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Cases & Verdicts

Many people are interested in what lawyers actually do.  We have decided to share some of our case results to satisfy that curiosity.  It goes without saying that all cases are different.  The facts are different. The courts are different. The witnesses are different. The jury, if there is one, is different.  No one can guarantee an outcome in a legal case. Anyone who promises a client a particular outcome is not being honest or ethical.

We are sharing these stories because we hope that you will find them interesting and because we are proud of the work we do.  You should not assume that anything you read here means that your situation will have the same outcome. Your case isn’t the same as anyone else’s. The only thing we will ever promise is that we will do our best.

  • Sometimes the good guys win - even in civil cases. This win was especially sweet after 9 years. The claim for damages in excess of $90 million made things pretty exciting too.

HCK business law attorney William Tobolsky’s client was a Vice President for a well-known white Bank.  In September 2009, Bill’s client, the bank, and two other officers were sued for $95 million (not including fees and additional interest) by a cento-millionaire litigious D.C. real estate developer for negligence, professional negligence, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, aiding and abetting, conspiracy, breach of contract and violation of Delaware Client Protection Act (automatic trebled damages for plaintiffs’ over 65).

Recently, after 9 years of litigation, one 5-week trial, affirmance by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and denial of certiorari by the U.S. Supreme Court all claims were dismissed with prejudice as against HCK’s client.  He did not pay a thin dime in settlement or betray his loyalty to the Bank in return for this final disposition entered by the Court.

  • It’s always nice when your attorney knows the law and the other side will listen.

New Jersey municipal court attorney Brian Jacob’s client and the client’s girlfriend were at a store and attempted to pass a counterfeit $100 bill. The clerk did not accept the $100 bill, but allowed the client to pay in another way for the $60 worth of merchandise. The client declined to actually purchase the merchandise with another method and left the store.  Police were alerted and the client was stopped while driving. The police smelled marijuana and placed the client under arrest with charges for attempting to pass a counterfeit bill, possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia.

At the second appearance, Brian indicated to the prosecutor that the downgraded charge of shoplifting, from passing a counterfeit bill, couldn’t apply, particularly when the store encouraged him to pay for the items in another manner and didn’t prevent him from leaving the store. The prosecutor agreed and permitted the client to plead to a Boro ordinance (general disorderly) and a dismissal of all other charges, including the motor vehicle offenses.  HCK’s client was fined $500 and was very pleased with the result.

  • We do not recommend trying this yourself! The online driving course seems like a great idea.

HCK’s client was clocked going 107 in a 45-mph section of the NJ Turnpike. He also tried to evade the Trooper before pulling over. The client received tickets requiring mandatory license suspensions and 16 points, which would have resulted in the loss of his job. New Jersey traffic ticket lawyer Bill Harth pleaded the case down to one moving violation which carries only 2 points and numerous non-point tickets, and the Court allowed him to enter the online driving course, which will remove the 2 points. This client was exceptionally happy with HCK.

  • Kids and holidays are important – to our clients and to us.

HCK's New Jersey family law attorney Barbara Dumadag appeared in court with HCKs client on a parenting time/custody issue. Our client had not seen his 5-year-old daughter since June 2017. There were allegations of drug and steroid use. Barbara was able to get the client parenting time every other weekend from Friday through Sunday. On the weeks that HCK’s client does not have weekend visitation, he gets parenting time on Wednesday evenings.  The court holiday schedule was implemented and our client will get to spend Easter Sunday with his daughter this year. This parenting time will be supervised by his parents for 6 months, along with random drug screenings. Barring any complications, the supervised provision of parenting time will be lifted after 6 months. The client and his parents are ecstatic with the outcome.

  • Going pro se is rarely a good idea. It certainly wasn’t for this person.

HCK’s New Jersey domestic violence attorney David Branco had a client with a TRO (temporary restraining order) against him. The trial started. During the direct testimony by the pro se (representing herself) plaintiff, the judge stopped the proceeding and advised her that the issues of evidence where too complex and that Mr. Branco would easily take advantage of this. The judge suggested that she get an attorney.  The case was postponed for 6 weeks while the plaintiff retained counsel. This attorney contacted HCK attorney Dave Branco and was promptly advised that she had already said things during her direct testimony that rebuttal witnesses, identified by Dave, would testify and prove her to be an incredible witness.  Faced with that information, the attorney convinced his client to dismiss the TRO outright with no other concessions from HCK’s client who was very happy with the result. 

  • It never ceases to surprise us how wrongdoers can convince themselves that they are in the right. Fortunately, they often don’t convince others.

HCK’s New Jersey criminal defense attorney Andy Butchko had a Client, a retired corrections officer, who hired a mechanic to place a new engine in a truck.  One year later, when the truck was not finished and had been moved to the mechanic’s home, HCK’s client had the vehicle towed to another mechanic to finish the job. The first mechanic charged the client with theft and trespass and the charges were sent to the county prosecutor’s office.  Andy wrote to the prosecutor explaining the situation and providing documents received from the client. The prosecutor’s office administratively dismissed the charges.

  • Immigration clients often have language challenges in addition to other legal challenges. Our team was up for the challenge.

HCKs Brooklyn-based attorney Jason Eldridge recently convinced a particularly difficult judge in Queens to grant a guardianship application and sign a Special Immigrant Juvenile Status order. HCK legal assistant Beatriz was a huge help translating the documents, and HCK legal assistant Joel did a fantastic job of helping to prepare the client for the hearing.  

  • Cases involving juveniles are always difficult, both emotionally and practically.

