The previous post on our Morristown criminal defense law blog discussed grand jury proceedings, and how the confidentiality factor may help to protect a defendant’s reputation. Once a grand jury returns an indictment, however, one’s reputation may face problems — particularly when the indictment is for sex crimes.
Recently a Morris County man and two other men were indicted on charges related to child pornography. They were identified as part of a two-month initiative involving the New Jersey Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, the FBI and the U.S. Postal Service, in addition to state police. Two dozen suspects altogether were rounded up as part of the investigation.
The three defendants in the latest indictment face allegations of downloading child pornography from the Internet and then sharing the content with others online. One of them is also charged with resisting arrest when officers came to his home and confiscated his computer along with some firearms they found. Each defendant faces two second-degree sex crime charges.
These criminal charges carry potential penalties of up to 10 years in prison a piece, but of course the long-term consequences to one’s personal life in a case like this go well beyond that. Defendants who do their time for sex crimes face the likelihood of having to register as sex offenders after they get out of prison, and the constraints on their lives that go along with it. Even those who fight back against the charges and win may find that a “not guilty” verdict does not clear their names of the stigma that accompanies such charges.
Employment opportunities, housing options and personal relationships all may be on the line when facing sex crime charges. Defendants in such cases may find that a criminal defense professional is a crucial ally who will fight for their right to a presumption of innocence.