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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.

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


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.

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