About Clifford E. Lazzaro, P.C.
After gaining invaluable courtroom trial experience as an Assistant Prosecutor in the Essex County Prosecutor's Office for four years and then as a Special Deputy Attorney General for the State of New Jersey for...
After gaining invaluable courtroom trial experience as an Assistant Prosecutor in the Essex County Prosecutor's Office for four years and then as a Special Deputy Attorney General for the State of New Jersey for one year, Clifford E. Lazzaro established his boutique law firm, Clifford E. Lazzaro, P.C., in 1997. His law firm is focused on the areas of criminal law as well as family and matrimonial law.
Tough Representation from a Smart, Experienced Attorney
From the time his law firm was established, Clifford E. Lazzaro has demonstrated a high level of expertise in effectively handling each aspect of the court process, from negotiation to litigation. He delves into the unique facts of each case and develops innovative strategies to achieve the best results for each client. His dedication to personalized representation is shown in the results. Clifford E. Lazzaro, P .C. regularly handles criminal cases throughout New Jersey as well as the Federal District Court of New Jersey, and the Federal District Court of New York, Eastern District and Southern District. The firm has also argued matters before the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
Clifford E. Lazzaro has formidable trial skills honed over a 26 year period and can lead your case to a favorable outcome. Clifford E. Lazzaro began his legal career as an Assistant Prosecutor in the Essex County Prosecutor's Office from 1988 to 1992 and also served as a Special Deputy Attorney General for the State of New Jersey from 1991 to 1992. During his time in the Prosecutor's Office, he presented over a 1,000 cases to the Grand Jury and conducted approximately 30 jury trials and over 15 bench trials. Clifford E. Lazzaro has been a criminal defense attorney since 1992. Clifford E. Lazzaro graduated from New York University in 1981, where he received his BA. and from Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center in 1985, where he received his JD.
Clifford E. Lazzaro, P.C. has an active Trial and active Appellate practice.
Clifford E. Lazzaro, P.C. has an active Family and Matrimonial Law and Municipal Court practice.
Clifford E. Lazzaro, P.C. is a law firm dedicated to providing it's clients with aggressive, experienced and affordable trial and appellate representation.
Clifford E. Lazzaro, P.C. has successfully and aggressively litigated on behalf of it's clients in the following areas:
Clifford E. Lazzaro is an experienced criminal defense attorney engaged in the full time practice of all criminal matters in all jurisdictions of the New Jersey Superior Court and the New Jersey and New York Federal Courts, The firm concentrates on Criminal Defense matters involving Racketeering, Drug Distribution Offenses and Suppression Motions regarding Illegal Searches and Seizures inside a home, business or automobile; Suppression Motions Challenging the admissibility of Coerced and Involuntary Statements; Admissibility of Recorded Evidence (Wiretaps); Audio Tape and Video Tape Admissibility; Drug Possession Offenses; Racial Profiling; Aggravated Sexual Assault; Sexual Assault; Aggravated Criminal Sexual Contact; Sexual Contact; All Sex Crimes Involving Allegations of Child Abuse; Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006; Megan's Law; Tier Classification Hearings; Endangering the Welfare of a Child; Distribution of Child Pornography; Possession of Child Pornography; Internet Crimes; Prostitution Crimes; Murder; Aggravated Manslaughter; Manslaughter; Death By Auto or Vessel While Intoxicated; Assault By Auto; Eluding; Robbery; Aggravated Assault; Terroristic Thrents; Weapons Offenses; Kidnapping; Criminal Restraint; Stalking; Theft Related Offenses; Burglary; Receipt of Stolen Property; Joyriding; Bad Checks; Computer Crimes; Aggravated Identity Theft; Credit Card Fraud; Bank Fraud; Wire Fraud; Mail Fraud; Stock Fraud; White Collar Crime; Money Laundering; Federal and State Criminal Tax Violations; RICO; Gambling Offenses; Asset Seizure and Forfeiture; Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) Applications; Drug Court Applications; Intensive Supervision Program (ISP) Applications; and Trials and Appeals.
