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Cell Phone Search Kept Out of Court

criminal defense lawyer in Nassau CountyA judge in Kings County has suppressed evidence which would have shown a man charged with a sexual crime photographed the child sex victim. The evidence was not allowed to be presented in court. This was an interpretation by a judge in Brooklyn of the United States Supreme Court precedent which protects cell phones under the fourth amendment to the United States Constitution. The Supreme Court case stated cell phone material is protected and a search warrant is required to view the material on a cell phone.

About the Case

There had been a case in King County, Criminal Court before Judge Michael Gerstein. The case involved a Satmar Orthodox Jewish spiritual counselor who had molested a young girl for a period of three years. During the course of the trial he was charged with 59 counts of sexual abuse. He was convicted and sentenced to 50 years in prison.

Spectator at Trial – Cell Phone Search

During the course of the trial, the judge admonished spectators in the courtroom not to utilize their cell phones. Yona Weissman, who was in attendance at the trial, in violation of the judge’s order, utilized her cell phone for photographs during the course of the trial inside of the courtroom. A court officer took the cell phone from her and searched it. On the cell phone the court officer found photographs of the victim. Yona Weissman was charged with crimes related to the evidence uncovered during the search of her cell phone.

Judge Gerstein sitting in the Supreme Court in Kings County stated in his decision the search violated the Supreme Court’s recent holding in the matter of Riley v. California. The photographs of a sexual abuse victim could not be used in the prosecution of Ms. Weissman.

Conclusion

With the advance of technology, cell phones now store huge amounts of individuals’ private information. Although in this case a person guilty of a crime may have avoided conviction, it is important that privacy rights of Americans be maintained. Cell phones now have the capabilities that only a few years ago were reserved for desktop computers. Many individuals have all of their personal information, life history, photographs and all types of materials on cell phones. They need to be protected from reasonable search and seizure. The fourth amendment to the United States Constitution requires a search warrant under current law to search the material in a cell phone.criminal attorney on Long Island

Are Warrantless Cell Phone Searches by the Police Admissible into Evidence?

criminal defense attorneyThe United States Supreme Court Will Rule on This Matter

The United States Supreme Court recently agreed to hear a case regarding whether a police officer can search the cell phone of an individual under arrest without obtaining a search warrant. Today cell phones contain an enormous amount of information about an individual. The legal issue presented to the Justices of the United States Supreme Court is whether the information obtained from a warrantless search of an individual who is under arrest’s cell phone is an unreasonable search in violation of the individual’s fourth amendment rights to the US Constitution. Prosecutors throughout the entire country are paying attention to two cases the Supreme Court has before it dealing with warrantless cell phone searches. The technological advances made regarding the amount of personal information stored on cell phones will have a significant impact on American’s lives and the ability of law enforcement agencies to obtain personal information from cell phones.

Searches of Individuals Under Arrest

Police officers can search an individual and the area around him without a search warrant at the time of an arrest. This is to ascertain the individual is not armed and does not have weapons near him or her that could be used to injure the police officers. The police also can secure evidence maintained on the defendant related to the reasons for his or her arrest.

The first case before the Supreme Court involves an individual by the name of David Riley. Mr. Riley was convicted in California of three charges relating to a situation in San Diego in which gun shots were fired at a car. The prosecutors were able to produce evidence from a photograph on his cell phone that showed him standing in front of a car similar to the one that was at the crime scene.

In the second case before the United States Supreme Court the Federal Government is appealing an Appeals Court decision that tossed out three drug and fire arm charges against Brima Wourrie. Wourrie had been convicted by a jury in Massachusetts. The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said in a ruling in May, that police officers could not search Wourrie’s phone without a warrant.

The United State Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments on both cases in April of this year.

Opinion of the Writer

The United States Supreme Court should not allow warrantless searches of cell phones. Cell phones are mini computers today that maintain enormous amounts of personal information. The technology that allows ever expanding amounts of information to be maintained on smartphones should be protected under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution which bars unreasonable searches without warrants.

criminal defense assistanceThe Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo are composed of five attorneys. The attorneys represent individuals charged with crimes throughout the Metropolitan New York area. The firm has extensive experience in representing individuals charged with misdemeanors and felonies. The criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo are available to deal with criminal matters seven days a week.

