New Jersey’s Rape Shield Law
New Jersey’s Rape Shield Law is codified in New Jersey Statute 2C:14-7 and protects a victim’s prior sexual conduct unless a Judge rules that victim’s prior sexual conduct is relevant and highly material and meets the requirements of subsections c. and d. of 2C:14-7 and that the probative value of the evidence offered substantially outweighs its collateral nature or the probability that its admission will create undue prejudice, confusion of the issues, or unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the victim.
The defendant must raise this issue prior to trial unless the evidence is newly discovered and could not have been obtained earlier through the exercise of due diligence.
Additionally, the statute also prohibits evidence of which the victim was dressed at the time an offense was committed unless such evidence is determined by the court to be relevant and admissible in the interest of justice, after an offer of proof by the proponent of such evidence outside the hearing of the jury or at such hearing as the court may require.
The Bianchi Law Group, LLC
The Bianchi Law Group is made up of former trial prosecutors and other “of counsel” attorneys who have handled the investigations and prosecutions of most crimes in New Jersey and will defend you for all federal and state crimes in New Jersey including rape.
Former Rape Prosecutors
Founding Partner and Former Morris County Prosecutor Robert A. Bianchi has returned to private practice after running the operations of the entire Morris County Prosecutor’s Office having served as the Morris County Prosecutor for 5 and 1/2 years (2007-2013). Mr. Bianchi was appointed as the Morris County Prosecutor by the Governor of the State of New Jersey and unanimously confirmed by the New Jersey Senate in 2007. While serving as the Morris County Prosecutor, Mr. Bianchi ran the entire office’s operations, inclusive of all of its attorneys, detectives, and support staff with a budget of approximately 11 million dollars. His innovative programs and approach have led to numerous awards from State, Local, Municipal, business, and private entities. Robert Bianchi served on the Executive Board of the County Prosecutors’ Association and was one of the few prosecutors in many years to actually argue cases, motions, and sentences in court, and actually tried a murder case himself, which is extremely rare for a sitting county prosecutor.
Mr. Bianchi was previously a Hudson County Assistant Prosecutor (1989-1996) and thereafter a partner in the law firm Bianchi & Bianchi (1996-2007). Robert was one of the few attorneys in the State who qualified to handle death penalty cases when New Jersey had the death penalty.
Partner David J. Bruno has also returned to private practice after serving as Morris County Assistant Prosecutor (2007-2013). As an assistant prosecutor, Mr. Bruno prosecuted murder, major crimes, white collar, internal affairs, domestic violence, and elderly abuse cases. Additionally, Mr. Bruno handled fraud and Major Crimes investigations and successfully tried a wide variety of trials including securing convictions for several high profile murder cases. Read David Bruno’s full biography here.
In December 2012, then Prosecutor Bianchi and Assistant Prosecutor Bruno worked together to secure a murder conviction against Jose Feliciano for the violent death of Father Edward Hinds in at St. Patrick’s Church in Chatham, New Jersey. Mr. Feliciano was sentenced to life without parole.
Together, Robert A. Bianchi, David J. Bruno and other “of counsel” attorneys make up an aggressive, ethical, and results-oriented New Jersey Criminal Defense firm who handle all criminal, municipal and DUI/DWI cases in New Jersey including rape cases.
Certified Criminal Trial Attorneys by the New Jersey Supreme Court
Partners Robert A. Bianchi and David J. Bruno are also both certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a criminal trial Attorneys.
New Jersey Certified AttorneyIn New Jersey, the New Jersey Supreme Court has a certification committee which classifies certain New Jersey Lawyers as Certified Trial Attorneys. The process requires the prospective attorneys to satisfy a strict criteria including extensive jury trials, a primary focus in criminal law, an application submission, a peer review process, a character and background check and to pass a written examination. Only 250 of over 93,000 lawyers (less than 1%) are designated as certified criminal trial attorneys by the New Jersey Supreme Court. This should be an important factor in finding a New Jersey criminal defense attorney to represent you. Many New Jersey Lawyers describe themselves as trial attorneys but most do not have the New Jersey Court’s distinction as Certified Criminal Trial Attorney.
New Jersey’s Rape Shield Statute- 2C:14-7
2C:14-7. Admissibility of evidence:
a. In prosecutions for aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual contact, criminal sexual contact, endangering the welfare of a child in violation of N.J.S. 2C:24-4 or the fourth degree crime of lewdness in violation of subsection b. of N.J.S. 2C:14-4, evidence of the victim’s previous sexual conduct shall not be admitted nor reference made to it in the presence of the jury except as provided in this section. When the defendant seeks to admit such evidence for any purpose, the defendant must apply for an order of the court before the trial or preliminary hearing, except that the court may allow the motion to be made during trial if the court determines that the evidence is newly discovered and could not have been obtained earlier through the exercise of due diligence. After the application is made, the court shall conduct a hearing in camera to determine the admissibility of the evidence. If the court finds that evidence offered by the defendant regarding the sexual conduct of the victim is relevant and highly material and meets the requirements of subsections c. and d. of this section and that the probative value of the evidence offered substantially outweighs its collateral nature or the probability that its admission will create undue prejudice, confusion of the issues, or unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the victim, the court shall enter an order setting forth with specificity what evidence may be introduced and the nature of the questions which shall be permitted, and the reasons why the court finds that such evidence satisfies the standards contained in this section. The defendant may then offer evidence under the order of the court.
b. In the absence of clear and convincing proof to the contrary, evidence of the victim’s sexual conduct occurring more than one year before the date of the offense charged is presumed to be inadmissible under
c. Evidence of previous sexual conduct with persons other than the defendant which is offered by any lay or expert witness shall not be considered relevant unless it is material to proving the source of semen, pregnancy or disease.
d. Evidence of the victim’s previous sexual conduct with the defendant shall be considered relevant if it is probative of whether a reasonable person, knowing what the defendant knew at the time of the alleged offense, would have believed that the alleged victim freely and affirmatively permitted the sexual behavior complained of.
e. Evidence of the manner in which the victim was dressed at the time an offense was committed shall not be admitted unless such evidence is determined by the court to be relevant and admissible in the interest of justice, after an offer of proof by the proponent of such evidence outside the hearing of the jury or at such hearing as the court may require, and a statement by the court of its findings of fact essential to its determination. A statement by the court of its findings shall also be included in the record.
f. For the purposes of this section, “sexual conduct” shall mean any conduct or behavior relating to sexual activities of the victim, including but not limited to previous or subsequent experience of sexual penetration or sexual contact, use of contraceptives, sexual activities reflected in gynecological records, living arrangement and life style.
Trial Ready New Jersey Criminal Lawyers
Like in all of our cases handled at the Bianchi Law Group, our experienced staff of trial attorneys and “of counsel” attorneys are there to make sure the Government can prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. If our attorneys cannot resolve the case with a dismissal or a fair and just plea bargain, our lawyers at The Bianchi Law Group will not hesitate to select a jury and take the case to trial. That is what we do and what distinguishes us from other attorneys. We are former prosecutors, trial tested, and certified by the New Jersey Supreme Court as certified criminal trial attorneys… We will not hesitate to go to trial.
Contact Us Today for a Free Initial Consultation
Contact Former Morris County Prosecutor Robert A. Bianchi, Esq. and David J. Bruno, Esq. at The Bianchi Law Group, LLC online or call (862) 210-8570 to schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced New Jersey Defense Attorney.
At The Bianchi Law Group, we will take care to provide you Serious Attorneys for Serious Cases.