Clifford E. Lazzaro has successfully represented individuals or businesses charged with multiple Federal and State Criminal Tax Violations. The IRS has established a special unit dedicated to investigating criminal violations of the Internal Revenue Code and related financial crimes including money laundering, wire fraud, currency crimes, antitrust violations and Bank Secrecy Act violations. The Criminal Investigation Division (CI) of the IRS have trained forensic financial agents who aggressively conduct investigations into individuals and businesses to uncover tax and financial crimes including Tax Evasion, Return Preparer Fraud (CPA or Tax Preparer), General Tax Fraud (Filing of a Fraudulent Tax Return or Unfiled Tax Returns or Questionable Refunds, Employer Tax Fraud and Undisclosed OffShore Bank Accounts. The firm also handles Parallel Proceedings where an individual or business is being simultaneously investigated both civilly and criminally by the IRS and where the results of a civil audit conducted by IRS are used in the ongoing criminal investigation against the taxpayer.
Clifford E. Lazzaro is an experienced matrimonial lawyer practicing all Family and Matrimonial Law matters in all jurisdictions of the New Jersey Superior Court. The firm concentrates on high net worth cases involving Divorce; Modification Motions to Lower Alimony (Spousal) and/ or Child Support; Pendente Lite Support Applications; Child Custody; Parental Rights; Parental Visitation Rights; Parenting Time; Paternity; Equitable Distribution of Marital Assets; Asset Allocation; Premarital Agreements; Post-Nuptial Agreements; Spousal Abuse; Final Restraining Order Hearings and TRO's; Child Abuse; the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS); and Trials and Appeals.
Clifford E. Lazzaro has successfully handled numerous restraining order hearings where victims of domestic violence were granted final orders of restraint. Additionally, Clifford E. Lazzaro has successfully handled numerous cases where Temporary Restraining Orders were dismissed on behalf of litigants falsely charged with domestic violence.
Clifford E. Lazzaro is an experienced Municipal Court attorney successfully representing individuals charged with Disorderly Person Offenses such as Shoplifting, Theft, Criminal Trespass, Criminal Mischief, Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance-Marijuana under 50 grams; Petty Disorderly Person Offenses such as Disorderly Conduct; Ordinance Violations; and all Motor Vehicle Violations and Traffic Offenses such as Drunk Driving (DUI), Refusal to Submit to Breath Test, Reckless Driving, Careless Driving, Driving or Operating a Motor Vehicle in an Unsafe Manner, Speeding, Leaving the Scene of an Accident Involving Bodily Injury, Driving on the Suspended List, Operation of a Motor Vehicle without Insurance, Impoundment of Motor Vehicle; and Trials and Appeals.
The firm routinely works with experts in various fields on Criminal Defense and Family Law matters. We have employed the services of forensic accountants on matrimonial, criminal and criminal tax cases as well as forensic psychologists and forensic psychiatrists on Tier Classification Hearings (Megan's Law) and Competency to Stand Trial Hearings. We have also utilized the services of DNA experts as well as experts in the field of recorded evidence. The firm regularly employs the services of private investigators (mostly retired investigators of County Prosecutor Offices) who work closely with us in defense of our clients on criminal cases. The investigators utilized by the firm have many years of experience and are responsible for interviewing witnesses and taking witness statements under oath in the presence of a court reporter. They may also be called upon to administer polygraph examinations of certain clients and testify as a defense witness at trial. In. short, the firm utilizes the best available resources to achieve the most favorable results on behalf of it's clients.
STRATEGY OF FIRM IN CRIMINAL CASES:
Clifford E. Lazzaro aggressively defends the rights of the accused at every stage of the criminal proceedings. The accused should always invoke his or her Fifth Amendment Right to remain silent whenever the police seek to question that person. No matter how great the pressure the police place on a person to induce that person to make an incriminating statement, or any type of statement at all, the person should exercise his or her right to remain silent and immediately contact a lawyer.
The criminal defense strategy after a person has been formally charged with a criminal offense is to seek dismissal of the charges. Criminal charges can sometimes be dismissed through a motion for probable cause (pre-indictment), a motion to dismiss the indictment, a motion to suppress evidence, administrative dismissal by the Prosecutor's Office or Pre-Trial Intervention. A Guilty Plea should never be considered unless diligent efforts are made to have the case dismissed. When those diligent efforts are unsuccessful in achieving dismissal of tile charges, a person should consider a guilty plea or a trial by jury. A plea of guilty should never be considered when the person charged is innocent. In this country, the accused is entitled to a presumption of innocence and the burden is on the Government or the State to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Having experienced and aggressive counsel like Clifford E. Lazzaro by your side at trial is essential to maximizing the accused's chances of acquittal. Clifford E. Lazzaro has the skill and experience to influence a jury and lead the jury to a Not Guilty Verdict when the Government or State fails to meet its burden of proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. A Guilty Plea is sometimes entered when the evidence of guilt is overwhelming against the accused.