HCK’s New Jersey defense attorney Gary Salber’s client was a middle school student who was charged with sexual assault on a fellow student. A security camera caught the incident on tape. The client was suspended indefinitely and the initial recommendation by the Executive Director of the Board of Education was for placement of the student in an alternative school outside of the district.

Gary met and discussed the matter with the Assistant Executive Director and then with the Board attorney. Thereafter, an informal hearing took place with six District employees, the parents and Gary. After some testimony, questioning and discussion, the School Board agreed to permit the student to return to class. The client will be accompanied by an aide to and from classes and activities. The Board also agreed to pay for an evaluation by a psychiatrist of the parents choosing. The parents were pleased to have their child returning to school.

  • As most of you know by now, HCK firm members take animal welfare very seriously. It is easy to understand why this case was so compelling for us. We also feel very strongly that victims sometimes need representation too.

HCK’s New Jersey assault lawyer David Branco had a client who was the victim of an assault that occurred at a 4H fair. The client advised one of the demonstrators that they had not taken proper care of their animals during the week of the fair. This individual became irate and screamed at the client and promptly retrieved her husband. Upon arrival, the husband screamed at the client and proceeded to break the client’s nose and continue an attack upon the client. The attacker’s wife then tried to claim that it was self-defense on the part of her husband and, at worst, it was a mutual combat. She further charged our client with harassment for bringing the complaint in the first place- hoping for a mutual dismissal.

HCK used excellent investigators Ulbrich and Scull who interviewed numerous witnesses to the event, including individuals who were friendly with the assaulting husband and his wife and did not even know our client. Based upon the investigators’ taped statements and transcriptions given to the prosecutor, which revealed that the attack was completely one-sided against our client and our client did nothing to precipitate or engage in the fight, the prosecutor agreed not to issue a mutual dismissal. 

The charges against our client were dismissed by the prosecutor and the husband pled guilty to assault and agreed to pay restitution for all out-of-pocket expenses of our clients medical bills. The client was very happy with our representation of him as a victim advocate and can now pursue any civil remedies that he may have.

  • Although most cases are resolved, sometimes a trial is the only way to get the right result. When a client has to go to trial, having an experienced litigator to defend him is very important.

HCK New Jersey criminal defense attorney Rick Incremona had a client who was leaving a restaurant after dinner with his wife. The client began to drive out of a parking space when the victim complained about the client’s driving and charged out of his own car toward the client’s car. 

The stories differ thereafter.

The Victim said he was calm and that the client wanted to fight, got out of his car and hit the victim for no reason. The Client said that the victim slammed on the client’s car and pointed in both the client's and his wife’s faces. The Client said he opened his door to back the man (‘Victim’) up and then after another exchange of words, the “Victim” cocked his arm to throw a punch and said he would kill the client. The client struck him before the punch could be delivered.  Police responded and let everyone go that night. 

A few days later, the police were told that the victim had very bad injuries: a broken eye orbit and a broken nose – both of which require surgery and the placement of plates and screw s and a permanent injury to his pupil requiring him to wear sunglasses when any sunshine is present (permanently dilated – frozen). 

The police, without ever talking to the client or his wife, charged the client. The client was facing a 2nd Degree NERA (No Early Release Act) offense requiring him to serve a state prison sentence if convicted and that 85% be served if convicted. Prosecutor offered PTI (pretrial intervention which could mean no jail and no record) if the client pled guilty. The Client was adamant that he had done nothing wrong and would lose his job if he pled guilty.

The Client decided to go to trial. The case was badly done by the police and there was missing evidence which Rick, with help from HCK Appellate Attorney Patty Quelch, turned into an adverse inference charge. The client faced aggravated assault – serious bodily injury and two lesser charges of aggravated assault, significant bodily injury and simple assault.  After less than an hour of deliberation, the Jury returned a verdict of NOT GUILTY on all charges.  

The client took a big risk. Justice prevailed.

  •  At HCK, clients come first. Our attorneys often go above and beyond to show compassion and empathy.

HCK’s Woodstown office had a client come in who was extremely ill and was putting off hospitalization until he could get his estate planning in order.  Recognizing the client’s urgency, HCK’s New Jersey wills and estates attorney Chris Pine immediately took care of things by having the client come in at 6:00 PM the same day he contacted the firm.  After the consult, Chris stayed late and reviewed the client’s current will to make sure it met the client’s needs and its validity. He then researched the correctness (or incorrectness) of the self-proving affidavit, as well as prepared the other documents that the client requested.  The clients were absolutely thrilled by the immediate attention and were very thankful for the services rendered, along with the kindness and concern Chris extended to them.

  • HCK New Jersey criminal defense attorney Ron Helmer also often goes the extra mile for his clients and cares deeply about what happens to them. He was delighted to receive an email….

“Good afternoon Mr. Helmer this is [name removed] mother. I just wanted to take a minute and thank you for all of the times that you sat and talked to my son about getting his life together. I wanted to let you know that since then he has totally stopped anything that has to do with drugs, he has found a nice girlfriend and moved in with his grandmother and they are both working very hard to change their lives. He has done a total 360. He looks the best he has in a very long time and he is doing very well. He has finally found a full-time job that he starts in about a week, he's been working part-  time only. Coming from a mother who didn't see an end in sight I just had to send you an email that things have changed and I'm very happy.

Thank you again for all of your help and have a good day.”

  • In addition to service to clients, HCK values service to the bar and to other colleagues. One way that they serve is by providing educational programs.

