Jonathan Koppenhaver aka War Machine found and arrested for assault on Christy Mack

Jonathan Koppenhaver aka War Machine found and arrested for assault on Christy Mack

War Machine, whose real name is Jonathan Koppenhaver has been found and arrested in California by US Marshalls.  The manhunt received a lot of media attention and social media has played a big part in the development of the story.  First, Christy Mack posted her version of the events and pictures of the alleged assault on Twitter.  Meanwhile, War Machine also took to Twitter to imply that he would rely on the defense of self defense.  However, he indicated that he was afraid that cops would not be fair so he didn’t know what he would do.  Clearly, he went on the run.  Even celebrity bounty hunter Duane “Dog” Chapman, better known as “Dog the Bounty Hunter indicated that he would help in the search for War Machine but it appears that he didn’t do anything to help in the capture.

What is undisputed is that War Machine went to Mack’s home and as a result, an assault occurred.  Apparently, Mack was at her home with another man who was reportedly thrown out of the house.  Mack then alleged that War Machine assaulted her, cut off her hair, tried to rape her and almost killed her.  War Machine hasn’t presented his side of the story but it will be difficult for him to argue self defense because 1) Mack is a woman, 2) her injuries are likely much more severe than War Machine’s (assuming he has any), 3) the “fresh complaint” of Mack running naked to a neighbor for help shows that she did not have time to fabricate a story, 4) the other man who was thrown out can verify Mack’s story, 5) if War Machine was innocent, he would have called the police himself instead of going on the run and 6) as a trained professional fighter, its nearly impossible to claim that someone such as Mack or this other man used so much force against him that he could not fight them off easily.

Of course, having the name War Machine isn’t going to help.  His lawyer will likely ask the court to exclude any references to that moniker.

Story is here.

Will Tony Stewart be arrested and charged with murder?

On Saturday night at Canandaigua (N.Y.) Motorsports Park, Tony Stewart and Kevin Ward Jr were racing in a sprint cup race, which is raced on modified cars on a dirt track.  Although known for his success with NASCAR, Stewart, like other drivers, also participate in other races as well.  About half way through the race, Ward was spun out by Stewart.   Racing officials slowed the race with a yellow caution  flag and Ward got out of his car to confront Stewart who was still racing in his car.

It is undisputed that as Stewart approached Ward, Stewart’s right rear tire hit Ward, dragging him underneath and then throwing him down the track.  Ward was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.  Amateur video was posted to YouTube, taken down and has since been resposted.  While the video is tragic, it is important to view from a legal perspective.  Unfortunately, it does not show the entire track, just the part where Ward crashed and is then struck.

The incident is being investigated by Ontario County Sheriff Philip Povero.  Stewart was questioned after the crash and the Sheriff indicated that he was fully cooperating.  He also described Stewart as visibly shaken by this accident and has indicated that he was not conducting a criminal investigation.

However, that hasn’t stopped many on various websites and social media to debate whether this was intentional and thus, whether Stewart will and/or should be charged with murder (or some other crime).   Some have suggested that Stewart has a history of playing very dirty, even more so than his reputation would suggest.  Some have suggested that while other cars slowed, he hit the throttle as he got close to Ward.  Others suggest that Ward is to blame by walking out into an active raceway.  The debate is fueled by those who are fans of Stewart or those that hate him for various reasons having nothing to do with this accident.   Thus, I decided to take an objective look at this issue to detail the various issues the District Attorney will face when deciding how to pursue this case.

1.  Celebrity Status

The first thing the DA will run into here is that if they decide to charge Tony Stewart is his celebrity status.  This will easily be the trial of the decade.  He has the money to assemble the next dream team.  Ontario County has a total population of 100,000 people.  Thus, this is small town America and with all due respect to the DA, they may find it very difficult to deal with the crush of publicity that such a prosecution would bring.  In addition, they may not have the manpower to handle the attack of Stewart’s dream team.  We can all debate as to whether or not celebrities get special treatment, but lets face it, it happens.

2.  Lack of intent

Stewart did not hit Ward with the front of his car; Ward was struck by the right rear tire as the car skidded out.  Clearly if one wanted to intentionally strike Ward, he would be run over with the front of the car.  More importantly, it would be obvious to anyone, but especially Stewart, that striking someone head on at high speed would surely cause serious injury if not death.  For one to believe that Stewart had such an intent would require Stewart to suddenly decide to throw his entire career away to possibly cause the death of another drive.  Stewart would have to suffer some type of psychotic break for this to happen and I based upon his reaction after the crash, this does not seem likely at all.