In this instance, a guilty plea is entered for damage control purposes. A guilty plea can limit the number of criminal charges and reduce the sentencing exposure on most cases. On federal cases, experienced counsel can argue that sentencing should be outside the advisory sentencing guideline system when the nature and circumstances of the offense and the history and characteristics of the defendant justify same. In addition, statutory increases in the guideline offense level sometimes are not justified when they do not properly reflect the defendant's culpability. Clifford E. Lazzaro, Esq. has handled numerous Fourth Amendment Suppression Hearings involving illegal searches and seizures of drugs, weapons, US Currency as well as challenging the legality of electronic data warrants (wiretaps). We have also handled numerous suppression hearings involving suggestive identifications of defendants (Wade Hearings) made by the police.
Clifford E. Lazzaro has handled child pornography cases on both state and federal levels. The dispositions on those cases speak for themselves. Needless to say, the firm has much experience in this area. If you are charged with child pornography or other sex offenses which have Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 or Megan's Law implications, call for an appointment. In United States vs. L B, the defendant was charged and plead guilty to one count of possession of child pornography pursuant to 18 USC 2252A (a) (5) (B), a Class C felony. The defendant was found to be in possession of over 600 images of child pornography stored on a computer hard drive and also over 600 images of child pornography stored on a computer disc on June 29, 2006. The defendant faced up to 10 years in federal custody and a fine of up to $250,000.00. The Total Offense Level under the federal sentencing guidelines was 24 and the Guideline Range for imprisonment was 51 to 63 months. As a result of defendant's Pre-Sentence Report Memorandum, the Court imposed a variance to a level 19 and the defendant was sentenced on April 8, 2008 to a term of 30 months. The sentence imposed by the Court was below the advisory guideline range of 51 to 63 months because of the nature and circumstances of the offense and the characteristics of the defendant did not properly reflect the defendant's culpability. Clifford E. Lazzaro negotiated the plea and argued at the sentencing in the above matter.
SUCCESS ON TRIALS:
State v S R, Union County Superior Court.
The defendant was charged by way of a four (4) count indictment with one count of second degree sexual assault against a minor, one count of second degree attempted sexual assault, one count of third degree endangering the welfare of a child and one count of third degree attempted endangering the welfare of a child. Defendant was subject to 85% sentencing of between 5 and 10 years on each second degree count under the No Early Release Act (NERA) and Megan's Law sentencing. After a 2 week trial in early August, 2010, the jury deliberated approx. 3 hours and 20 minutes and the defendant was found not guilty on all 4 counts. Clifford E. Lazzaro tried the case.
State v F G, Union County Superior Court.
The defendant was charged with one count of second degree sexual assault. Defendant was subject to NERA (85%) sentencing between 5 and 10 years and Megan's Law sentencing. The rape trial lasted approx. one (1) week. In the middle of this November, 2010 trial, the State offered to amend (dismiss) the second degree sexual assault count to third degree terroristic threat charge with a recommendation for a probationary sentence. Defendant accepted the amended probationary plea which no longer had NERA (85%) and Megan's Law consequences, Clifford E. Lazzaro tried the case.
SUCCESS ON PLEAS:
State v Bascus, Marcus, Essex Superior Court
Defendant faced life, accepted 15 year plea deal -
Marcus Bascus accepted responsibility and entered a guilty plea on June 5, 2014 to First Degree Conspiracy to Commit Murder and Second Degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (handgun) related to the shootings which occurred on September 25, 2010 at an off-campus Seton Hall University fraternity party in East Orange, New Jersey. One person died and 4 others were wounded during the gunfire. Pursuant to the plea agreement, the State is recommending a maximum 15 year sentence subject to NERA (85%) law and the Graves Act. At sentencing, State will dismiss 8 remaining counts of the indictment-First Degree Murder, 4 counts of First Degree Attempted Murder, First Degree Felony Murder, Second Degree Burglary and Second Degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose. The co-defendant in this case, Nicholas Welch, was convicted after a jury trial earlier this year (2014) and sentenced on May 30, 2014 to 95 years in a state prison with an 89 year period of parole ineligibility. Bascus admitted under oath to agreeing to provide and providing Welch with a loaded .38 cal handgun knowing that Welch was going to illegally enter the off-campus fraternity party and shoot people with the gun causing death and/ or serious bodily injury. This was a damage control plea. Clifford E. Lazzaro, Esq. handled the plea and the entire case on behalf of Marcus Bascus.
