Some suspects are charged with additional crimes after plans for large scale illegal activities are found. Laws related to terrorism and hate crimes may be used to hand down lengthy sentences in these situations.
Investigations into a Jersey City shooting that was labelled a hate crime have uncovered new information.
Two shooting suspects had planned a terror spree
The victims of the shooting included one law enforcement officer and three other bystanders. Those investigating the case are now calling the incident a domestic act of terror. They learned that the attack on the Kosher grocery store was planned for months and more violence was going to follow.
Law enforcement discovered elaborate plans for additional attacks. Surveillance video showed them casing the store before the incident, and prosecutors learned that they were making notes and internet searches related to more shootings and crime.
The assistant U.S. Attorney assigned to the case found a stockpile of weapons and guns that were purchased in Ohio in 2018. The two suspects had been practicing at a gun range and rented a U-Haul that they planned to fill with explosives. The truck would also be used as a getaway vehicle. One of the suspects had been using hateful language towards Jewish people and it appears he was planning some other kind of attack on a Jewish Community Center in Bayonne, New Jersey as well. The stolen van that they used on the day of the attack had plans inside related to the construction of explosive devices. Authorities believe that these devices would have been used in other attacks shortly afterward if the two suspects had gotten away.
The severity of crimes related to terrorism
The U.S. government has made attempts to give suspects charged with crimes related to terrorism less protections than many other criminal defendants. There were previous attempts to label such individuals as enemy combatants rather than mere criminals under the Bush administration. However, courts have consistently ruled that the constitution guarantees all people charged with crimes certain procedural rights, regardless of the classification that the government uses.
What does the constitution say?
All criminal defendants have a right to a fair trial within a reasonable time period, and their guilt must be proven by the government beyond all reasonable doubt. People facing criminal charges are also required to have an attorney if they are facing jail time. The government provides public defenders for those who cannot afford their own lawyer.
Get help after being charged with a crime
There are defense attorneys in the Jersey City area who are available to assist you. Eric M. Mark is an experienced lawyer who helps local clients fight the state’s charges.