HCK’s New Jersey municipal government law attorney Bill Kearns presented a 2.5-hour seminar on Public Meetings, Procedure, Civility and Local Government Ethics for the Mercer County Municipal Clerk’s Association. It was open to and included Clerks from Burlington, Monmouth, Warren and Essex counties.

HCK’s New Jersey ABC attorney Skip Reale presented a seminar on Alcoholic Beverage licensing and procedures to the Gloucester County Municipal Clerks.

  •  HCK attorneys work as a team

HCK attorney Barry Serebnick represented a client who was observed to be operating her vehicle in an unsafe manner, crossing over the center line and the fog line.  The client was stopped by the police and removed from the vehicle. She smelled like alcohol and did a poor job with the road-side psycho-physical testing.  She was brought to the police department and gave a breath sample of .08, which is the absolute minimum for DWI.   The driver was a Pennsylvania resident with a 9 1/2-year-old Pennsylvania DWI Conviction who relies upon her driver's license for a living.  If she was convicted of a DWI a second time, she was facing a 2-year license loss in New Jersey and a 1-year license loss in Pennsylvania. 

HCK attorneys work as a team; Barry contacted his HCK colleague Mike Troso who additionally was able to obtain advice from some Pennsylvania colleagues. Armed with Mike’s advice, Barry was able to negotiate a plea of guilty reckless driving with a 90-day license suspension in the State of New Jersey.  There is a possibility that the license loss may transfer to Pennsylvania; however, the client was thrilled not to have a second DUI conviction and not be subject to the mandatory 1-year license loss in her home state and a 2-year license loss in New Jersey!

  • HCK attorney Ron Helmer was quoted...

HCK attorney Ron Helmer was quoted in  https://abaforlawstudents.com/2018/01/01/start-now-to-become-tomorrows-legal-leader/ ,  the cover story for Student Lawyer Magazine.

  • HCK paralegals and legal assistants are valued members of our legal team.

HCK paralegals and legal assistants are valued members of our legal team. HCK paralegal Jamie was working with a client who is seeking expungement of a crime in one County and a disorderly person’s offense that occurred in another. Normally, expungements are filed in the county where the most serious charges occurred. Unfortunately, that county is tougher on expungements than the other.  Jamie suggested that since we can file for an expungement in any county where any of the offenses occurred, why not file in the less tough county for the expungement? That is exactly what we are doing. Great to think outside of the box!

  • HCK attorney John Shields appealed, arguing that the client was no longer a Pennsylvania resident despite still holding a Pennsylvania driver's license at the time of the arrest.

Our client was arrested in New Jersey on June 15, 2017 and charged with drunk driving. He pled guilty in September 2017 and had his license suspended for three months. At the time of his arrest, the client was living in New Jersey but had not changed his license from Pennsylvania. He applied for a New Jersey driver’s license on June 30. The client received a notice following his guilty plea that his Pennsylvania driving privileges would be suspended for one year because of his "out-of-state conviction". HCK attorney John Shields appealed, arguing that the client was no longer a Pennsylvania resident despite still holding a Pennsylvania driver's license at the time of the arrest. An appeal hearing was scheduled in Montgomery County Pennsylvania. In advance of the Pennsylvania hearing John supplied the Deputy Attorney General proof of the client having purchased a home in New Jersey prior to his arrest, the client’s applying for and obtaining a New Jersey license shortly after his arrest, and the prompt restoration of his driving The Deputy Attorney General reviewed this material and agreed to withdraw the Commonwealth's objection allowing the judge to sustain the appeal and void the proposed suspension. The client is very happy, as he works in Pennsylvania and drives there at least five days a week.

  • HCK attorney Howard Gilfert convinced the judge not to suspend his driving license...

The Client, who was facing 5-10 years for drug case (second degree), was sentenced to 3 years of probation. Typically, loss of driver’s license would be part of the sentence. Although the client lost his job last week, HCK attorney Howard Gilfert convinced the judge not to suspend his driving license so that he could continue to look for one. The client sent Gil a text “Hey I just wana say thanks for everything you did for me and u getting me a second chance at life.”

  • The judge made a good record in dismissing the DP criminal charge...

HCK attorney Dave Branco had a Municipal client who was charged with paraphernalia based upon a valid motor vehicle stop.  While Dave was able to point out several irregularities and fundamental fairness issues warranting potentially a dismissal of the 2C charge, the prosecutor and the police officers were unwilling to give the defendant this consideration.   Dave then made a motion to dismiss based on a Holup (delay in providing discovery warrants sanctions under this order) order violation.  The discovery revealed that from the very outset of the case the police officer noted in his narrative that there were two BWC videos and an MVR.  Despite numerous requests for this specific discovery and the Holup order directing these videos to be turned over, the prosecutor maintained that the videos were overwritten and are no longer available.  The judge made a good record in dismissing the DP criminal charge and the client pled to an expired registration ticket and paid a total of $69 to the court that day.  As a result, the client's state license in the healthcare profession will now not be impacted upon by either a conviction or a one-year period of conditional discharge where he would not be able to renew until the matter was dismissed.  The client can now earn his regular salary which is much more lucrative than an interim job would have paid waiting for his license renewal.

  • HCK attorney Rick Incremona had one meeting with the prosecutor to explain his view of the case.

HCK’s client is a school bus driver. Early last fall, she was in a collision with a woman on a bicycle. The bicyclist died unfortunately. The client claimed the bicyclist was at fault. The police investigation left room for criminal charges and prosecution. The matter was sitting for 5 months. HCK attorney Rick Incremona had one meeting with the prosecutor to explain his view of the case. The next day, the prosecutor agreed to decline prosecution and sent the case back to municipal court, as a careless driving matter

  • HCK attorney James Conley convinced the prosecutor to withdraw their detention request.

