No jail for divorced NJ woman who identified as a high school student
🔴 Hyejeong Shin, 29, attended Newssick High School for four days
🔴 Administrators kicked Shin out when she couldn't produce ID
🔴 If Shin completes three years of PTI she will avoid jail time
NEW BRUNSWICK — The woman who successfully passed herself off as a high school student for almost a week will not serve any time in jail.
Hyejeong Shin, 29, attended classes at New Brunswick High School in January and interacted with other students. Her days as a pretend student came to an end when she could not provide proper documentation. At a court hearing in March her attorney, Darren Gelber, argued that she was not a danger to other students at the school.
A Superior Court judge ruled Monday that Shin can enroll in a pre-trial program for three years, according to NJ.com and TAP into New Brunswick. She must also take a mental health test and was ordered to pay fines.
Pre-trial intervention allows first-time, non-violent offenders to avoid getting a conviction record if they remain out of trouble for a certain period of time. It usually requires that the defendant plead guilty to an offense.
Recreating the good times
During a court hearing in April, Gelber told the court his client had a rough time at the end of 2022 following a divorce and was seeking the safety and good times she had had while attending a boarding school in Massachusetts, according to New York Times coverage of the hearing.
"This case was more about my client's desire to return to a place of safety and welcoming and an environment she looks back on with fondness and nothing more," Gelber told ABC 7 Eyewitness News.
Shin would like to eventually return to her native South Korea. Shin was in the U.S. to attend Rutgers University, majoring in political science and Chinese. She was a member of the Institute for Research on Women during the 2017-18 academic year.