Gun Suppressed Due To Bad Search By Police

criminal defense attorneysIn the beginning of May 2013, Christian Munez was arrested for possession of marijuana. He was brought to the 44th precinct in the Bronx. He was questioned by Sergeant Christopher Pascale. Sergeant Pascale did not read Mr. Munez his Miranda Rights. Mr. Pascale questioned Mr. Munez about other crimes in that area of the Bronx. He alluded to the fact Munez was lying and stated “I wouldn’t be surprised if you had a gun.” Sergeant Pascale noted Munez’s evasive reaction to the discussion of there being a gun in his home. This caused Sergeant Pascale to question another man who had been arrested at the same time with Mr. Munez. This other defendant acknowledged that there was probably a gun in Munez’s home.

Search of Munez’s Home

Police officers went to Munez’s apartment. While the officers were at Munez’s apartment, Sergeant Pascale went back to the precinct. He told Munez that if they found a gun in his apartment, everyone in the apartment would be arrested and jailed. The officer advised him, in the event he refused to consent they would get in touch with his parole officer. The parole officer could search the apartment without a warrant and cause everyone in the apartment to be incarcerated.

Judge Suppresses the Seized Gun

District Court Judge Louis Kaplan suppressed the gun seized from Munez’s home. His decision stated the police representations about getting the search warrant to Christian Munez, and everyone would be arrested invalidated Munez’s consent for the search. Judge Kaplan stated the involuntary consent and a similar consent to a search obtained from Munez’s father required that the gun police found be kept out of evidence. Judge Kaplan further stated in his decision “where police have an honest basis for their statement, it is not coercive to make it.” “But false threats made in order to obtain consent deprived the suspect of a free and informed choice based on the realities before him.” The judge also held the representations to Mr. Munez that his family members would be arrested if he did not consent to the search was also coercive.

criminal defense counselElliot S. Schlissel Esq, and his associates provide legal representation regarding criminal cases throughout the Metropolitan New York area. The are well respected criminal defense lawyers.

Hot Pursuit of an Individual Suspected of Committing a Misdemeanor Does Not Allow Police Officers to Enter His Home

criminal defense attorneysJudge John Wilson sitting in the Criminal Court of Bronx County was recently presented with a case involving a warrant-less entry into a man’s apartment. Police officers were investigating a crime scene in the Bronx. Mr. Cruz approached the scene and threw a piece of metal at one of the police officers. The police officer claimed the piece of metal almost struck him. Thereafter the police tried to arrest Mr. Cruz. Mr. Cruz did not wait around long enough for the police to successfully arrest him.

Mr. Cruz ran to his apartment. The police entered his apartment and claimed Mr. Cruz resisted arrest. The police charged Mr. Cruz with possession of a weapon, resisting arrest, and obstructing governmental administration. The police officers claimed they saw that Mr. Cruz had in his possession and control a handgun which was located in his mattress.

Cruz Seeks to Have Criminal Charges Dismissed Based on a Warrant-less Search

Cruz took the position the police did not have authority to enter his home and search it without a warrant. The district attorney’s office took the position the police did not need a warrant because they were in hot pursuit of Mr. Cruz. Judge John Wilson claimed the hot pursuit exception allowing for warrant-less searches only applied when they were pending felony charges. In this case, Judge Wilson took the position since the allegations against Mr. Cruz only amounted to misdemeanor criminal charges there was not a strong enough stated reason to justify a warrant-less search of his apartment. The judge’s ruling stated the police were without authority to arrest Mr. Cruz in his apartment without a search warrant on a misdemeanor charge.

criminal defense for New YorkersElliot S. Schlissel has acted as a criminal defense attorney for men and women being investigated and charged with crimes throughout the metropolitan New York area.

Man Convicted Due To Cat’s DNA

criminal defense lawyerIn a case in London, England, a British DNA database of cat’s DNA was used to convict a man of the crime of manslaughter.John Wetton of the University of Leicester stated “this is the first time cat DNA has been used in a criminal trial in the U.K.”

The Case

Investigators found the dismembered torso of David Guy.His dismembered torso was found in trash bags.Detectives found cat hair at the scene.The cat hair was matched to a cat named Tinker, which belonged to one of the victim’s neighbors.

As a result of the DNA cat hair evidence, Mr. Hildre, age 47, was tried and sentenced to life in prison. The cat has been adopted by new owners!

