long island divorce attorneyOn May 13, 2014, the New York State Court of Appeals (the highest court in New York State), declared New York’s criminal harassment statute, Penal Law section 240.30(1)(a) unconstitutionally vague and over broad. Under the statute it is a misdemeanor to “harass, annoy, threaten or alarm” another person either in writing or verbally if it was “likely to cause annoyance or harm.”

In writing for the state’s highest court, Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam wrote a decision which stated this statute did not properly define what causing “annoyance or alarm” means and it did not specifically state what behaviors the law was referring to.

Domestic Violence Cases

This statute was primarily used in the prosecution of individuals in domestic violence cases. District Attorneys throughout the State of New York are now working to revise the aggravated harassment statute in light of this recent decision of the New York State Court of Appeals.

Kathleen Rice, the Nassau County District Attorney, who is currently the President of the State District Attorney’s Association said stopping harassment is one of the top priorities of the district attorneys looking into this statute. She stated “we ‘will work with the legislators to craft a new law that will help protect victims by filling the statutory gap left by the court’s decision.’”

No Statute to Protect Victims

Domestic violence advocates are concerned that without the aggravated harassment statute, victims of domestic violence will be at risk. Amy Schwartz, the senior staff attorney with the Empire Justice Center in Rochester, stated “one of the more commonly enumerated family offenses” with regard to those individuals seeking orders of protection from the family court deal with the aggravated harassment statute.

New York State Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, the current chair of the Assembly’s Codes Committee, is working with his counterparts in the New York State Senate to help rewrite this statute. He stated “we are currently working with and awaiting input from domestic violence prosecutors across the state and how to legislatively address the issues that have arisen with regard to this case.”

Domestic Violence, Active and Inactive

There are two types of domestic violence, one physical and the other mental. Can emails and discussions between individuals that don’t contain threats, amount to aggravated harassment and be the basis for domestic violence allegations? Let’s see what the New York State Legislature does.criminal defense on Long Island

criminal defense attorneys on long islandCarl M. Perry had an order of protection against him.  This order of protection from the Family Court in Monroe County indicated he was to have no contact with his wife.  It further ordered, he was to stay away from his wife.

During the period of the order of protection, Carl gained access to his wife’s Facebook account.  He sent out letters to friends and family on his wife’s friends and family list.  In these letters he complained that his wife was using the parties children against him.  He further indicated that she was preventing him from seeing or communicating with his children.  Mr. Perry was charged with criminal contempt for violating the order of protection that barred him from having contact with his wife.

Justice DiSalvo, sitting in the Webster Town court, dismissed the criminal charges against him.  The Justice stated in his decision “changes in technology, including the way people communicate, continue to present unique challenges to the courts. As of the date (April 7th) of this decision there were no reported cases of people charged with violating an order of protection for accessing Facebook.  One must look for cases where defendants are charged for indirectly contact a protected person by making statements to others.”  The court further held, that there was nothing in the order of protection that prevented him from accessing the Facebook account.

The court held that by communicating with individuals through Facebook he was not either directly or indirectly trying to contact Ms. Perry.  The court further stated, the order of protection did not prevent the defendant from having contact with individuals that happen to be listed on Ms. Perry’s Facebook account.  It also did not prevent him from having contact with family, friends or acquaintances.

Conclusion

This is a win for Facebook.  If you have an order of protection against you can still communicate with third parties through Facebook provided the order of protection doesn’t specifically mention no contact through Facebook accounts.assistance in criminal court matters

Kathleen Scott-Gonzalez appeared in court for a hearing on her divorce in Plantation, Florida. She expected this to be the final day of the trial on her divorce case. What she didn’t anticipate was that she would be beaten up by her husband in the judge’s chambers and end up with a broken nose and fractured jaw!

Kathleen and her husband Paul Gonzalez were in Judge Rothschild’s chambers. A hearing was underway concerning the issue of child support. Paul Gonzalez was acting as his own attorney. Both Paul Gonzalez and his wife Kathleen are ex marines.