3.  Recklessness vs. invited risk

This seems like the best path for the DA to build a case but it is not without its own problems.    They will have to look at it this way: out of all of the cars on the track, why is it that Stewart’s car is the one that hit Ward?   Of course, one can argue that Ward was going to confront Stewart so he placed himself closer to his car. If I am the DA, I would want to see the entire lap. Did Stewart’s car go faster than the other cars or otherwise act differently?  When was Stewart able to see Ward out of his car?  Keep in mind that these cars are going fast and are not easy to control.  There are other cars on the track to look out for and the drivers are strapped in, have visors on their helmets and have limited neck movement.  Furthermore, the track doesn’t have a lot of room and you cannot just slam on your brakes like you can in a normal car.  One also doesn’t expect that drivers will start walking around on the track even under caution.

Once the DA can figure out when Stewart saw Ward, his actions at that point will be scrutinized millisecond by millisecond.  Does Stewart have a split second to react or more?  Some have argued on social media that Stewart saw Ward and was attempting to scare him or kick dirt on him which is why his car speeds up and skids out.  As a result, (if true) this was in fact an accident but one that was caused by Stewart acting recklessly.  So while Stewart did not act intentionally, his recklessness in attempting to get back at Ward for chasing after him caused the accident which led to Ward’s death.  While Ward would not be charged with murder (since same requires intent) he could be charged with a lesser form of homicide such as manslaughter.

However, just about every sporting event has a level of invited danger that is built into the participation of that sport.  Its the reason why football players are not charged when one player seriously hurts another.  In racing, it is expected that crashes will occur and sometimes, people get seriously hurt or even die.  Thus, it may be very difficult to prove that Stewart was acting recklessly when the very nature of racing on a dirt track involves bumps, spin outs and crashes with cars that are difficult to control.  Furthermore, Ward, a young but experienced driver, knew the dangers of walking on a track and approaching a speeding car.  A defense team would argue that the dangerous nature of the sport itself combined with Ward’s own conduct led to an unfortunate accident and that Stewart did not act recklessly.

4.  Stewart’s statement

The most crucial piece of evidence will be Stewart’s own statement.  It is impossible to get in the head of another person so police typically rely upon statements from the accused to build a case.  Here, Stewart spoke with law enforcement right away without an attorney present.  This statement will be scrutinized up and down to determine if he admitted to anything that can be used against him or if he lied.  For example, if he stated that he saw Ward and was attempting to kick dirt on him, that would help support a case for reckless homicide as indicated above.  However, if he indicated that he did not see Ward until the last minute and swerved to avoid him, that would help show that this was just an accident.  On the other hand, there may be other evidence such as a dash cam in Stewart’s car (that may or may not exist) that could show that his story is not accurate.  In that event, his lies will be used to show that he not only acted recklessly but he attempted to cover it up.

Conclusion

Its way too early to draw any conclusions as to what will happen here.  The DA will likely take its time to analyze every possible aspect of this case to either bring a good case against Stewart or to demonstrate that they did not give Stewart any special treatment by declining prosecution.

 

 

Story on Forbes is here

Vehicular Homicide charges filed in Middlesex County crash

Andrew Frazell has been arrested and charged with two counts of vehicular homicide in Middlesex County.  Police say that he was driving the wrong way on an entrance ramp onto the parkway.  He then allegedly crahsed into another car causing the death of two people.

New Jersey Vehicular Homicide Lawyer

Mental Health Expungements in New Jersey

If you have had a commitment in a mental health institution, there will be a record of your commitment kept by the County Adjuster’s Office.  This record of commitment gets entered into a database that can seriously impact a person’s rights.  Quite often, clients contact us because they are looking to get a gun permit.  Without a mental health expungement, obtaining a purchase permit or firearms ID card may be impossible.  Even if one can obtain the permit, a NICS denial may make the permit worthless.

Our team of lawyers can help you with your mental health expungement in New Jersey.  Call us at 732-773-2768 to discuss your case.

Filing a Motion to Vacate a FRO in New Jersey

In New Jersey, a final restraining order is forever unless a judge dismisses it in response to a motion filed by either party. Quite often, it is the Defendant who wants to dismiss the FRO against him or her. There are actually two ways to do this, although almost all motions are the same. I’ll first address the one most people don’t know about.

Vacating a FRO pursuant to R. 4:50-1

A final restraining order in New Jersey is like any other and is therefore subject to Court Rule 4:50-1. This issue is lost among many lawyers and in fact, some judges don’t agree that this rule applies to FROs. However, the case law makes it clear that such a motion is proper. We knows this because this firm was successful on appeal for just such a motion. This motion attacks the procedural aspects of the FRO itself and not the merits. For example, in the case that we won on appeal, the defendant was not made aware of the serious consequences of an FRO. As a result, same was vacated pursuant to this rule. As judges become more familiar with the procedural aspects of domestic violence proceedings in New Jersey, these motions will be less viable. However, if the FRO is older, this motion may be successful.

