A New Jersey police officer who had been on administrative leave following an on-duty shooting has been cleared of any wrongdoing following a grand jury investigation. The officer was Sgt. Kevin Clements, a 19-year veteran of the Deptford Police Force. He shot and killed a 36-year-old woman named LaShonda Anderson following a shoplifting incident at a department store. According to reports, Anderson attempted to run down Clements in her SUV following the shoplifting incident. Clements fired two shots, one of which struck and killed Anderson.
Being Charged with Murder in Deptford, NJ
Sgt. Clements’ situation was different than most murder charges in New Jersey. As an officer in the line of duty, a grand jury had to determine that Sgt. Clements had acted in a manner that violated his duty as an officer and rose to the level of murder. The grand jury in this instance found that he had acted within reason and in self-defense.
However, in situations involving civilians, grand juries are not necessary to bring charges for murder. In order to charge an individual with murder, prosecutors must find that probable cause exists that the individual committed the murder in question.
Murder Charges in New Jersey
Under New Jersey law, murder falls under the category of criminal homicide. Criminal homicide is defined in 2C:11-2 of the New Jersey Criminal Code as “purposely, knowingly, or recklessly” causing the death of another human being. Criminal homicide rises to the level of murder when an individual “purposely” or “knowingly” causes the death of another human being or causes serious injury that leads to death. This is also known as murder in the first degree and carries with it a penalty of no less than 30 years in prison.
The most common charges involving the criminal homicide of another person are:
- Murder, which requires a showing that the individual purposely or knowingly caused the death of another human being;
- Felony murder, which requires showing that the death occurred during the commission of a felony;
- Aggravated manslaughter, which requires a showing that the individual acted recklessly in a manner showing extreme indifference to human life, or that the person caused the death of another in attempt to evade law enforcement; and,
- Manslaughter, which requires a showing that the individual acted recklessly in causing the death of the another, or that the homicide was committed in the heat of passion resulting from reasonable provocation; and,
- Death by Auto, which requires a showing that the individual caused the death of another by recklessly operating a motor vehicle.
Being Charged with Criminal Homicide in Camden, NJ
If you have been arrested and charged with murder in New Jersey, it is incredibly important that you retain counsel as quickly as possible. An experienced New Jersey murder charge attorney will be able to properly advocate on your behalf, to try and reduce your bail and get you released while the charges are pending. From there, an experienced attorney will review the evidence against you and gather evidence in your favor to put together the best defense on your behalf.
Contact an Experienced Haddon Township Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Homicide Charges in New Jersey
Were you arrested or charged with homicide in New Jersey? The consequences of a conviction could be severe, leaving you with a permanent criminal record and possibly even sending you to jail. That is why you need to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case. The attorneys at The Law Office of Jill R. Cohen have successfully represented clients charged with homicide in Camden, Cherry Hill, Vorhees, Haddon Township, and throughout New Jersey. Call (856) 858-1500 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team. We have an office conveniently located at 210 Haddon Avenue, Westmont, NJ 08108.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.