HCKs client went to a bank and gave a note to the teller that said., “give me all your hundreds and fifties.” The Client was on video and one of his friends saw his photo on a police Facebook account requesting information if the suspect was known. The friend called police and identified the client as did the client’s mother when the police showed her the picture. The Client, 24, is a college student who works. He also has a gambling habit and did this as he owed over $7,000.00 in gambling debt. HCK attorney James Conley convinced the prosecutor to withdraw their detention request. In these days of bail reform. This client could have waited in jail for a very long time

  • Attorney Brian Jacobs assist with the dismissal of a charge against an HCK client.

HCK firm members love our pets, and we understand that our clients do too. Sometimes concerns over the safety of our beloved pets has us do things that we ordinarily might not- such as breaking into an apartment.

Our client, represented by attorney Brian Jacobs, was charged for defiant trespass, a petty disorderly person’s offense. HCK’s client had been evicted from her apartment and took two of her five cats, leaving three behind. She returned to the apartment several hours later to find that the door locks were changed. Concerned about her pets, HCK’s client broke the door window and retrieved her three cats. Someone called the police and, although the client’s friend was permitted to leave with the three cats, the police took the client to the station. Charges were later mailed to the client’s old apartment and not forwarded to her new address in Ohio.

Attorney Brian Jacobs felt that the client could rely on an affirmative defense, that she legitimately felt re-entering the apartment to get the three cats would not be a problem. After hearing the explanation, the prosecutor agreed to dismiss the charge against the client and allow the client to plead guilty to civil contempt for a $300 fine. 

The client was very happy with the results and decided to apply for an immediate expungement on her own.

  • HCKs attorneys represented a client successfully in a criminal case and got PTI

The consequences of certain types of charges can be very severe, especially for people with certain professions. Theses consequences often extend beyond the realm of criminal law into the field of Administrative law.  Teachers, medical professional and police officers are at a high risk of this additional consequence.

HCK’s client, a school teacher, was charged with endangering the welfare of a child for hitting her son (who was acting out) once with a rubber flip-flop. HCKs attorneys represented her successfully in the criminal case and got PTI (pre trial intervention) for her. She completed PTI early, after only 6 months, for having done gone above and beyond all that was required of her. In the interim, the state brought an action against her to show cause why she should not have her license suspended as a teacher. This caused her to lose her position and limited her ability to get jobs and other schools. After a year of no work she did get a job in a school and is doing very well there as a special education teacher.

HCK attorney Rick Incremona put together a book of her accomplishments along with an explanation of the criminal case and that she had not been convicted of any crimes. He also took the opportunity to present her case to the board including the ridiculous nature of the prosecution. More than half the board nodded in affirmation with Rick’s condemnation of the prosecutor’s actions (he did not name the office during his presentation). The board’s decision was not supposed to be issued for a month but Rick got a call from the coordinator for the State Board within 20 minutes after leaving saying that the order to show cause been dismissed. The client was thrilled.

  • Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A. attorney Mike Miller won an appellate case summarized below:

 DISPUTE RESOLUTION | REAL ESTATE | CORPORATE ENTITIES

03-2-2279 Zieniuk v. Mickles, N.J. Super. App. Div. (per curiam) (11 pp.) Defendant appealed an order denying the vacation of a judgment confirming an arbitration award and an order granting plaintiff’s motion for post-judgment discovery. The parties agreed to purchase a building and lease it to tenants and that title would be in defendant’s name and plaintiff would contribute money and skill to renovate the building. After several suits between the parties, plaintiff filed a third lawsuit in the matter requesting an appraisal, dissolution of the partnership and 50 percent of the rental income. He arbitrated that suit without defendant or defendant’s counsel. Defendant filed a motion to set aside the arbitration award. The trial judge confirmed the award because defendant had notice of the arbitration. Plaintiff filed a motion for post-judgment discovery of defendant’s financial records. The court granted the motion and defendant appealed. The court found that the trial judge did not abuse his discretion when he denied the motion to vacate the arbitration award under Rule 4:50-1 because the record was unclear which section of the rule defendant relied on. Additionally, defendant’s motion was untimely since it was filed three years after the arbitration award was confirmed.

  • HCK attorney Henry Zerella had a temporary restraining order dismissed in family court.

Our client had been charged with pepper spraying the father of her child. The father of her child had been harassing the client on Facebook and had a history of committing previous domestic violence.  Henry got the temporary restraining order dismissed in family court.

  • Attorney Skip Reale has lots of experience working with NJABC effectively.

After more than 12-months since the filing of the application, Skip was successful in having NJABC (NEW JERSEY ALCOHOL AND BEVERAGE COMMISSION) grant a statewide concessionaire permit to our client. This accomplishment permitted the opening of our client’s newest venture as part of a Redevelopment Project.  The permit is not a traditional retail license and is issued solely at the discretion of the NJABC Director.  For over 16-months, Skip has worked with the relevant Borough, the Borough’s redevelopment counsel, the Redeveloper, and NJABC in shepherding the project through the regulatory maze.  

  • HCK attorneys were delighted to be reappointed as Special Monmouth County Counsel.

With our assistance, a client fought a restraining order and corresponding municipal court charge and won.  Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A.’s attorney Howard Gilfert convinced the Assistant County Prosecutor to return the client’s firearms to him.

  • Our law firm believes that clients should have a chance for rehabilitation and that many people who make mistakes do turn their lives around. 

