his stepfather’s cousin. Rojas is a 27-year-old man from North Bergen, New Jersey. On August 3, 2011, he used a hammer to bludgeon 27-year-old Esteban Hernandez-Vazquez in a garage in Fairview, NJ. The garage was owned by a mechanic who was in the process of teaching Rojas to repair motor vehicles. According to Morris County prosecutors, Rojas and Hernandez-Vazquez got into a verbal argument about $4,000. Things turned physical and Rojas grabbed a hammer from his backpack and struck Hernandez-Vazquez in the head. When Hernandez-Vazquez fell to the ground, Rojas hit him another eight more.

Rojas and his mechanic friend, Oscar Benedicto-Aleman, later placed the victim’s body into the trunk of a 1996 Toyota Camry. Rojas drove the vehicle to Lincoln Park, New Jersey, while Benedicto-Aleman followed in a different car. Rojas and Benedicto-Aleman abandoned the Camry at the bottom of an embankment. The following day, Lincoln Park police discovered the abandoned vehicle with the victim’s body in the trunk.

Rojas and Benedicto-Aleman were arrested and charged with multiple crimes. Rojas eventually went to trial to face charges for first degree murder, kidnapping, unlawful possession of a weapon, theft of movable property, hindering apprehension, and desecrating human remains. (Meanwhile, Benedicto-Aleman made a plea agreement with the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office and pleaded guilty to desecration of human remains.)

At the end of a trial in Morris County Superior Court, a jury found Rojas guilty on aggravated manslaughter charges, as well as the other felony charges. The superior court judge then sentenced Rojas to 30 years behind bars in NJ State Prison. (20 years for aggravated manslaughter, seven years for desecrating human remains, and three years for hindering apprehension.) When the trial court judge issued the sentence, he noted that Rojas was not truthful when speaking to investigators and showed no remorse for the brutal murder.

New Jersey Court Rejects Appeal in Aggravated Manslaughter Case

Rojas appealed his criminal conviction to the Superior Court of NJ, Appellate Division and argued that his conviction ought to be overturned because the trial court judge did not properly answer questions asked by the jury. Rojas also argued that his legal counsel was ineffective and that the judge’s sentence was “excessive.”

The appellate court rejected and Rojas’ appeal and saw “no reason to disturb the sentences imposed.” The New Jersey appellate court’s ruling means that Rojas will stay in prison until at least 2028 – when he will be eligible for release on parole.

Free Consultation with an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in Morris County, New Jersey

Travis J. Tormey defends clients against charges of manslaughter, aggravated assault, and other violent crimes in Morris County, NJ. If you or a loved one was arrested and charged with a crime in New Jersey, contact Attorney Tormey now to schedule a free consultation at his Morristown office.

New Jersey Supreme Court Orders Trial Court to Impose New Sentence in Randolph Township Murder Case

Murder Charges in Randolph NJA man who murdered and then dismembered a teen girl in Randolph Township in 2005 will now be eligible for release from prison at some point. The NJ Supreme Court recently ordered a Morris County trial court to resentence James Zarate in the homicide case. In January, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that juvenile defendants, or defendants who were minors at the time of their offenses, can’t be sentenced to life imprisonment. In this case, Zarate received a sentenced that called for him to serve 64 years in New Jersey State Prison before becoming eligible for parole. The state supreme court held that this kind of lengthy prison sentence was essentially the same as a sentence of life in prison.

The ruling in this case meant that the trial court, the Morris County Superior Court in Morristown, had to resentence Zarate and reduce his original sentence to 50 years in state prison. As a result, Zarate could now be released on parole when he turns 57. (Prior to the NJ Supreme Court ruling, Zarate was not going to become eligible for parole until turning 78.)

Randolph Township Brothers Killed Teenage Girl

James Zarate was 14 years old when he murdered a 16-year-old girl who lived in a house next door to Zarate’s father in Randolph, NJ. Zarate and his older brother, Jonathan Zarate, reportedly went after the girl as revenge for her reporting James as a bully at high school. A witness later testified in court that James participated in the homicide because Jonathan taunted him.

Randolph Township cops connected the Zarate brothers to the killing when they tried to throw a trunk containing the victim’s body into a river on July 31, 2005. This was just one day after they used knives to stab the victim to death outside her home in Randolph, New Jersey.

