Former Fox 5 Reporter Charles Leaf to Remain in Prison Pending Appeal
Following his sentencing on June 27 to a term of 26 years in state prison, former Fox 5 news reporter Charles Leaf asked the Superior Court to allow him to be released on bail pending the outcome of his appeal. His attorney argued that the judge should grant bail because Mr. Leaf’s appeal is based on a multitude of alleged problems with the trial and jury verdict. “This was not a simple case…it was as complicated as can be,” his defense attorney said.
Issues such as a 21-minute gap in the video of a forensic interview with the victim, evidentiary issues relating to the seizure of Leaf’s computer, and the exclusion of records relating to the victim’s counseling sessions add to the complexity of the case and Mr. Leaf’s appeal. Further, the victim herself testified that Leaf never molested her and that the allegations she made two years prior were fed to her by her nanny. Finally, Leaf’s father-in-law flew from Poland to testify that he was actually the person who downloaded the images of child pornography found on Leaf’s computer. Those issues, along with Mr. Leaf’s continued assertion of innocence, have his defense attorney arguing that prison is not necessary at this point.
Mr. Leaf was convicted of all charges by a jury on February 20 after a month-long trial and little more than 5 hours of deliberations. Those charges include: aggravated sexual assault; sexual assault; endangering the welfare of a child; possession of child pornography; and hindering prosecution. Of his 26-year sentence, 20 years must be served before he will become eligible for parole. When he is paroled, Mr. Leaf will be required to register as a sex offender under New Jersey’s Megan’s Law. Depending on the level of his reporting requirements, Mr. Leaf will be required to register with the local police, may be required to notify local neighborhood groups and schools, and may be included on the State’s internet registry of sex offenders. At his tier classification hearing, Mr. Leaf may challenge what level of reporting will be required of him.
At the conclusion of the hearing, Superior Court Judge James J. Guida said he doesn’t believe Leaf is a threat to jump bail, but that is not enough to release Leaf while he appeals his conviction. Agreeing with the prosecutor’s assertion that bail pending appeal is not a right, but an exception, Judge Guida remanded Leaf to the Southwoods State Prison to await the outcome of his appeal.
If you or anyone you know has been charged with similar offenses, the consequences can be serious, resulting in long prison terms and other penalties. Legal representation is vital to protect your freedom and rights, so don’t delay in hiring someone to stand up for your interests.
For additional information, see the following articles: Legal issues don’t entitle former Fox 5 reporter Leaf to bail in appeal of child-sex conviction, judge says; Charles Leaf blames state child welfare workers, sentenced to 26 years for sex assault on girl, 4