State of New York, 2000
United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, 1999
United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, 2012
United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, 2003
Member, Seton Hall Law Review
Iowa State University (M.A., 1989)
St. Peter's College (B.A., 1987)
United States v. Kouevi, 698 F.3d 126 (3d Cir. 2012)
United States v. Bergrin, 650 F.3d 257 (3d Cir. 2011)
United States v. Jones, 566 F.3d 353 (3d Cir. 2009)
United States v. Grier, 475 F.3d 556 (3d Cir. 2007)
State v. Delgado, 188 N.J. 48 (2006)
United States v. Newsome, 439 F.3d 181 (3d Cir. 2006)
State v. A.G.D., 178 N.J. 56 (2003)
al-Marri v. Bush, 274 F. Supp. 2d 1003 (C.D. Ill. 2003)
Cannon v. Cherry Hill Toyota, Inc., 161 F. Supp. 2d 362 (D.N.J. 2001)
Michael Baldassare concentrates his practice on defending individuals and corporations in criminal investigations and prosecutions. He has tried numerous federal and state cases to verdict on a variety of charges such as RICO, mail and wire fraud, bribery, extortion, human trafficking, attempted murder, weapons crimes, and armed robbery.
He has represented clients in connection with internal and government investigations as well as trial-level proceedings relating to bank fraud, health care fraud, money laundering/structuring, the Arms Export Control Act, tax fraud, visa fraud, counterfeiting, drug possession and distribution, child pornography offenses, sex trafficking, and sexual assault.
He also represents clients in the administrative, licensing, and regulatory proceedings that frequently flow from criminal matters. He also represents clients before investigative bodies such as the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation.
He has argued matters of first impression before the New Jersey Supreme Court and the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. In State v. A.G.D., 178 N.J. 56 (2003), Michael represented the Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers of New Jersey, and convinced the Court that an individual’s Miranda waiver is not knowing and voluntary if law enforcement fails to inform that person that a warrant has already been issued for his arrest. By unanimous decision, the Court vacated the defendant’s conviction. In State v. Delgado, 188 N.J. 48 (2006), again on behalf of the ACDL-NJ, he persuaded the Court to enhance the protections of those accused of crimes by requiring more stringent procedures for out-of-court witness identifications. And, in United States v. Newsome, 439 F.3d 181 (3d Cir. 2006), Michael argued an important issue of first impression regarding the application of an enhancement for identity theft under the Guidelines.
In numerous federal cases, Michael successfully obtained reduced sentences for clients based upon their extraordinary family circumstances, diminished capacity, post-offense rehabilitation, and charitable service to the community, among other reasons.
In re Real Estate Developer: Our client was an executive and consultant under investigation by a County Prosecutor’s Office for an alleged $1 million fraud. We convinced the prosecutor to forgo an indictment and permit a civil resolution between the parties.
In re Hedge Fund Executive: We represented an executive at a hedge fund under investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Though another individual was prosecuted and pled guilty, our client was never charged and the matter has been closed.
United States v. Client: We represented a defendant in connection with federal charges based upon a large scale identity theft ring. Our client received probation and was ordered to pay approximately $34,000 in restitution.
In re Investment Bank Managing Director: We represented a Managing Director of a well-respected investment banking firm in connection with a federal investigation. With respect to our client, the matter was closed and no charges were filed.
United States v. Client: In a federal child pornography case, our client received a sentence of 24 months below the bottom of the range suggested by the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
State v. Client: Our client was a fugitive from drug charges for more than a decade. We were retained after his apprehension and extradition from the West Coast. He served less than three months in county jail and was released, resolving the matter in its entirety.
United States v. Real Estate Agent/Title Agent: Following a guilty plea in federal court, our client faced a suggested guideline sentence of 27-33 months in prison and a restitution order of $2.5 million. The client was sentenced to three months incarceration, six months house arrest and ordered to pay $130,000 in restitution.
United States v. Israeli National: The client was an Israeli national accused of conspiring to sell radio jammers to individuals in the Middle East. The federal criminal charge was dismissed and the matter was settled in a civil proceeding.
