November 17th, 2010
A defendant in a criminal case involving misdemeanors and felonies of harassment and assault was scheduled for a trial in Bronx County before Supreme Court Justice Duffy. On the date of the trial, June 12, 2010, the defendant failed to appear. The defendant’s lawyer argued that Mr. Bernandez did not receive notice of the scheduled trial date.
A hearing was held before Justice Duffy to determine if Mr. Bernandez knowingly and voluntarily waived his right to be present at the time of his trial. The court found that the defendant was previously advised by the judge that if he failed to appear, prosecutors could proceed to try his case in his absence. The defendant was further advised by the court clerk to return to the court for his trial.
The defendant failed to appear at the time of his trial and a bench warrant was issued. Since Mr. Bernandez was warned that he would be tried and of the consequences of his failure to appear at the time of trial, the court determined that the trial could go on in absentia.
Mr. Bernandez made a mistake. If you are charged with a crime, you should appear with defense counsel. Not showing up on the day of the trial is a mistake!
November 10th, 2010
Curtis Goodman was charged on September 4th, 2009, with a burglary. The criminal charges against him state that he burglarized a Brooklyn Heights movie theater. A screwdriver with DNA evidence was found near the cash box in the movie theater.This was the only evidence connecting Curtis Goodman to the felony. The burglary took place when the movie theater was closed. The indictment of Mr. Goodman was supported solely by the DNA evidence. Mr. Goodman’s attorney moved to dismiss the indictment on the grounds that the DNA evidence alone was insufficient to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Judge Dewyer, the judge handling the case, denied the motion.
The case never went to trial. Mr. Goodman plead guilty to a class “A” misdemeanor pursuant to a plea bargain arrangement. He received a sentence of one year in jail. It should be noted that Mr. Goodman had been convicted on four previous occasions for burglaries.
November 8th, 2010
A district court judge in Nassau County threw out a search of a car due to the fact that the reason the police officers gave for searching the car could not be substantiated. The occupants in the car were charged with weapons possession (which includes charges for violent crimes, both felonies and misdemeanors)
At the time, the officers testified that they were patrolling “hot spots” which were known for narcotic sales and gang activity. While on this patrol, they noticed four males walking down the street. The officers though the males clothing represented gang colors. The four males went into a car.
The officers approached the car and shined their flashlights into the passenger compartment. One of the officers observed what he says was “the butt end of a knife”. The officers proceeded to have the men leave the vehicle and thereafter the vehicle was searched. The search turned up a gravity knife (similar to a switchblade).
The court ruled that the officers failed to state a credible objective reason for approaching the defendants. The judge found that the testimony concerning “gang colors” was not credible. The court concluded that the evidence acquired pursuant to the search should be deemed inadmissible and thrown out. The misdemeanor and felony charges against the defendants for weapons possession were dismissed.
Our law office represents individuals charged with drug offenses, assault and battery, shoplifting, burglary, DWI and domestic violence. Call us if you have a criminal problem at 1-800-344-6431, or by email.
November 4th, 2010
An unnamed woman had previously claimed in New York that her boyfriend called her more than 300 times from jail. She testified to this before a grand jury. The purpose of the phone calls were to intimidate her into refusing to testify against him at the time of trial.
Grand Jury Testimony To Be Used At Trial
Although the principal means by which the credibility of witnesses is tested is cross-examination, there will be no cross examination in the trial of Daryl Smith. The woman who has accused him will not be testifying. Her grand jury testimony will instead be read into the records.
Judge D’Emic has stated the “the law recognizes that when an accused procures the silence of a witness against him he should not be permitted to gain from his wrong.” The judge also stated “the court has been shown by clear and convincing evidence that the wrong doing of the defendant has caused the victim to stop cooperating with the prosecution.”
Mr. Smith will be tried without any witnesses testifying against him. Only the grand jury minutes of his accusers testimony will be submitted to the jury.
Our office is experienced in handling all types of criminal cases, including domestic violence, misdemeanors, felonies, juvenile defense, bail, white collar crime and DWI’s. Call us if you need assistance at 1-800-344-6431 or contact us be email.