Dismissing a FRO pursuant to Carfagno

Just about every single motion filed to dismiss a final restraining order in New Jersey is done pursuant to Carfagno v. Carfagno. That cases sets forth several factors that the court must look at to determine if such a motion should be granted. Keep in mind that dismissing a final restraining order is the exception and not the rule. It can be very difficult to win one of these motions if it is not filed correctly. Thus, these motions must be well thought out and hard hitting. There is no real time limit for these motions to be filed but in general, the longer the time period between the entry of the FRO and the motion, the greater the chance of success.

Our team of tough, smart lawyers have been successful in helping clients dismiss FROs in courts across New Jersey. Call us anytime at 732-773-2768 to discuss your case and how we can help you.

 

Defending against a restraining order in New Jersey

Our team of tough, smart lawyers have been successful at defending clients against restraining orders across New Jersey. Unfortunately, too many people go to court without a lawyer or they choose the wrong lawyer. Many of these people think that the restraining order hearing is not serious, that the other side will drop it or that they can just explain the situation to the judge. Far too many are wrong.

This is not a case where you can see what happens and then hire a lawyer. If you lose this case, you will have a final restraining order issued against you. This can last forever and can lead to very serious consequenes. Do not make this same mistake.

When you hire our lawyes to defend agaisnt your TRO, we will come up with a strategy to fight the case. We will perform the necessary research in an effort to craft winning legal arguments. We will prepare you for trial so that your testimony,if needed, will come across as credible. We will them combine all of these efforts to fight the case at trial.

No matter what court your case is in, call us at 732-773-2768 to discuss your case.

New Jersey TRO Lawyers

Kevin Roper charged with Vehicular Homicide in Tracy Morgan Crash

The situation with Kevin Roper has been clarified after this weekend’s horrific crash in Middlesex County.  Reports are now indicating that Roper was awake for more than 24 hours before the crash. It will be interesting to find out exactly why he was awake so long.  Was he trying to rush for personal reasons?  Or was there pressure from Wal-Mart (or some other company) to finish his run by a certain time?

Story is here

New Jersey Vehicular Homicide Lawyers

Driver in Tracy Morgan crash charged with Death by Auto in Middlesex County

Kevin Roper of Jonesboro, Ga has been charged with one count of death by auto and four counts of assault by auto in Middlesex County. He is the driver of the truck that hit a limousine bus carrying comedian Tracy Morgan among others. The crash killed comediain Jimmy Mack aka James McNair. Tracy Morgan and others were seriously hurt in the crash and were taken to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in New Brunswick.

Rober turned himself into the State Police on Saturday night. He was accompanied by his attorney. After being processed, he was released after posting a $50,000 bail.

News article is here.

Middlesex County Death by Auto Lawyers

Loitering for the purpose of engaging in prostitution and soliciting prostitution charges in Wall Township for 15 men

Fifteen men were charged with with loitering for the purpose of engaging in prostitution and soliciting prostitution.  This came after the State Police assisted members of the Wall police department with an undercover operation at a local motel during the first week of April.  The ment arrested ranged in age between the ages of 20 to 61 and reside in Wall, Berkeley, Eatontown, Asbury Park, Middletown, Lakewood, Neptune, Toms River, Hazlet, Piscataway, Stafford and Howell.

 

If you have been charged with loitering for the purpose of engaging in prostitution and soliciting prostitution in Wall Township or any other town in New Jersey, call us today at 732-773-2768 to discuss.

Story is here.

Two Ferrari drivers charged with vehicular homicide in New Jersey

Two men, have been indicted on aggravated manslaughter charges in the death of a Kinnelon man who was killed when he was hit head-on while riding his motorcycle in East Rutherford, New Jersey in May 2012. A Bergen County grand jury also charged Joseph Ferretti and Joseph Meyer in the indictment with vehicular homicide for reckless driving which led to the death of 56-year-old Stephen Lenge, the owner of a popular record store in Cliffside Park. Lenge, a married father of two teenage daughters, was riding his motorcycle to work shortly before 8 a.m. on Mother’s Day heading for the weekend’s Electric Daisy Carnival music festival at MetLife Stadium.
Police said Ferretti and Meyer were driving Ferraris on Berry’s Creek Road when Meyer lost control while negotiating a curve. Ferretti, who was behind him, then lost control of his car and crossed over into oncoming traffic, hitting Lenge head-on according to police. Both were driving “at a high rate of speed,” police said, on a road where the speed limit is 25 mph. Lenge was pronounced dead at the scene while Meyer and Ferretti were taken to an area hospital where they were treated for minor to moderate injuries and released. Both men could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted of the aggravated manslaughter charges.
– See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/news/two-ferrari-drivers-indicted-in-east-rutherford-death-of-kinnelon-motorcyclist-1.839335#sthash.ZjOKT9mx.dpuf

Bergen County Vehicular Homicide Lawyers

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