State of New Jersey in Interests of D G (Juvenile), Middlesex County Superior Court
Juvenile was accused of first degree armed robbery, second degree armed robbery and distribution of CDS. State threatened to waive juvenile case for adult prosecution if juvenile did not enter guilty plea. Juvenile entered a guilty plea to all charges listed above and State recommended an 8 year indeterminate sentence in a youth facility. Clifford E. Lazzaro submitted significant positive background history (Juvenile was a star hs athlete recruited by several colleges) and a detailed sentencing memorandum outlining the mitigating factors to the Court. A mentor from the youth house testified at sentencing on behalf of the juvenile. The juvenile had no prior history of juvenile delinquency and had never had the benefit of any prior probationary supervision. The Court sentenced the juvenile to a 3 year indeterminate sentence over the objection of the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office. 2014 case.
State v N G Middlesex County Superior Court
The defendant was 18 years old at the time of the incident. The defendant was accused of aggravated sexual assault against his best friend's younger brother (age 10), Allegations of torture, anal intercourse and fellatio. DNA evidence mixed together and matching both defendant and victim recovered at the crime scene by the State. The defendant was administered a polygraph examination. The defendant faced a period of incarceration of 75 years in a New Jersey State Prison. In a negotiated plea, the defendant received 8 years New Jersey State Prison subject to the No Early Release Act or 85% rule and Megan's Law, This was a damage control plea which minimized the significant state prison exposure the defendant was facing. 2013 case.
State v R S Ocean County Superior Court
The defendant was charged with multiple second degree sexual assault counts on behalf of five (5) child victims. Three of the victims were the defendant's grandchildren. The victims ranged between the ages of 6 and 14. The State possessed very compelling videotape evidence from some of the victims. Some of the victims were determined to be credible. A polygraph examination was administered to the defendant. The defendant faced a period of incarceration of 88 years in a New Jersey State Prison. In a negotiated plea, the defendant received 8 years New Jersey State Prison subject to the No Early Release Act or 85% rule and Megan's Law. This was a damage control plea which minimized the significant state prison exposure the defendant was facing. 2013 case.
State v A E, Monmouth County Superior Court.
The defendant was charged with three (3) counts in an indictment with first degree racketeering, first degree conspiracy to commit racketeering, and second degree witness tampering. The defendant faced NERA (85%) sentencing of 40 years on the first degree racketeering counts not including applicable extended terms. The negotiated plea at the end of June, 2010 resulted in dismissal of both of the first degree racketeering counts and a guilty plea to witness tan1pering as amended to a third degree offense. At sentencing, the defendant received a 4 year flat term New Jersey State Prison (NJSP). The defendant is alleged to be a Four (4) Star General in the Bloods Gang. Clifford E. Lazzaro handled the plea and sentencing.
State v J S, Monmouth County Superior Court.
The defendant issued over $550,000.00 in Bad Checks to Monmouth Raceway Track. The checks were issued over a several month period of time. The defendant initially faced second degree sentencing exposure between 5 and 10 years in New Jersey State Prison (NJSP). The negotiated plea in August of2010 amended the charge to one count of issuing a Bad Check, a third degree offense. At sentencing in November of 2010, the defendant received non-custodial, no jail probation with the requirement that he make restitution of $2000.00 per month over the course of a 5 year period of probation. Clifford E Lazzaro handled the plea and sentencing.
United States v S L
Faced 51 to 63 months, received 24 months -
The defendant was federally criminally charged with commercial bribery and tax evasion. He was employed by Sprint in a managerial capacity and responsible for the assignment of multimillion dollar commercial contracts to vendors who performed the telecommunication giant's infrastructure work in the northeast corridor. The defendant would receive a 10 percent kickback usually in the form of US Currency from each of the vendors that he directed the contract work. Over a million dollars in cash and property was seized at the time of the defendant's arrest. The defendant plead guilty to one count of mail fraud and 3 counts of tax evasion. The defendant faced 51 to 63 months (level 24) under the federal sentencing guidelines. Restitution owed to Sprint at the time of sentencing was in excess of $530,000. Clifford E. Lazzaro argued for the imposition of a sentence well below the guideline range of 51 to 63 months. The Court sentenced the defendant to 24 months and further ordered that restitution in excess of $530,000 be paid out of the defendant's seized property. The defendant was required to amend his tax returns and pay all taxes, interest and penalties on the seized property-the kickback money received and never reported to IRS during the commercial bribery scheme. 2009 case.
