Its not always obvious that our client is innocent but in this case it was very obvious – that is to us but not everyone else. The judge, DYFS and the police department were convinced that our client was guilty of molesting his daughter. However, we repeatedly argued that our client was innocent and that the child was coached. Especially suspect was the timing of the disclosure – just a few days after the father won a visitation motion in family court. Like many clients, he found himself with a good lawyer who couldn’t handle the entire case due to the new allegations. Thus, he switched lawyers and hired our team of aggressive sexual assault defense attorneys. We were able to make sure that no criminal charges would be filed against him right away. We also worked with DYFS and at no point did they ever bring a case against him. However, they did substantiate him for sexual abuse on his daughter. Thus, what were were left with a custody case with DYFS involvement. This is a particularly tricky case.
One of the problems with a “DYFS involved case” is that you do not have ready access to the DYFS file like you do in a normal “FN” case. Likewise, you don’t always have set court appearances and due process. It may be up to the lawyer to set it all up and to fight back against a judge resistant to allowing such due process into a custody case. To key to winning the custody case was to continuously work the DYFS angle and to keep arguing that the child was coached. Although it took over a year, in the end, DYFS reversed their finding that the client abused the child. This is a rare move and it had a dramatic impact on the rest of the custody case.