New Jersey drug crime attorney Bob Luther applied a first time offender for pretrial intervention (PTI). If a person completes PTI, the charges are dismissed. His application was rejected by criminal case management because they believed the evidence showed he was a drug dealer. Bob convinced the County Prosecutor to overrule the rejection and directly admit the client into PTI. 

  • New Jersey DUI/DWI regulations are complicated. Fortunately, several HCK attorneys have a great deal of experience in this area and have represented clients in very difficult situations successfully.

Our client was charged with DWI, Failure to maintain lanes, & open containers. He had a .10 BAC but declined any roadside testing. This client was in the military & had security clearances that would be impacted by a conviction. After the State failed to produce discovery items, our firm's DUI lawyer Dave Branco discussed with the Prosecutor a dismissal of the DWI. The Prosecutor needed to reach out to the arresting Trooper so the case was not settled on the first appearance. On the next court date, a fill in prosecutor was in court and HCK attorney Michael Troso was able to get a full dismissal of all three tickets. The issues he identified for the Prosecution that facilitated this result included a lack of discovery, proof of texting on his smart watch during breath testing, no SFSTs, limited observation of impairment, & the Trooper’s failure to appear in court.  

  • Our attorneys are well aware of the requirements for proper performance of Breath tests in DUI/DWI cases. Improper test performance creates proof challenges in court.

A client was found in her car passed out at the wheel & obstructing traffic at an intersection. She admitted to having way too many drinks & that she shouldn't be driving. She did terribly in the roadside tests. At the station she blew a .15 BAC. DUI defense attorney John Dell’Aquilo reviewed the in station video & realized that the client’s cell phone was left in the client's purse in the Alcotest room the entire time. Dell’Aquilo printed up screen shots from the video; using the photos, attorney Michael Troso convinced the prosecutor that it appeared the cell phone remained in the purse located in the Alcotest room during the breath test, thus invalidating the reading. The Prosecutor then agreed to suppress the reading. The client plead to a first tier DWI with a 90 day LOL & no interlock.  

  • Family law and custody issues can be emotional and complicated.

A father sought to compel parenting time with his 16-year-old son who refuses to communicate with him or spend time with him. The 16-year old’s mother, Mom, who is an HCK client, objected.  Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A. family law attorney Rick Shapiro convinced the judge that the 16-year-old was sufficiently mature to make this decision on his own and that mom did not have any role in that decision by their son.  The Court denied the father’s motion.  In addition, the court agreed to recalculate child support, and more than doubled the amount being paid by the father.

  • DUIs are never funny but some cases do take an amusing twist.

A client's motor vehicle was stopped by the New Jersey State Police (NJSP). The Trooper conducting the stop told the client that he had been speeding. The Trooper thereafter observed that a passenger was asleep and reportedly detected an odor of alcohol emanating from the vehicle. Client admitted to having consumed a small amount of alcohol some time earlier in the evening, but denied being under the influence. Following the observations of the Trooper and administration field-tests, the client was taken to the NJSP barracks where breath tests were administered. The result was an .04 BAC reading, well below the .08 legal limit. Despite this, the trooper nonetheless issued a summons for a DUI to our client While at the barracks, the client explained that he is a martial arts and gymnastics instructor. The Trooper asked him to prove it and the client thereafter successfully performed a backflip. No other tickets were issued and our client was released and permitted to drive home. On December 18, the client had a consultation with HCK. The summons reflected that he had a court date scheduled for the following morning. The following day our DWI attorney Ira Slovin went to the court and met with the prosecutor.  The Prosecutor agreed to dismiss the summons based on the facts and lack of proof. Our client was very pleased with the quick and favorable result.

  • The preparation of wills and related documents can be emotional. Our attorneys treat these situations with knowledge, care and compassion.

An old client of attorney John Shields called a short while back desiring to have a will, advanced health directive and power of attorney prepared. John set him up to meet with HCK attorney Ellen Kearns to go over his needs. The client called John over this past weekend, and told me how extremely pleased he was with Ellen and the job she did for him. The client told John that not only was he confident that she was extraordinarily knowledgeable in this area of law, but that she answered all of his questions and treated him with professionalism, courtesy and respect. The client thanked John for facilitating their working relationship, and assured John that he would let anyone he knew who was looking for the services of an attorney to call John. John let his client know that we handle just about every area of legal practice and that all of our attorneys strive to provide the highest quality service. Ellen's skill and kindness made a very favorable impression on this gentleman.

  • Out of State clients with New Jersey issues can have complications. The New Jersey Bail Reform act can add even more.  Fortunately, our attorneys are well versed in these nuances and can often facilitate effective solutions.

Criminal defense attorney Dave Branco had an Ohio client with several theft priors, 12 aliases, multiple SS#s and DOBs. His current offense, identity theft.  Dave and Ron convinced the prosecutor to give the client a year probation with restitution and transfer it to Ohio.  The difficult part was the outstanding warrant that the client had never been processed on; this loomed as an extradition issue with the Ohio courts.  Dave told the client to come to NJ for CJP to execute warrant and get processed.  However, with the new bail reform act, it was likely that the client would spend at least one night in jail.  To prevent this, Dave contacted the State police, the court staff, the judge and pretrial services the day before client arrived in NJ to ensure matters would move quickly.  The morning the client arrived in NJ, Dave had him go directly to the State Police Barracks for processing. Dave then asked the Asst. Prosecutor call the trooper and to have the trooper transport the client directly to court instead of going to the county jail which would have added hours to the process.  The client reached court in time for a superior court judge to release the client on the condition that he report twice per month by telephone until his next court date.  While the client was at PTS signing conditions, Dave then asked the sentencing Judge’s team leader to do a pre-sentence interview with the client in anticipation of the client's plea the following month so that the pre-sentence report would already be done when client pled and could then also be sentenced immediately the same day.  This way the client would not have to come back a third time.  It's highly unusual to do a pre-sentence report before a plea has been entered especially on an unindicted matter.  The client couldn't thank Dave enough for his efforts. The client was back on road to Ohio the same day with no overnight in the jail.

