Do you know the expression snitches get stitches? Contrary to street knowledge, however, New Jersey authorities want to combat witness tampering. Indeed, Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office (MCPO) investigators recently charged a Deal police officer with witness tampering and other offenses. But MCPO did not elaborate on the accusations. Instead, the authorities claim the investigation is ongoing. Additionally, the defendant is a fourteen year veteran cop. But this credential did not curry favor with the charging authorities. Instead, the county cops charged the local cop with witness tampering, conspiracy to possess cocaine, and possession of marijuana. More specifically, the witness tampering complaint alleges conduct contrary to N.J.S.A. 2c:28-5a(1). To illustrate, this prohibits causing a witness to testify or inform falsely.
Meanwhile, Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni, who took office in July 2012, is bragging that this is the 15th prosecution of a law enforcement officer under his leadership. But how is that fodder for bragging rights? Additionally, how does this instill confidence in the law abiding public? Furthermore, will the numbers grow or is this the end of police corruption in Monmouth County? Moreover, will the authorities investigate those who enabled the corruption? Indeed, how deep is the pit, and how dirty does the Prosecutor really want to get?
Witness Tampering, N.J.S.A. 2c:28-5
A person commits an offense if, believing that an official proceeding or investigation is pending or about to be instituted or has been instituted, he knowingly engages in conduct which a reasonable person would believe would cause a witness or informant to:
- Testify or inform falsely;
- Withhold any testimony, information, document or thing;
- Elude legal process summoning him to testify or supply evidence;
- Absent himself from any proceeding or investigation to which he has been legally summoned; or
- Otherwise obstruct, delay, prevent or impede an official proceeding or investigation.
Witness tampering is a crime of the first degree if the conduct occurs in connection with an official proceeding or investigation involving any crime enumerated in subsection d. of section 2 of P.L.1997, c.117 (C.2C:43-7.2) and the actor employs force or threat of force. Witness tampering is a crime of the second degree if the actor employs force or threat of force. Otherwise, witness tampering is a crime of the third degree. Privileged communications may not be used as evidence in any prosecution for violations of paragraph (2), (3), (4) or (5).
b. Retaliation against witness or informant.
A person commits an offense if he harms another by an unlawful act with purpose to retaliate for or on account of the service of another as a witness or informant. The offense is a crime of the second degree if the actor employs force or threat of force. Otherwise it is a crime of the third degree.
c. Witness or informant taking bribe.
A person commits a crime of the third degree if he solicits, accepts or agrees to accept any benefit in consideration of his doing any of the things specified in subsection a. (1) through (5) of this section.<
d. Bribery of a witness or informant.
A person commits a crime of the second degree if he directly or indirectly offers, confers or agrees to confer upon a witness or informant any benefit in consideration of the witness or informant doing any of the things specified in subsection a. (1) through (5) of this section.
e. Sentencing Provisions
Notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S.2C:1-8, N.J.S.2C:44-5 or any other provision of law, a conviction arising under this section shall not merge with a conviction of an offense that was the subject of the official proceeding or investigation and the sentence imposed pursuant to this section shall be ordered to be served consecutively to that imposed for any such conviction.
Did the cops charge you with a crime?
New Jersey Criminal Lawyer Michael A. Smolensky, Esquire, knows how to protect his clients. Mr. Smolensky can provide confidential consultations in all cases involving Witness Tampering under N.J.S.A. 2c:28-5.