State v. Libardo
Submitted by New Jersey Sex Crime Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark.
This case, State v. Libardo, is an appeal from defendant from convictions of aggravated sexual contact, endangerment, luring, and criminal restraint in 2017. Defendant was sentenced eight-year prison sentence. The Superior Court agreed with the appeal and reversed, stating the trial court erred in admitting both expert testimony of Child Sexual Assault Accommodation Syndrome (“CSAAS”) and a few pieces of evidence.
In 2013, defendant had a party for his nephew’s first communion. The alleged victim “L.A.” was attending the party and fifteen years old at the time of the incident. Defendant’s girlfriend claimed that he did not drink alcohol that day, but L.A. claimed that he approached her with his breath smelling of alcohol. L.A. alleged that defendant asked her to go speak with him, and that he pushed her arm. She stated that defendant locked her into the basement and sexually violated her. L.A. went to defendant’s stepson immediately after the invents and told him what transpired. L.A. returned to defendant’s house for other events and after a year or so, revealed her recollection of the events. The trial court allowed the State to present expert testimony from a Psy. Doctor on CSAAS and introduced L.A.’s statements to her mother and godmother as fresh complaints. Defendant was convicted.
The Superior Court in this case reversed, for the following reasons. First, the court stated that evidence of CSAAS through expert testimony is inadmissible as it is no longer accepted science. The court went on to say that the information was presented to explain the delay, but due to recent supreme court rulings it was admitted and simply confused the jury. Therefore, the trial court erred admitted such evidence. The court also stated that L.A.’s confession to her mother and godmother were not admissible under the fresh-complaint doctrine. The court reasoned that L.A. did not stay silent, as necessary under the doctrine, as she went out of her way to tell defendant’s stepson immediately following the event. Thus, the case was reversed and remanded.
At Hark & Hark we represent clients in criminal matters who were involved with convictions stemming from improper admissions of evidence. We vigorously defend our clients by fighting to make sure courts comply with current rulings so you don’t get convicted due to the improper admission of evidence. We offer payment plan options to clients financially incapable of providing full payment upfront. If you are facing any type of criminal charge, please call us to discuss the matter. At Hark & Hark, we represent clients for any case in any county in New Jersey including Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Mercer, Ocean, and Salem Counties.