  • At Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A., we like happy stories at any time, but around the holidays, some are especially heartwarming.

HCK attorney Chris Pine completed a subsidized adoption just in time for the Holidays. The client, and the children’s caseworker, thanked Chris several times.

  • We have mentioned the challenges of the 2017 Bail Reform many times.

Attorney Skylar Weissman represented a client at an initial detention hearing under Bail Reform. The client had a second degree charge pending and was facing new second degree charges.  Over the Prosecutor’s objection, SKYLAR convinced the Court to release our client.  Client was very happy to be released and will not be able to actively participate in the defense of his two criminal cases and his FRO hearing.

  • The elderly need their rights protected too. HCK attorney Rick Shapiro feels strongly about that.

Our client is an elderly woman who was declared partially incapacitated in 2015 but by court order maintained her capacity in terms of personal governance, including things like medical care, associating with persons, freedom to come and go, etc.   In July 2016, she was taken from the assisted living facility where she resides by her niece and nephew under what were alleged to be questionable circumstances, and returned by the police after they recovered her from the niece and nephew’s home.  From that point on, the client was kept locked in the facility’s Alzheimer’s floor and denied a telephone or visitors unless the calls and visitors were screened and approved first. Rick successfully argued that the client’s fundamental civil liberties and freedoms were being violated, and convinced the court to order the facility to move the client to an open floor, provide her with a telephone, and allow the client unfettered access to visitors. 

  • As we mentioned before, at HCK we believe that everyone deserves a second chance and we are thrilled when we can be part of a positive change in someone’s life.

Attorney Bob Luther received an email from a client he represented at trial last year where the client was acquitted. The client got engaged last week on the five-year anniversary of the day he was arrested. The client said he has come a long way in the last five years and he owes a lot of that to Bob. 

  • At HCK, we know that just because someone is accused of something does not mean that they are guilty.

Family attorney Dave Branco had a client charged with a TRO (temporary restraining order). The client was 60 years old with no prior criminal history or history of domestic violence.  The plaintiff's complaint alleged that client had threatened her life as well as threats of violence and destruction of property.  The plaintiff said that all of these threats were written to her and on her phone in text messages.  Dave asked to speak with plaintiff who appeared pro se. Dave discovered that the evidence was actually Spanish voice messages and none contained a threat it was the plaintiff’s interpretation of the messages meaning that made her believe it was a threat.  With that Dave decided to do the trial immediately. The plaintiff was evasive and her colloquy with the judge was argumentative. Cross examination was even worse for her. Afterward, Dave made a motion at the end of plaintiff's case.  The judge said he had never granted such motion until today and proceeded to make an excellent record to dismiss for lack of a prima facie case.  The client and his daughter hugged and thanked Dave.

  • A core value at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A. is that strong and positive relationships with members of the bar are important.

A prominent non-HCK attorney reached out for help on a criminal law issue. Ron asked HCK attorney Jack Lipari to help.  The lawyer wrote to Jack, “Jack, Thank you very much for your thorough and thoughtful analysis of this issue.  We are very appreciative, and your assistance has helped us view the case from some other angles which were not as deeply explored prior to your involvement. You have given additional inertia to the idea that it is not an issue that can just be conceded on its face. Thanks again. “His father, the managing partner of the other firm, wrote “Agreed and thank Ron too.  You guys are selfless when it comes lending your valuable time to colleagues.   A wonderful and much- appreciated quality!”

  • Some clients have very complex histories and issues. Our HCK attorneys take the time to analyze and understand.

New Jersey criminal lawyer Rick Incremona’s client has five previous adult convictions and has spent half of his 39 years in prison. One of his priors is an aggravated manslaughter charge. The client was charged with second-degree possession of heroin with intent to distribute and because of his record and prior distributions was facing 20 years in prison with 10 years no parole. Rick cross-examined the lead Detective at a parole revocation hearing and exposed multiple search issues and evidence issues. Rick conveyed these to the assistant prosecutor along with other issues that Rick saw.

Ultimately the prosecutor agreed to reduce the heavy sentence against the client down to a six-year sentence with two years no parole. Rick once again reiterated the issues he had found and that he was going to pursue them which then got the prosecutor to reduce the sentence further to five years with 18 months no parole. The judge accepted that plea and sentenced the client. The probation officer wrote no credit for time served but Rick argued that that is incorrect; the defendant got almost 9 months’ credit which means he is halfway done with his sentence already. Client and his wife are more than pleased. The client’s wife said " very satisfied with our decision to work with you guys"

  • Medical issues can complicate legal ones. Our HCK attorneys understand this.

Attorney Brian Jacobs had a client with criminal charges complicated by medical issues. EMTs were called to the client’s home due to a fall and having seizures. The client’s son alerted the responders that his mother had a history of seizures and strokes and could become violent. The EMTs did render assistance and after consulting with the physician did administer a sedative. The Client was transported to the hospital; before the restraints came off, the son did alert the nursing staff to his mother's condition and history of having seizures and also becoming combative. After the restraints came off, the client did punch one nurse in the face and kick another nurse in the face while being unruly and cursing according to the police reports. The nurses charged the client with assault on a healthcare worker.