During trial in Morris County Superior Court, James Zarate’s defense team argued that he did not take part in the killing. Zarate said that he merely helped his brother to dispose of the victim’s body after the homicide. However, forensic experts countered that blood stains on James Zarate’s clothes proved that he was responsible for the violent crime.

At the end of the trial, a jury agreed with prosecutors and found James Zarate guilty of first degree murder. (Jonathan Zarate was convicted by a jury in a different trial in Morris County Superior Court.) Zarate later filed an appeal of the sentence, which led to the recent ruling by the New Jersey Supreme Court.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Morris County Criminal Defense Lawyers About Your Criminal Charges

If you’ve been charged with a violent crime like murder, manslaughter, or aggravated assault, the aggressive criminal defense lawyers at the Tormey Law Firm can help you beat the charges and avoid the most severe penalties. Our legal team has defended clients against serious criminal charges throughout Morris County, New Jersey. Contact us today to go over the details of your case.

Police Searching for Man Accused of Posing as Taxi Driver and Robbing Fare in Hackettstown

Criminal Defense Lawyer in Dover NJMorris County and Sussex County police are searching for a man who reportedly posed as a taxi driver and robbed his fare. The incident happened late at night: the suspect picked up the victim outside a Dover restaurant when the victim requested a cab ride. According to law enforcement, the suspect pretended to be a cab driver so that he could lure the victim into the vehicle. The victim reportedly needed a ride from the Dover restaurant to an unspecified location in Hackettstown in Sussex County, New Jersey.

The “taxi ride” ended when the car pulled up to a Quick Chek on Mountain Avenue in Hackettstown, NJ. The suspect then allegedly aimed a silver handgun at the victim and threatened to shoot unless he handed over money. The victim the suspect cash and then got out of the car.

The suspect drove away from the area and the victim notified Hackettstown police. Officers soon arrived at the scene, but the suspect was gone. Now detectives with the Hackettstown Police Department and the Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office are working with police departments in Morris County to investigate the theft offense.

NJ Armed Robbery Charges: Penalties for Theft & Weapons Offenses

The Dover robbery suspect is said to be an “older male” who is Hispanic. He reportedly drove a silver Ford Crown Victoria or Mercury Grand Marquis that did not have a taxi company logo on the side. Police are actively investigating and trying to determine the suspect’s identity.

If the suspect is captured, he would probably be charged with multiple crimes: armed robbery and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. The robbery charges would be the most serious because the suspect allegedly used a firearm. N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1 classifies robbery as a first degree crime when the offender attempts to kill someone, purposely inflicts or attempts to inflict serious bodily injury, or uses a deadly weapon such as a gun or knife. (Robbery is typically classified as a second degree crime under NJ law.) In this armed robbery case, the suspect could face first degree felony charges and face 10-20 years in New Jersey State Prison if convicted.

Call the Tormey Law Firm to Speak with an Experienced Morris County Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Robbery Charges

A robbery charge needs to be taken seriously because it can result in severe penalties. If you or a loved one has been charged with robbery in Morris County, New Jersey, you need to talk to an aggressive criminal defense attorney immediately. Travis Tormey is an experienced criminal lawyer who helps clients fight robbery charges in Morris County, Sussex County, and Warren County, NJ. Contact Attorney Tormey today to start your defense.

Roxbury Law Enforcement to Crack Down on Drunk Drivers with DWI Checkpoint

Roxbury Township DWI CheckpointRoxbury police plan to set up a DWI checkpoint in the township this month to target intoxicated motorists. The Roxbury Township Police Department announced the drunk-driving checkpoint, which will be run and enforced by Roxbury police officers and members of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office. The DWI checkpoint has been funded by a grant from the NJ Division of Highway Traffic Safety.

Other funds from the grant will be used to establish other DUI checkpoints throughout Morris County, NJ, possible in Parsippany-Troy Hills Township, Mount Olive Township, Morris Township, Montville, Washington Township, Morristown, Denville Township, and Madison. One reason that police departments in Morris County are trying to stop drunk motorists at checkpoints is that DWI accidents in the county pose serious risks to other drivers and to pedestrians. In the worst cases, DWI accidents result in fatalities.

