On what grounds can I seek a new trial?
Twenty-five years ago, Michelle Lodzinski reported her five-year old son Timothy Wiltsey missing. Lodzinski claimed that Timmy disappeared while they were attending a carnival in Sayreville, New Jersey. Despite a massive search effort, the boy was not found. Over a year after his disappearance, Timothy’s remains were located in a marsh close to where his mother once worked. Nearly two decades after this grisly discovery, prosecutors officially charged Lodzinski with the murder of her son.
Lodzinski stood trial this past summer in a Middlesex County courthouse. After hearing eight weeks of testimony, the New Jersey jury comprised of seven men and five women convicted Lodzinski of murder. She was remanded to custody for sentencing this August. Now, however, instead of issuing a sentence, the judge presiding over Lodzinski’s case will hear a defense motion calling for a new trial or judgment of acquittal.
Request for Judgment of Acquittal or New Trial
Motions for new trial or judgment of acquittal can be based on several grounds, including newly discovered evidence or in the interest of justice. Lodzinski’s defense attorney is requesting the verdict be set aside in the interest of justice for two reasons: a lack of evidence and an issue with the jury. During the trial, several witnesses expressed trouble recollecting certain details about the case due to the 25 years that passed between Timmy’s disappearance and the trial. The strongest piece of evidence was a blanket found near the body and the location of the body itself, with little other concrete evidence presented.
Additionally, Lodzinski took issue with the removal of the jury foreperson just days before the verdict was rendered. During jury deliberations, the jury foreperson was removed by the judge for personal reasons following individual questioning of each jury member for an undisclosed reason.
While it is not uncommon for defense attorneys to move for a new trial after a conviction, it is rare for a judge to grant such a motion. If you have been charged or convicted of a crime in New Jersey, the criminal defense attorneys at Sitzler and Sitzler can help. Contact us today at (609) 267-1101 to schedule your free consultation.