Conviction for Essex County Corrections Officer in Aggravated Assault Case

In a follow-up to an ongoing case involving a New Jersey Corrections Officer on trial for aggravated assault and official misconduct charges, the defendant was recently found guilty by a jury in Essex County Superior Court.

40-year-old Essex Corrections Officer Carlton Clark was facing charges in connection with the alleged assault of a female inmate at the Essex County jail on August 26, 2011. The victim, Emirlene Philemon, who testified against Clark during the trial, has filed a lawsuit against Essex County for $250,000 in compensation associated with medical complications resulting from the assault.

Philemon was originally being held on charges for armed robbery but pleaded guilty to a lesser offense of receiving stolen property following the incident with Clark. An armed robbery conviction could have subjected Philemon to a sentence of between 5 and 10 years in New Jersey State Prison. Instead, she was sentenced to time-served, which amounted to 383 days in jail, in addition to a two-year period of probation. The defense argued that Philemon was given a plea agreement in exchange for her testimony in Clark’s trial.

Essex County Assistant Prosecutor Peter Polidoro vigorously denied the defense’s claim. He played a surveillance video during the three-week trial, which showed Clark repeatedly punching Philemon. According to Philemon’s testimony, Clark high-fived another employee at the jail after he assaulted her. In addition, two of Clark’s fellow corrections officer testified on behalf of the prosecution, one of whom revised her initial report on the incident, saying that she had originally tried to protect Clark by misrepresenting the course of events.

Clark is scheduled to be sentenced by Superior Court Judge Robert Gardner during a March 28th hearing in Newark. The judge revoked his bail pending his sentencing and he will be held at a jail outside of Essex County for his protection prior to the hearing. As a result of the conviction, Clark is facing a term of up to 20 years in New Jersey State Prison.

Clark’s defense attorney announced his intention to appeal the verdict. Ultimately, the court will decide if such an appeal is, in fact, valid.

For more information pertaining to this case, access the following article: Essex County corrections officer found guilty of aggravated assault in female inmate’s beating