In re Police Officer: We represented a police officer accused of violating an individual’s rights by the use of excessive force. The case against the officer was dismissed with prejudice.
In re Client: Our client was a young mother under investigation for the sudden and unexplained death of her six-month old daughter. After working closely with the prosecutor’s office, our client was not charged.
United States v. Former Gang Member: The client was a “career offender” with 22 Criminal History Points under Federal Sentencing Guidelines. At sentencing, the government requested a sentence of 12-15 years. The client received a sentence of 4 years.
United States v. Client: The client was charged with conspiring to distribute approximately 700 grams of MDMA, i.e., Ecstasy. He was sentenced to probation and six months of house arrest.
In re Inmate: We successfully petitioned the New Jersey Department of Corrections to have our client moved to a facility after his life became endangered at his then-current facility.
State v. Former College Basketball Player: The client was charged with multiple counts of first degree kidnapping, first degree robbery, second degree burglary, second degree aggravated assault, and second degree weapons offenses. After a trial ended with a hung jury, the client pled guilty and was sentenced to serve slightly less than three years in prison.
In re Juvenile: Our 15 year-old client was charged in a juvenile complaint with multiple counts of first degree robbery and lesser degree weapons offenses. The charges were dismissed with prejudice and he was released from custody.
United States v. Client: Our client pled guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering and faced an advisory sentence of between 30-37 months. He was sentenced to 18 months.
In re Securities Client: We represent a client in parallel criminal and civil matters brought by the N.J. Attorney General’s Office arising from allegations of securities fraud.
In re Client: We represent a witness in an investigation being conducted by the Office of the Inspector General, United States Department of Health and Human Services.
Awards & Honors*
Super Lawyers, Top 100 New Jersey Lawyers, 2012-2017
Super Lawyers, Criminal Defense: White Collar, 2012
Super Lawyers, Criminal Defense: White Collar, 2011
Super Lawyers, Criminal Defense: White Collar, 2010
Super Lawyers Rising Star, Criminal Defense: White Collar, 2006-2009
New York Area’s Top Attorneys 2012, New York Magazine, December 2011
Professional Achievement Award, New Jersey State Bar Association, Young Lawyer Division, 2001
Balancing the Law with Fighting Terrorism, 10 New Jersey Lawyer 1903 (2001)
Cruella De Vil, Hades, and Ursula the Sea-Witch: How Disney Films Teach Our Children the Basics of Contract Law, 48 Drake L. Rev. 333 (2000)
Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered: What Does the Establishment Clause Really Mean?, 3 Holy Cross J. of Law and Pub. Pol'y 7, 1999
Pandora's Box or Treasure Chest? Circuit Courts Face 28 U.S.C. ? 1367's Effect on Multi-Plaintiff Diversity Actions, 28 Seton Hall L. Rev. 1497, 1997
Miranda Rights Could Be Getting Last Rites, 9 New Jersey Lawyer 699, 2000
High Court Limits Congress' Power, 9 New Jersey Lawyer 1035, 2000
Panelist, “Using Experts in Criminal Cases,” NJICLE, February 17, 2011
Panelist, “16 Hour New Jersey Bridge-The-Gap,” sponsored by the New York City Bar, February 7, 2011
Panelist, "Tackling White Collar Crime Issues," NJICLE, West Orange, NJ, August 17, 2010
Speaker, "Trends in Miranda Rights and Violations," National Teleconference, Lorman Educational Services, June 24, 2010
Panelist, "New Jersey Criminal Trial Preparation," NJICLE, Newark, NJ, December 15, 2009
Speaker, Essex County Bar Association, "Beyond the Colors: Gang Cases are Different," Newark, NJ. February 4, 2009
Panelist, The First Monday in October: U.S. Supreme Court Review, October 2, 2000 (presented by NJICLE)
Adjunct Professor of Criminal Law, Seton Hall University, School of Law
Past Chair, Criminal Law Practice Committee, Essex County Bar Association
Past Vice-Chair, Criminal Law Section, Essex County Bar Association
Past Chair, Individual Rights Section, New Jersey State Bar Association
Past Instructor, Criminal Trial Preparation, ICLE
Member, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers