Man Accused of Threat is Cleared

New Jersey Criminal Lawyers Schwartz Posnock

The Star Ledger

November 22, 2008

Man accused of threat on girlfriend cleared to be with her


A mediator who is accused of threatening to kill his live-in girlfriend is
free to have contact with her, a judge ruled yesterday, and the woman says
she feels safe with him.

J. L., 52, of Warren is accused of second-degree possession of a firearm
for an unlawful purpose and third-degree terroristic threats for incidents
that occurred Oct. 13 and 14 at his house.

J.L. is free on $50,000 bail, but Somerset County Assistant Prosecutor
Timothy Van Hise filed a motion asking a judge to revoke it after they
were seen at a coffee shop, and, in a letter, the woman told the
prosecutor she was again living with him.

J.L., who is a divorce and civil/commercial mediator, appeared before
Superior Court Judge Edward Coleman in Somerville yesterday, with defense
attorney Leslie Posnock. His girlfriend, C.P., testified the no-contact
condition is unnecessary.

A judge dismissed a temporary restraining order last month at C.P.'s
request, Posnock said.

Van Hise referred to the incidents that drew members of the county SWAT
team and hostage negotiators to the house Oct. 14 after C.P.'s son called

There were two consecutive nights involving threats and the use of
firearms, Van Hise said. "On one of those two nights, the firearm was
discharged," he said.

"She told her son of her concern and her fear," Van Hise said. "And she
was afraid for her life."

Lifting the temporary restraining order does not apply to the bail
condition in the criminal case, Van Hise said.

Posnock said the couple was not willfully violating the no-contact
provision. C.P., a criminal defense attorney, and J.L. believed dissolving
the temporary restraining order on Oct. 30 also took care of the
no-contact order a criminal judge imposed with bail Oct. 15.

"They're very open about their relationship," Posnock said. Officer Ronald
Roselli saw them at Starbucks. "In fact, when they saw Mr. Roselli, Ms.
C.P. greeted him," Posnock said.

C.P. told the judge they believed "everything was clear for us to be
openly together." J.L. "was following my lead, because I approached him."

She added that she wrote the prosecutor's office in response to their
inquiry about whether she would feel safe if they returned the weapons to
J.L. She also wrote asking them to drop the case.

C.P. refused to discuss what transpired the night when local police
responded to the home and then requested the SWAT team.

J.L. emerged from the rear with two dogs, and officials were able to
arrest him, Prosecutor Wayne Forrest has said. Police found six handguns
and two shotguns, one of them a loaded handgun he allegedly had brandished
Oct. 13.

Coleman refused the prosecution's request to revoke J.L.'s bail, in part
heeding C.P.'s testimony that she did not fear him.

Defense attorney David Schwartz hailed Coleman's decision as the right one.

"The parties are two adults who are very well aware of their rights and
obligations under the law, who have a long-standing relationship together,
who knowingly and voluntarily are planning a further relationship,"
Schwartz said. The house is J.L.'s, and it would be unfair to bar him from
the dwelling and a hardship for C.P., he said.

"These court rulings need to be tailored to the specific situations at
hand," he said. "Prosecutors don't understand that. They . . . too often
see things in black and white."
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