The charges were downgraded from the county to Municipal Court. On the day of the second appearance, Brian, after conferencing with the prosecutor and discussing the client’s medical history, got the prosecutor to agree to dismiss the complaints (particularly because the nurses who were noticed did not appear for court.) The client was very happy to have the complaints dismissed without prejudice for six months. 

  • Be careful what you say, someone may be listening!

Our client was one of multiple defendants in a wiretap case. The wiretap of the main target produced multiple calls by our client buying heroin from the main target; the purchases totaled a second degree amount. In addition, the client openly discussed distributing CDS to "his people."  The prosecution’s plea offer was five years in prison. Criminal defense attorney Bob Luther applied for the client to be admitted to Drug Court; the State agreed to admit him. Our client will now be sentenced to probation and have his record expunged when he successfully completes probation.

  • Firearms offenses are extremely serious in New Jersey, and they carry heavy penalties.

Our client was charged with 2nd degree Graves Act offenses for a bar argument leading to him brandishing a handgun.  The client is a retired officer but not authorized to carry a firearm.  He was facing mandatory jail and loss of his pension. Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A. criminal defense attorney Rick Incremona convinced the Prosecutor to let the client into PTI (Pre Trial Intervention) under a Terroristic Threats charge and to dismiss the Firearm offense.

  • Some romantic situations can be very complicated. The Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A. team works together when our clients need support.

HCK’s client was involved in a tumultuous relationship with a paramour. During one of their squabbles, the client’s paramour filed criminal complaints alleging that he had stolen property from her business. Shortly after those allegations, she then indicated to a police officer, who had responded to her home after another squabble, that the client was in possession of a handgun.

The client is a convicted felon who is prohibited from possessing firearms. As a result of the allegations about a gun, the client was arrested and charged with possession of a firearm by a felon. This crime carries a mandatory sentence of 5 years without parole eligibility. Additionally, the same client was on probation for 2 prior convictions. The accusations resulted in the filing of violation of probation petitions with the sentencing court, thus exposing him to 10 potential additional years in prison.

With respect to the criminal complaints, Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A. attorney Dave Branco was able to have them dismissed by the Municipal Court. Attorney Ron Helmer took an audio recorded statement indicating that she had falsely accused the client of possessing the firearm which was, in fact, in her possession rather than his. Armed with that statement, Dave was eventually able to convince the Prosecutor's Office to have a grand jury “no bill” the firearm charges against the client. During the grand jury proceeding, the complainant paramour was indicted for falsely accusing the client of a crime.

Finally, even though merely being charged with a new criminal offense constitutes a violation of probation as pointed out by the sentencing judge at the violation of probation hearing, attorney Jim Conley was able to convince the prosecutor to recommend that the violation of probation petitions be dismissed. He convinced the judge to follow the recommendation of the prosecutor, which resulted in the dismissal of the violations of probation.

  • Drug cases are common. Clients who are interested in rehabilitation have more alternatives open to them than many would expect.

A client was charged with possession with intent to distribute TWENTY POUNDS of marijuana. He had a prior conviction for possession with intent to distribute CDS, so he was facing a mandatory extended term and could be sentenced to 20 years in prison with 10 years without parole. When attorney Bob Luther received an offer of prison for the client, he applied the client to Drug Court, which would result in a sentence of probation. When Bob's application was denied by the Prosecutor, he appealed. On the day of the court argument, Bob convinced the Prosecutor to withdraw his objection, and the client was admitted into Drug Court after pleading guilty to only possession of marijuana despite being caught with twenty pounds.

  • Land use variances can be very important to some clients.

Attorney John Shields appeared before a township zoning board seeking a use variance on behalf of a client, who is a disabled veteran with a successful business building engines for junior dragsters (miniature versions of drag racing cars for use in competitions involving children between the ages of 5 and 17). The board unanimously granted the variance despite the fact that the property is located in a tightly restricted mixed-use zone in New Jersey. HCK attorneys Bill Kearns and Skip Reale provided invaluable advice and guidance. The client was extremely pleased, as he has outgrown his existing home-based shop and now can grow his business significantly.

The attorneys also wanted to commend Lauren for her hard work and attention to detail on this application, and rightly so. Lauren handled the submission of multiple copies of documents, certified mailing of multiple notices of public hearing and tracking of return receipts/filing of proofs of service and notices of publication flawlessly. The behind-the-scenes work of our wonderful paralegals and legal assistants is critical to getting good results for clients. Their work is often not seen by the clients and others, and it should be celebrated too.

  • Alleged financial crimes are often complex and can have significant criminal penalties. Our attorneys represent clients in a variety of these matters. Three recent cases are summarized below.

One client was indicted by a County Prosecutor’s Office for theft and conspiracy in connection with the alleged mishandling of client funds, as a result of her employment by a social service provider.  The investigation by the local police department was incomplete. They failed to follow-up on suspects identified during the investigation, and relied upon the active involvement of the agency’s Executive Director who had been a defendant in the client’s successful wrongful termination action. The client vehemently denied any improper conduct. Attorney Skip Reale, through his prior experience, was aware that these allegations would have been the subject of an administrative investigation conducted by the Department of Human Services.   Skip established that existence of the state investigation was not disclosed by the service provider or the local detective. 