Child Support

Judge Rothschild was talking about child support. At that time Paul Gonzalez stood up and left the room. Judge Rothschild invited both litigants into his chambers to discuss the matter. When Paul Gonzalez entered Judge Rothschild’s chambers, he started punching his wife. He was behind her and started punching her in the back of her head. Unfortunately, there was no court officer in the room to prevent the assault. Both Judge Rothschild and Kathleen Gonzalez’s lawyer helped stop the beating. Eventually court officers came in to the room and subdued Mr. Gonzalez.

Paul Gonzalez has been charged with felony battery and resisting arrest. He is currently spending his time in the Brownwood County jail. His bail has been set at one million dollars.

Kathleen Gonzalez advises men and women if they are afraid their spouse, even in a court setting, they should ask the court for additional security. Kathleen Gonzalez thought she was safe in court. In the case of her divorce, she wasn’t!

Father’s Rights Lawyer

Fathers should never represent themselves in a divorce. They should have knowledgeable father’s rights lawyers by their side at all times during matrimonial or family court proceedings.

The attorneys at the father’s rights Law Firm of Elliot Schlissel have extensive experience in dealing with issues involving paternity, child custody, orders of protection, child visitation and child support. We represent fathers wrongly accused of child abuse and child neglect by CPS and ACS. We deal with the attorneys for the child also in these proceedings. When fathers are downsized or lose their jobs, we bring applications to reduce their child support.

Our law office has extensive experience in dealing with parental relocation problems (when one parent moves), grandparent’s rights and equitable distribution of assets in a divorce. Our attorneys represent men in the Supreme Courts and Family Courts of Nassau County, Queens County, Kings County and throughout the rest of the Metropolitan New York area. Call for a free consultation.

The United States Supreme Court recently ruled that laboratory technicians  will have to testify regarding lab tests for such tests to be accepted into  evidence. This will create significant problems for the Nassau County  District Attorney’s Office.

Nassau County Crime Lab Closed Since February

In February of 2011, the Nassau County Crime Lab was closed. This action was taken after the crime lab lost it’s certification for drug testing. Nassau County is now in the process of re-testing thousands of samples taken regarding drug cases. All of the testing is currently being undertaken by a crime laboratory located in Pennsylvania. It is estimated that this is costing Nassau County in excess of $100,000 per month.

Presenting Laboratory Evidence

The Supreme Court decision will require Nassau County to bring the crime laboratory technicians from Pennsylvania to testify with regard to the tests they conducted concerning evidence obtained by police in drug related cases. The United States Supreme Court case requires the actual lab technician who conducted the test to testify on the procedures utilized in the analysis of the drug material. The court ruling does not allow for supervisors or other employees to testify instead of the technician that conducted the tests.

Criminal Defense Lawyers

Criminal defense lawyers throughout the country have taken the position that this removes the unfairness from the submission of laboratory tests by prosecutors without calling the lab technicians to testify regarding their procedures. This gives criminal defense lawyers an opportunity to cross examine the laboratory employees with regard to how they handle the evidence sample and the tests and procedures undertaken by them.

Long Island and New York City Criminal Defense

The law office of Elliot Schlissel represents individuals charged with crimes or who are being investigated for crimes. We are experienced in representing individuals charged with computer and internet crimesviolent crimes, white collar crimessex crimes, weapons possession, driving while intoxicated (DWI)shopliftingburglaryjuvenile offensesassault and batterydomestic violencedrug offenses and all other types of misdemeanors and felonies. Feel free to contact us for a free consultation.

The financial crisis in the United States is causing tension within families. Financial problems can be the cause of a divorce. In most marriages the family home is the largest asset. The decline in home values over the past three or four years has resulted in many homes being worth less than the mortgages on them.

Postponing Divorce

Recent studies have shown that nearly a third of all couples who considered divorce have postponed their divorce plans due to financial problems.

Divorce and Real Estate Issues

What do you do with the house in the divorce? Who stays in the house? Who is responsible for paying the bills on the house? These are significant issues that must be dealt with.