October 27th, 2010
Critics of the Missouri system feel that this is an embarrassment for the state. They claim the cost of punishing individuals who have been convicted of crimes should not be a factor taken into consideration by the court. They claim society would be at greater risk if the criminals are not incarcerated and that administering justice is a separate issue from the resulting financial impact on society.
The State of Michigan has closed some of its prisons. Arizona is currently considering privatizing its correctional facilities. California, a state in dire financial straights, is investigating all types of ways to reduce the amount of individuals incarcerated within its borders.
Query: Should judges handing out criminal sentences for individuals convicted of misdemeanors and felonies take in consideration the cost to New York State for keeping those individuals in jail? Should individuals convicted of nonviolent crimes receive alternative sentences to incarceration?
I personally see no harm in providing a judge with the actual cost of sentencing an individual who appears before him or her. I believe Missouri’s system of providing judges with the cost of the jail terms they hand out to be a good idea. Incarceration of nonviolent offenders for small, petty crimes is a waste of valuable (and extremely limited) resources!
October 13th, 2010
Caroline Giuliani’s attorneys requested that she receive special treatment and that she be able to pick out her own type of community service. The court refused to allow this. She will most likely be assigned to the same community service regime that Boy George and Naomi Campbell were subject to.
Boy George and Naomi Campbell
Naomi Campbell had some negative interaction with the criminal justice system in March of 2007. She was convicted of throwing her cell phone (a misdemeanor) at her housekeeper and was sentenced to community service.
Naomi showed up to work wearing stiletto boots. The former model changed into work boots, a neon vest and a face mask. She too cleaned and scrubbed the New York City Department of Sanitation garage.
Should you, a loved one or a friend be charged with a criminal matter, feel free to contact the criminal defense lawyers at the law office of Elliot Schlissel. We can help protect your rights and, in the event that you are convicted of a crime, try to work out a community service alternative to incarceration. Please contact us at 1-800-344-6431, or by email.
October 11th, 2010
There is a problem with the police in Newark. They are running amuck. There have been many instances of excessive force, false arrest and other abuses by police officers in Newark. It has been suggested that these abuses be investigated by the federal authorities and that a monitor be appointed by the federal government to supervise the police department. These allegations are contained in a proceeding recently brought by a civil liberties group in Newark.
American Civil Liberties Union Takes Action
The lawsuit, brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (the “ACLU”), requests that the civil rights division of the justice department take immediate action to supervise the police in Newark. The complaint by the ACLU documents numerous abuses and inappropriate activities by police officers. The suit claims that the police operate in a culture of impunity, with few, if any, police officers ever being punished for their misdeeds. The complaint specifically states that the misconduct “has left citizens dead, permanently injured and otherwise damaged”. The petition also states that “it has left innocent Newark residents distrustful of the police, unsure whether an encounter with them will lead to being protected and served or beaten and arrested”.
The petition by the ACLU is ninety-six pages long. It provides detailed information concerning the courts, the police and other U.S. governmental agencies. The petition goes on to state that the inappropriate actions of certain members of the Newark police department have damaged the careers and harmed the reputation of good, honorable police officers.
The petition indicates that police misconduct has been going for decades. During the past two and one-half years, more than fifty-one separate lawsuits have been brought against police officers and/or the police in Newark. These lawsuits deal with issues involving police misconduct, such as beatings, theft, and illegal searches. The police are committing misdemeanors and felonies. In cases where citizens have reported police misconduct, there have been threats and harassment by the police against these citizens.
The Newark Police Department has recently settled thirty-eight separate and distinct police misconduct cases. These settlements have cost the city of Newark approximately five million dollars.
Should you, a family member or loved one be exposed to what you feel is police misconduct, contact the law office of Elliot Schlissel. We may be able to assist you in obtaining monetary damages for the police misconduct and for the violation of your civil rights. Contact us at 1-800-344-6431, or by email.
October 8th, 2010
In October of 2003, Kenneth Stevens was charged with robbing one Citibank branch and three branches of Chase Manhattan bank in New York. Mr. Stevens’s modus operandi in each of the robberies was to give the teller a note demanding money. The note also stated that he had a bomb with him.
The fourth robbery was his last one. Several blocks from the bank he was stopped and arrested. At the time of arrest he was carrying the $4,700 in cash he had taken from the bank. Unfortunately for Mr. Stevens, he also had a deposit slip that read, “I have a bomb. Give me all the money”. Mr. Stevens was also carrying with him a black plastic bag containing a coffee canister, not a bomb!
