Post-Conviction Relief Results
Post-Conviction Relief Result #1 – In 1996, Rodney Roberts was charged with rape and kidnapping in Essex County, New Jersey. Despite being innocent, Rodney Roberts pled guilty to kidnapping after his public defender told him the 17 year old victim picked him out from a lineup. Seventeen years later with the help of Mr. Pastacaldi and DNA evidence, Mr. Roberts would be exonerated and released from civil commitment. For Rodney’s full story, you may click on the link to reference the 2014 New Jersey Law Journal article.
Post-conviction Relief Result #2 – Client was a non-citizen from Macedonia who pled guilty to distribution of a controlled dangerous substance charge in 2003 in Passaic County, New Jersey and received a probationary sentence. In 2018, he was detained ICE (Immigration Customs Enforcement) who sought to deport him due to this conviction. Client retained Mr. Pastacaldi who filed a post-conviction relief petition in Passaic County Superior Court. After filing a detailed brief with documents supporting an ineffective assistance of counsel claim of client’s trial attorney, who misrepresented his deportation consequences. After reviewing Mr. Pastacaldi’s submissions, the prosecutor agreed to vacate the conviction.
Post-conviction Relief Result #3 – Client was a non-citizen from Costa Rica who pled guilty to the crime of using a false driver’s, a third degree offense, in Somerset County Superior Court in 2003. In 2018, ICE detained him and sought his deportation due to this conviction. Client retained Mr. Pastacaldi who reviewed his criminal file and saw that his first attorney had never advised him of his right to enter the Pre-trial Intervention program, which would have ultimately dismissed the charges against him. Mr. Pastacaldi filed the post-conviction relief petition alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. The judge granted the post-conviction relief petition, and he vacated the conviction. The charges were later dismissed.
Post-Conviction Relief Result #4 – Client was a non-citizen from Latvia who was on the verge of deportation due to a 2010 conviction in Hudson County Superior for distribution of a controlled dangerous substance. He had been in ICE custody for over a year when he retained Mr. Pastacaldi who filed a post-conviction relief petition in Hudson County Superior Court. The judge granted the petition and vacated the conviction after finding a “manifest injustice” in the plea process. After this decision, client was released from ICE custody.
Post-Conviction Relief Result #5 – Client was a legal permanent resident of the United States and had come here when he was a small boy with his mother from Jamaica. He was now in his 40’s, and he resided in Bergen County, New Jersey with his wife and two children. In 2017, client was detained by ICE due to a 2004 conviction for distribution of a controlled dangerous substance. He retained Mr. Pastacaldi who obtained all the necessarily criminal records to file a petition for post-conviction relief. Mr. Pastacaldi filed the post-conviction relief petition showing that client was never advised of the deportation consequences of the plea. Upon review of the petition, the prosecutor agreed to vacate the conviction. ICE then dismissed the deportation case against the client.
Criminal Defense Results
Aggravated assault and robbery – client was charged with aggravated assault and robbery on an off-duty corrections officer in Bayonne. Client had a prior criminal record and facing the possibly of 10 years in jail on serious charges. After filing a motion to suppress, the matter was resolved with no probation or jail time and a $150 fine.
Indictable drug offense – client was charged with heroin possession with prior offenses. Through filing the appropriate motions, client’s charges were ultimately dismissed.
Illegal gambling offense – client was charged with running an illegal sports book, an offense carrying heavy penalties in New Jersey. Client was also a non-citizen and facing deportation if convicted. Client’s charges were dismissed after evidentiary issues in the case were raised.
Domestic violence – client was charged with assault by his former girlfriend. After an investigation yielded ulterior motives on the part of the former girlfriend, the charges were dismissed.
Simple assault – client was charged with simple assault due to a bar fight. A cross-complaint was filed which ultimately resulted in dismissal of the charges.
Harassment – client was charged with harassment due to a downstairs neighbor’s complaints. The matter went to a full trial. After the State rested, the judge granted Mr. Pastacaldi’s motion for a direct verdict and dismissed all charges against his client.
DYFS Child Abuse Results
DYFS v. C. M. – DYFS filed a verified complaint charging defendant with abuse and neglect of his child due to unexplained fractures in his infant child. After a full trial, the court considered evidence showing that the injuries likely resulted from accidental means. The court found the parents did not child abuse or neglect their infant. Client was exonerated and infant was returned to parents.
DYFS v. M. P. – DYFS accused defendant of inappropriate sexual contact with his step-daughter. At trial, cross-examination yielded a host of inconsistent statements in the reports ultimately resulting in client being exonerated.
DYFS v. A.G. – Client was accused of using excessive corporal punishment on her ten year old son. After investigations, the alleged victim confessed he fabricated the incident. At trial, with the introduction of the recantation and inconsistencies in the State’s case brought out in cross-examination, the judge found parent did not abuse or neglect his child and exonerated him.
DCPP v. C. N. – client was accused of abuse and neglect for abandoning her teenage daughter. At trial, cross-examination of the DYFS case worker revealed that the teenager was a repeat runaway and despite mother’s diligent efforts to protect her daughter such as filing a missing persons report, she could not keep her from running away. The court found client did not abuse or neglect her daughter.