SUCCESS ON APPEALS:
Guilty verdicts can sometimes be reversed at the Appellate level and Clifford E. Lazzaro, P.C. thoroughly reviews trial transcripts in order to ascertain the viability of appeal. Issues on appeal can include prosecutorial misconduct, ineffective assistance of counsel or errors made by the Court on the law.
In State v. Anthony Conigliaro, 356 N.J. Super. 54 (App.Div.2002), the Defendant, was charged with two counts of criminal sexual contact, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-3(b), and two counts of child abuse, N.J.S.A. 9:6•3. After a jury trial, defendant was found guilty on one count of each charge. Concurrent sentences of fifteen months imprisonment were imposed on each count along with appropriate penalties. Defendant was also required to register under Megan's Law and to provide a blood sample for DNA analysis. Clifford E. Lazzaro, P.C. handled the appeal and served only as appellate counsel. In a published decision, the Appellate Division reversed the Defendant's guilty verdict and remanded the matter back to the Trial Court on the grounds that the admission by the Trial Court of a writing into evidence as an "excited utterance" under New Jersey Rule of Evidence 803(c)(2) as a hearsay exception was reversible error, as it was not cumulative, and went with the jury as an exhibit during deliberations.
Clifford E. Lazzaro, P .C. has successfully defended victims of Racial Profiling:
In State v. Aloysius Paul, A-4731-98T1, following a jury trial, the Defendant was convicted of first degree possession of one kilo of cocaine with intent to distribute and sentenced to a fifteen year sentence with five years to be served before parole eligibility, Clifford E. Lazzaro, P.C. handled the appeal and served only as appellate counsel. In the appeal, the Defendant claimed ineffective assistance of counsel for previous counsel's failure to raise the issue of racial profiling. The Appellate Division found that the issue of racial profiling was properly preserved and ordered that the matter be remanded to the Trial Court. The Defendant's guilty verdict was subsequently vacated.
In State v. Ryan Scott, Indictment No. 00-01-0083, the Defendant, an African American, was stopped at a convenience store located at a service area on the New Jersey Turnpike. Two New Jersey State Troopers stopped the Defendant and requested his driving credentials. In the police report, the troopers cited illegal parking by the defendant, along a yellow painted curb directly in front of the convenience store, as the reason for the stop. The defendant produced valid driving credentials. The Trooper requested that the defendant consent to a search of the vehicle. The defendant refused to sign a consent to search form, The troopers brought in a narcotic detector dog to "sniff" the vehicle for the presence of narcotics despite the lack consent either orally or in writing from the Defendant. Based on the results of "sniff'', the troopers obtained a search warrant for the vehicle. A search of the vehicle was conducted, whereupon approximately 37 oz. of crack cocaine was recovered, In July, 1999, the Defendant and the co-defendant passenger, were indicted on first degree possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute, third degree possession of cocaine, and second degree Conspiracy. Clifford E. Lazzaro, P.C. maintained a position that the New Jersey State Police were exercising a system of profiling African Americans which they applied to this vehicle, violating the Defendant's Fourteenth Amendment rights of Equal Protection and Due Process not to be discriminated against due to his minority status, Clifford E. Lazzaro, P.C. filed a Motion Requesting Discovery Alleging Racial Profiling by the New Jersey State Police. Subsequent to the filing of the motion, the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice filed a Motion to Dismiss the Indictment against the Defendant "in the interest of justice" due to the allegations of Racial Profiling. By Order of the Honorable Walter R. Barisonek, J.S.C., of the Union County Superior Court, the Defendant's Indictment was dismissed.
Clifford E. Lazzaro, P.C. is up to date on all current law as the firm can access LEXIS-NEXIS Research System online at any time.
Clifford E. Lazzaro, P.C. is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Clifford E. Lazzaro, P.C. 1 Broad Street-Second Floor, Elizabeth, New Jersey 07207.