Living Together Until Financial Problems Can Be Dealt With

One choice for couples who don’t get along is to continue living together, but not as man and wife. These couples live together with the hope that their financial situation will improve and they will be able to sell their home and get their equity out of it. However, there is no sign the real estate market is improving throughout the majority of the United States. Furthermore, there is always a question as to whether living with someone you don’t get along with creates a negative environment for the children or will result in domestic violence.

Are the Mortgage Payments Behind?

If the mortgage payments are behind, the unhappy couple will eventually be receiving a foreclosure notice. Is it better to sell the house now or wait until it’s sold in foreclosure?

Modern Divorce

Divorce can be a contentious issue or it can be negotiated. The best solution for couples that don’t get along is for them to sit down with attorneys and negotiate in a mature, amicable manner, in either a divorce settlement or separation agreement. This will help avoid the acrimony and high cost of litigation.

New York and Long Island Divorce Lawyer

The law office of Elliot Schlissel have been handling divorces in the Metropolitan New York area for over 33 years. We litigate all aspects of divorce related proceedings in the Supreme Court and Family Court. These proceedings involve divorce groundsno fault divorcechild custodymothers’ rights, fathers’ rightschild supportdownward modification of child supportspousal maintenance (alimony)and domestic violence issues. In addition, we negotiate separation agreementsprenuptial agreementsand post-nuptial agreements for our clients. We litigate equitable distribution issues involving doctor, dentist and lawyer licenses. Call us for a free consultation.

Mrs. McCloud was released from jail three months early to have a heart transplant. She ignored the advise of her doctors to stop smoking. She now either has to stop smoking, pursuant to the order of Judge Francis D. Ricigliano, or go back to jail!

Nassau County District Judge Francis D. Ricigliano told Diane McCloud that she must stop smoking. She also must submit to drug testing and she must comply with her doctor’s requests.Ms. McCloud had been jailed after being convicted of taking $4,000 in merchandise from a Target store located in Westbury, New York. While she was incarcerated, her health went down hill. Her doctors determined she had less than six months to live. Justice Ricigliano felt sorry for Ms. McCloud and released her from jail, under the condition that she take all necessary steps suggested by her physicians to obtain a heart transplant.

Ms. McCloud’s physician, Janjay Doddamani, the chairman of the cardiology department in Nassau County University Medical Center, contacted Judge Ricigliano. He advised the Judge and the District Attorney’s office that Ms. McCloud had not been cooperating with him.

Ms. McCloud was brought back before the court. Judge Ricigliano made it clear that, unless she complied with her doctor’s requests to stop smoking, he would send her back to jail and she would not have the opportunity to receive a heart transplant. Hopefully she is complying to the Judge’s order.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

The law office of Elliot Schlissel represents individuals charged with crimes or who are being investigated for crimes. We are experienced in representing individuals charged with computer and internet crimes, violent crimes, white collar crimes, sex crimes, weapons possession, driving while intoxicated (DWI), shoplifting, burglary, juvenile offenses, assault and battery, domestic violence, drug offenses and all other types of misdemeanors and felonies. Feel free to contact us for a free consultation.

New York City jails tape all phone calls made by prisoners, with the exception of calls to doctors and lawyers. Prosecutors have been using these tapes against these prisoners. More than 8,200 calls were taped last year in New York City jails. The largest number of taped phone calls were used in domestic violence cases.

Domestic Violence

Men charged with assaulting and beating their wives and girlfriends seem to be blabber mouths. “I need you to prepare the kids to start lying” was stated by one man to his girlfriend on one of these taped conversations. In another case, the prisoner told his girlfriend, “whatever you do, do not speak to the District Attorney.”

Scott Kesler, the Bureau Chief in the Queens District Attorney’s office, stated the records “revolutionized the way we were able to proceed against men in domestic violence cases.” Mr. Kesler stated that we now have to ability “to prove what we’ve always suspected, which is that defendants in domestic violence cases are in constant contact with their victims and they utilize the phone system to intimidate their victims and refuse to cooperate in their prosecution.”