Mr. Stevens was represented at the time of his trial by a court appointed attorney named Michael Young. During the course of the trial, Michael Young had a man named Harvey Alter sit at the defense table. Mr. Young referred to Harvey Alter as his “associate”. Mr. Alter was present during the entire course of the trial. When there were conferences at the bench, he also approached the bench with Mr. Young. The court was under the impression that Mr. Alter was an attorney.
In September of 2004, the jury found Mr. Stevens guilty. Judge John F. Keenan of the Southern District of New York sentenced Mr. Stevens to 216 months in jail.
Harvey Alter Was Not An Attorney
After the trial, it was discovered that Harvey Alter was not an attorney. He was instead a convicted felon and had a business relationship with Michael A. Young, Esq.
Mr. Stevens brought an appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the second department. He claimed ineffective assistance of counsel. He further claimed that he was convicted on the felony charge of bank robbery, labeled a career offender and sentenced to eight years in prison due to the fact that his attorney’s associate was a felon.
The court found that even though Mr. Stevens attorney sat next to an individual that was a felon, it did not impact the effectiveness of his counsel. The court also pointed out that the jury was never aware that Mr. Alter was not an attorney and therefore it had no impact on the jury deliberations. Unfortunately for Mr. Stevens, he is still stuck in jail!
September 17th, 2010
Governor David A. Patterson recently signed a new statute into law that affects individuals convicted of drunk driving. The new “Driving While Intoxicated” statute requires individuals convicted of drunk driving to install interlock devices in their cars.
The new law is referred to as “Leandra’s law”, named after Leandra Rosado, an eleven-year-old who was killed in a car crash in New York City when she was hit by a drunk driver.
A vehicle with an ignition interlock system cannot be driven unless the driver first blows into the device, which checks his or her blood alcohol level. The law also requires individuals convicted of driving while intoxicated to install global positioning systems in their vehicles at their own expense, and to keep them their for a minimum of six months.
Some lawyers argue that the new law requiring the interlock devices will cause more offenders to take their cases to trial, since installing such a device in a vehicle can be very costly. However, Marie McCormick, who heads the Nassau District Attorney’s Vehicular Crimes Bureau, stated in a Newsday article that the higher cost associated with going to trial would most likely dissuade many alleged offenders from taking this action.
New Felony Statute:
In December of this year, a law went into effect in New York which makes it a felony for an individual to drive while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs when there are children in the car.
Being charged with driving while intoxicated at one time was a minor offense. This is no longer true. Today, being convicted of a “DWI” can cause an individual to lose his or her license, pay a large fine, be incarcerated and now have to install an interlocking and global positioning device in his or her car.
Should you or a friend be faced with being charged for driving while intoxicated, it is crucial for you to have effective representation. Contact the Law Offices of Elliot S. Schlissel 1-800-344-6431, or by email.
September 1st, 2010
The United States Supreme Court has recently taken action to restrict the now famous “miranda criminal warnings“. The Supreme Court rulings will have a significant impact on police procedures since police will be given more lee-way in the questioning of suspects.
The Miranda warnings are as follows:
“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to speak to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you. Do you understand these rights as they have been read to you?”
While the Miranda warnings have not been eliminated, the Supreme Court has greatly reduced the Miranda rights over the cours of the past year.
Under the court’s ruling, if you ask to have an attorney present during questioning, this request is only valid for 14 days (two weeks). After that time period, police can question you without violating your constitutional rights.
Furthermore, the court’s ruling also requires that suspects must verbally tell the police if they are going to remain quiet (if they are going to invoke their “right to remain silent“) and stop interrogation.
If you are a criminal suspect and you are arrested today, you must say to the officer, “I wish to remain silent”. If the suspect does not advise police that he or she wishes to remain silent, the police may now consider this to be a waiver of his or her Miranda rights. Legal experts feel that the court’s rulings will make it easier for police to get confessions from individuals who do not want to confess.
Should you be arrested, charged with a crime, or be the subject of a criminal investigation, it is important that you contact experienced aggressive criminal attorneys. Feel free to call the law offices of Elliot S. Schlissel at 1-800-344-6431, or by email.