With the able assistance of attorney Jack Lipari, Skip was successful in obtaining an order directing the State DHS to provide the investigative report. That investigation had concluded the allegations were unsubstantiated under a lesser standard of proof and had developed exculpatory evidence that was not disclosed.  The client’s PTI (pre trial intervention) application was denied at the Program level.  The Prosecutor’s office refused to review that denial, even after Skip provided the State’s findings. Skip, again with the excellent assistance of Jack, filed an appeal of the PTI denial, as well as the County’s failure to review.  The Prosecutor’s office filed an opposition brief.  On the return date, Skip told the trial AP that Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A. would be trying the case and wanted to know when we could get a trial date.  That move lead to the PTI Assistant Prosecutor showing up to “negotiate” with Skip.

End result: After more than a year of not backing off, the client without any admission of guilt, was enrolled into the PTI program for 12 months, with the prospect of early termination.  Skip gives all the credit to Jack for his exceptional research and writing.  The client was very happy. 

  • Did you know that many of our attorneys are animal lovers? In fact, attorney Brian Jacobs frequently contributes pictures of his pets to our Facebook page. Cases involving animals can often cross legal disciplines, which is when our team legal approach can be especially helpful.

A client was charged with numerous ordinance violations for housing unlicensed dogs, maintaining an unlicensed animal kennel, and an associated zoning violation.  On the second court appearance the prosecutor objected to a postponement, which was requested to assist the client in applying for zoning variance application. Attorneys Brian Jacobs and Chris Pine met with the prosecutor, along with the 4 Vineland enforcement officials, and determined that a motion to delay the proceedings was unproductive. After 4+ hours discussing the case with officials, the case was resolved with a financial settlement. Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A. saved the client tens of thousands of dollars and avoided more charges. We imagine that the dogs were happy too.

  • New Jersey has a tough regulatory environment. Our attorneys understand those challenges and how to respond to them effectively.

Attorney Judith Schneider represented a restaurant targeted for a Wage and Hour Audit by the State. The client was facing excessive fines and penalties for various violations, exceeding close to 250k and possible loss of business. Judi met with the auditor on two occasions and assisted the client in obtaining the correct employment payroll, taxes and other documentation. After Judi’s negotiations with the auditor, he agreed to absolutely no fine or payment of any penalty. In addition, no violations were cited.  

  • Drug cases can be resolved in a number of ways. The attorneys at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A. are well versed in the nuances of the laws.

As a result of a motor vehicle stop, police seized 156 bags of heroin and 30 bags of cocaine from client’s car, and heroin from his person. The client was charged with 2nd degree possession with intent, 2nd degree park zone, school zone, etc.  and was offered 5 years in State Prison at PIC while represented by the public defender. Shortly thereafter, he hired Helmer, Conley & Kasselman. Attorney Howard Gilfert realized that despite the large number of bags of heroin, the net weight would surely be a 3rd degree quantity and called the prosecutor to discuss it.  The prosecutor agreed to hold off on an indictment and offer non-custodial probation if the lab result showed 3rd degree quantity. The lab report subsequently confirmed that the quantity was 3rd degree and client pled guilty to an accusation for non-custodial probation.  The prosecutor also agreed not to oppose hardship exception to the client’s driver’s license suspension, an important consideration since our client’s job involves driving.

  • The interface between criminal cases and immigration cases is complicated, and our criminal and immigration attorneys often work together to assist the client with the best possible outcome.

One client's family retained the firm in November 2017 because the client was charged with 1st Degree Aggravated Sexual Assault, exposing him to a minimum mandatory sentence of at least 20 years in State Prison.  Additionally, the client is a Mexican citizen, although he was brought to the US as a child and had DACA status. Attorney Barry Serebnick had an evaluation performed on our client for purposes of his original detention release from the County Jail.  ICE soon filed a detainer and immigration issues were created. While Barry could have successfully argued for the client’s release, that would have resulted in an immediate transfer to an immigration facility. Instead, Barry’s plan was to convince the Assistant Prosecutor to allow our client to testify at Grand Jury.  Barry had reviewed all of the initial discovery with the client and it was clear that the “victim” who claimed that our client assaulted her more than 7 years ago, had no credibility given her descriptions of the alleged events and the timing of the events. In January 2018, the client testified before the Grand Jury. After the conclusion of all of the testimony, the Grand Jury NO-BILLED the case against our client and all charges were dropped.

Knowing the immigration case would also be happening, Barry made arrangements for the client to marry his long-time (7 years) girlfriend.  Barry obtained a court order from the Assignment Judge for the Sheriff’s Department to transport the client to the Town Registrar to fill out the marriage license in person (which was a requirement) and also had the Court Order allow for the client to be transported to the Monmouth County Court house for a judge to perform the wedding. Our client married his fiancé, now wife, in January of 2018. This will be of immense help in the immigration proceedings as the client’s wife is a U.S. citizen and he has had no other problems with the law.

Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A. was formally retained by the family on the immigration case the day following the resolution of the criminal case. The client has now been transferred to an immigration facility and we are already working on getting him released on bond.

The client and his entire family are extremely grateful for our effective and efficient service.

  • Clients have rights with regard to how long the state or municipality has to prosecute a case. Our attorneys are attentive to these issues and protecting clients' rights.

Attorney Dave Branco had a client in Municipal Court charged with a disorderly drug offense. The case started from a motor vehicle stop back in July of 2017.  In October of 2017 we asked for a Holup order on the laboratory analysis which had not been provided in Discovery. The Holup order was due to expire on November 30th.  At the court appearance just prior to the deadline, the court noted that the state had a limited time in which to comply. When the next court date in January arrived and the discovery still had not been provided, the court promptly dismissed the charges against the client. The client was elated not to be facing that conviction, jail, and possible loss of license.

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