Orders of Protection

In virtually all domestic violence cases, the abused individuals are given orders of protection preventing the abuser from having contact with them. These jail house calls are in violation of the court ordered orders of protection and constitute a crime in and of themselves.  In one case in Kings County, the abuser called the victim 1,200 times while he was incarcerated. Sometimes the victims are so traumatized by these phone calls that they refuse to cooperate with the prosecutors. In these situations, the District Attorneys office can utilize the recordings to explain why the victims are refusing to testify.

In a case involving Mohammd Khan, who was charged with stabbing his wife in the head and shoulders with a meat cleaver, the wife testified she did not remember who her attacker was. The recordings showed that Mr. Khan had engaged in a campaign of coercion against his spouse. Prosecutors were able to introduce her statements made in the hospital during the course of the proceedings against Mr. Khan. Mr. Khan was convicted and eventually sentenced to 7 to 10 years in prison.

Fathers’ Rights Lawyers

If you are arrested, it is generally not in your interest to speak about the alleged crime you have committed. The fathers’ rights lawyers at the law office of Elliot Schlissel represent fathers concerning the following matters related to divorces and family court proceedings: orders of protection; child custody; child visitation; child support; spousal maintenance (alimony); child abuse; child neglect; CPS and ACS cases; paternity and equitable distribution; negotiating separation agreements, pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements. Feel free to call us for a free consultation. We can protect your rights.

New York City jails tape all phone calls made by prisoners with the exception of calls to doctors and lawyers. Prosecutors have been using these tapes against these prisoners. More than 8,200 calls were taped last year in New York City jails. The largest use of these taped calls comes in domestic violence cases.

Domestic Violence

Men charged with assaulting and beating their wives and girlfriends seem to blabber mouths. “I need you to prepare the kids to start lying” was stated by one man to his girlfriend on these taped conversations. In another case the prisoner told his girlfriend “whatever you do, do not speak to the District Attorney.”

Scott Kesler, the Bureau Chief in the Queens District Attorney’s office stated the recording “revolutionized the way we were able to proceed against men in domestic violence cases. Mr. Kesler stated that we now have to ability “to prove what we’ve always suspected which is that defendants in domestic violence cases are in constant contact with their victims and they utilize the phone system to intimidate their victims and refuse to cooperate in their prosecution.

Orders of Protection

In virtually all domestic violence cases the abused individuals are given orders of protection preventing the abuser from having contact with them. These jail house calls are violation of the court ordered orders of protection and constitutes a crime in and of themselves.

In one case in Kings County the abuser called the victim 1,200 times while he was incarcerated. Sometimes the victims are so traumatized by these phone calls they refuse
to cooperate with the prosecutors. In these situations the District Attorneys office utilized the recordings to explain why the victims are refusing to testify.

In a case involving Mohammd Khan, who was charged with stabbing his wife in the head and shoulders with a meat cleaver. The wife testified she did not remember who her attacker was. The recordings showed that Mr. Khan had engaged in a campaign of coercion against his spouse. They were able to introduce her statements made in the hospital during the course of the proceedings against Mr. Khan. Mr. Khan was convicted and eventually sentenced to 7 to 10 years in prison.

Fathers’ Rights Lawyers

If you were arrested it is generally not in your interest to speak about the alleged crime you have committed. The father’s rights lawyers at the law office of Elliot Schlissel in addition we represent fathers concerning the following matters related to divorces and family court proceedings: orders of protection; child custody; child visitation; child support; spousal maintenance (alimony); child abuse & child neglect; CPS and ACS cases; paternity and equitable distribution; negotiating separation agreements and pre-nuptial and postnuptial agreements. Feel free to call us for a free consultation. We can protect your rights.

There is an investigation underway in Utah involving the horrendous murder of a disabled woman. The police are investigating the death of Christina Harms Kerns, in Salt Lake City, Utah Township. The investigation has uncovered that Ms. Harm’s ankles were tied with plastic zip ties. She had bruises on her thigh and head. There was a pepper seed in the lower area of one of her eye lids. Both her hands and arms had been covered with bandages.