Penalties for DWI Convictions in Morris County, New Jersey

A person stopped by police at the Roxbury Township DWI checkpoint could face severe penalties if arrested for operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% percent or higher. That’s because New Jersey prosecutors tend to seek maximum penalties in drunk driving cases. A conviction for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) in Roxbury, NJ or anywhere else in Morris County could lead to driver’s license suspension, monetary fines, alcohol education classes at the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC), installation of ignition interlock devices on all of the defendant’s vehicles, and jail time.

The precise penalties imposed for a DWI conviction in NJ depend on whether the defendant has prior convictions for drunk driving. A motorist who is convicted of a first offense DWI could have their driver’s license suspended for three months. If that same motorist has a previous DWI conviction within the past 10 years, the charges will be for a second offense DWI and the penalties could include a driver’s license suspension for a period of two years. A third offense DWI, or a subsequent offense DWI, could result in driver’s license suspension for a period of 10 years, as well as significant jail time.

Free Consultation with Experienced DWI Defense Lawyers in Roxbury, NJ

Anyone charged with drunk driving in Roxbury, New Jersey should make sure to have a skilled DWI defense lawyer on their side. The DWI attorneys at the Tormey Law Firm are prepared to defend you against DWI charges, DUI charges, and Breath Test Refusal charges. We work with a retired NJ State trooper who has been certified in both field sobriety testing and the Alcotest. Contact us anytime to discuss your case and explore your legal options.

Rockaway Township Police Officer Allegedly Sexually Assaulted Minors

Sexual Assault Charges for Rockaway Township CopA Morris County grand jury recently indicted a Rockaway Township police officer on sex offense charges for allegedly sexually assaulting two juvenile girls while he was on active duty. The suspect is Wilfredo Guzman, a 40-year-old man who resides in Rockaway Township and who served with the Rockaway Township Police Department. Guzman has been suspended without pay, pending the outcome of his criminal charges.

According to the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, Guzman engaged in acts involving sexual penetration with a 15-year-old girl and a 16-year-old girl in 2014 and 2015. Some of those acts reportedly occurred at a police station at the Rockaway Townsquare mall, at a motel in Rockaway Township, NJ, and in Guzman’s police patrol vehicle while he was on duty. Morris County prosecutors have also allegedly that Guzman provided the minors with alcohol and prescription drugs.

NJ Sexual Assault Charges & Penalties

Guzman has been charged with several criminal offenses, including sexual assault, child endangerment, official misconduct, and possession of child pornography. All of the criminal charges have been classified as felonies, meaning that they could result in severe penalties like prison time, fines, and Megan’s Law sex offender registration requirements. Beyond that, sexual assault has a presumption of incarceration: if convicted, Guzman would likely be unable to get a probationary sentence to stay out jail.

When Guzman was arrested in April, he agreed to wear an electronic monitoring device in order to get released from the Morris County Jail in Morristown. Additionally, Guzman was ordered to abide by the terms of a no-contact order barring him from contact with either of the two alleged victims. If Guzman violates the no-contact order, he could be charged with more crimes under N.J.S.A. 2C:29-9.

Guzman has now been indicted by a grand jury, which means that he could eventually stand trial on the sex crime charges in Morris County Superior Court. If Guzman does not reach a pre-trial plea agreement, his fate would probably be decided by a jury. In addition to facing legal consequences, Guzman could also permanently lose his job with the Rockaway Township Police Department if he is ultimately convicted in the case. (Guzman is currently suspended from his role with the police force.)

Experienced Morristown Criminal Defense Lawyer Defends Clients Against Sex Crime Charges in New Jersey

A conviction for a sex crime in New Jersey could destroy your life. Not only could you end up behind bars for a very long time, but you could also find your employment, your reputation, and your family life affected in a negative way. The best way to fight back against sex crime charges in NJ is to have a qualified criminal defense attorney on your side early in the process. Travis Tormey is an experienced criminal lawyer who is prepared to defend clients against sexual assault charges in Rockaway Township, Morristown, Parsippany, and everywhere else in Morris County, NJ.

Before he founded the Tormey Law Firm, Attorney Tormey worked with the sex crime unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Now Attorney Tormey and his skilled legal team fight on behalf of defendants in criminal cases. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.