Ms. Harms was found in a small closet. Inside the closet they found a metal bar that had been used to bind her in a crucifixion-like manner. Her arms had been bound to the bar and she had been left to die in this small closet.

Care Giver Arrested

Her care giver, Casendra Shepard, age 27, was charged with murdering Ms.Harms, domestic violence and obstructing justice. Ms. Shepard’s stepfather, Dale Peckering, age 53, and her mother, Sherrie Lynn Peckering, were also charged with domestic violence and abuse of a vulnerable adult.

When Ms. Harms mother died in 2008, Shepard, who was a friend of the family, was appointed the legal guardian of the disabled 17-year-old. Although Christina was handicapped, she was smart. Ms. Harms had a two-year-old daughter. She was in the home at the time her mother was tortured to death. These sick individuals should receive a maximum sentence from the court for their despicable behavior.

Criminal Attorneys

The law office of Elliot Schlissel represents individuals charged with all types of crimes throughout the Metropolitan New York area. We represent individuals charged with violent crimes, sex crimes, white collar crimes, weapons possession, drunk driving (DWI), juvenile defenses, assault and battery, burglary, shoplifting, domestic violence, drug offenses and all types of misdemeanors and felonies. Call us for a free consultation at 1-800-3446431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

Judge Hunt, sitting in the Family Court of Queens County in November of 2010, rendered a decision in a case that criticized the Probation Assessment Tool. Judge Hunt stated that the Probation Assessment Tool, which was implemented in the year 2003, provided “unwarranted harsher treatment” for many males and “unwise and unjustified lenient treatment for many females.”

Judge Hunt’s decision stated that “by creating a system of gender discrimination against males, [the] program also creates the very real possibility that female delinquents will receive less services or less supervision then they should, which itself creates an unnecessary risk of recidivism as well as an unnecessary risk to the safety of the community.”

Inability of Family Court to Change This Flawed System of Probation

Although Judge Hunt criticized the probation system, he further stated in his decision that he was without authority to change the system. He encouraged the state legislature to look into these problems and address necessary changes to the probation system in the State of New York.

Department of Probation

The New York Family Court Act of 1962 created the Department of Probation. The Department of Probation is authorized to conduct investigations and provide written reports in all delinquency proceedings, unless the procedure is waived by both parties to the proceeding. The Probation Department uses a tool called the Probation Assessment Tool (PAT). This program was developed by a non-profit organization called the Vera Institute of Justice. The PAT Tool covers seven categories. The categories are demographics; current events; legal history; family and home; school; community and peers; and drugs and alcohol/mental health. There are thirty-four questions within the confines of this program. Based on these questions, a score is calculated.

If a juvenile receives a low score, the outcome may result in incarceration or an intensive community program. If a juvenile obtains a high score, he or she usually receives a conditional discharge or an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal, which is very lenient treatment. Judge Hunt’s decision indicated that the PAT program awards fourteen points simply for an individual answering a question indicating that they are a female. He therefore concluded that girls start off with a discriminatory benefit. Judge Hunt concluded in his decision that, due to the scoring disparities, the recommendations of PAT “would have been absurd and in some cases reckless.” Judge Hunt strongly suggested the New York State Legislature take immediate action to address this discriminatory tool used by probation departments.

It should be noted that judges, not the Department of Probation, have the ultimate authority concerning the sentencing of juveniles. Probation reports are merely recommendations that the judge can either accept or ignore.

Boys’ Rights, Mens’ Rights and Fathers’ Rights

Our office has been representing boys, men and fathers in the Family Court for three decades. We represent them concerning issues involving orders of protection, paternity, child custody, visitation, child support, spousal maintenance (alimony), child abuse, child neglect proceedings, CPS and ACS problems and also criminal allegations involving domestic violence.

We also represent fathers in divorce proceedings. Within the divorce proceedings, we litigate high net worth issues, equitable distribution of assets, parental relocation problems, parental alienation and parental alienation syndrome issues. In amicable situations, we negotiate separation agreements and we provide arbitration and mediation representation. Call us for a free consultation at 516-561-6645, 718-350-2802 or 1-800-344-6431.