About The Author

criminal attorneyElliot S. Schlissel, Esq. is a criminal attorney with more than 37 years of legal of experience.His law office represents clients all types of criminal matters throughout the metropolitan New York area.The office can be contacted for a free consultation.

Intoxication, Without More Evidence, Does Not Establish Reckless Driving

nassau county criminal defense attorneysIn October of 2012, the Appellate Division of the Third Department, an Appeals Court in the State of New York, found a jury should have been instructed intoxication, without further evidence, did not establish reckless driving. Upon making this ruling, the court set aside the conviction of a defendant named Goldblatt.

Goldblatt had been convicted of aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular manslaughter in the first degree, manslaughter in the second degree (2 counts), assault in the third degree, reckless endangerment in the second degree, driving while intoxicated (two counts) and reckless driving.

Goldblatt had been driving an SUV in a 40 mile an hour zone at 55 miles per hour. His car went off the road. He hit two people who died from their injuries.

An Appeal

Goldblatt’s lawyers argued on appeal he should not have been convicted on the top count of the indictment which was aggravated vehicular homicide. Their position was this conviction was not supported by sufficient evidence. They claimed the Court at the trial level did not properly instruct the jury regarding the criminal charge of aggravated vehicular homicide. The appeals court reversed the conviction on the aggravated vehicular homicide. The case was sent back for a new trial on this criminal charge. The reason for the Judge’s finding was he agreed with Goldblatt’s lawyers’ argument that the jury had not been properly instructed as to what they must find to convict him of this criminal charge.criminal attorney to assist

United States Supreme Court Limits The Use Of Drug Sniffing Dogs

criminal defense lawyerIn a decision of first impression, the Supreme Court of the United States has recently ruled police officers cannot take a drug sniffing dogs onto the property of a potential suspect without a search warrant. Police organizations are concerned this will limit their ability to use drug smelling dogs to locate illegal narcotics.

Evidence Seized, Thrown Out Of Court

Justice Antonin Scalia, in the Supreme Court’s ruling, stated the Fourth Amendment of the United States constitution guarantees Americans the right to be free of government intrusion into their homes and in the areas surrounding their homes. He further stated “the police cannot, without a warrant based on probable cause, hang around on the lawn or in the side garden, trolling for evidence and perhaps peering into the windows of a home.”

Supreme Court Justice Scalia went on to say it was not the dog that was the problem “but the behavior here that involved the use of the dog.” “We think a typical person would find it is a cause for great alarm to find a stranger snooping on his front porch with or without a warrant.”

The case involved Miami-Dade Police Department and Federal DEA agents investigating a marijuana growing operation in Florida. The defense counsel for the individual charged with possessing marijuana plants argued the dogs sniffing outside the door of the home where the marijuana plants were located was an unconstitutional intrusion by law enforcement officers into the home without a search warrant. In this case, the United States Supreme Court agreed.

About The Author

help in criminal courtElliot S. Schlissel, Esq. and his staff of criminal attorneys have been representing individuals charged with crimes, investigated regarding crimes and arrested for more than 35 years. The office offers free consultations to prospective clients. The office phones are monitored 7 days a week and the law firm can be reached at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) Charges Dismissed

nassau county criminal defense attorneysIn a case before Gerri Pickett in the criminal court of Kings County the Judge found the accusatory instrument charging an individual with driving while intoxicated was facially insufficient. Her conclusion was based upon the fact there were no actual allegations supporting the charges essential elements in the accusatory instrument filed by the Kings County District Attorney’s office.

The accusatory instrument alleged that a police officer observed an individual named Padmore standing with a non-party named More. The officer’s statement alleged Padmore stated “he hit and sideswiped another vehicle.” Damage was caused to the other vehicle. Other individuals then drove his car away from the scene of the accident. The officer further stated she observed Padmore to be intoxicated.

Evidence Of A Criminal Offense

The Court’s decision stated in New York Criminal Procedures Law Section 60.50 for an individual to be convicted, in addition to a confession, there had to be evidence the criminal offense was actually committed. The Court found the prosecution did not meet the minimum requirement of facial sufficiency. There is a question as to whether Padmore “operated the vehicle.” Since no one saw Padmore driving the vehicle his own statement was the only proof of the officer’s conclusions. Since there was no corroborating evidence of driving while intoxicated, the Judge dismissed the case.

About The Author – New York Criminal Defense Lawyer

criminal defense on Long IslandThe Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo has been representing men and women charged with misdemeanors and felonies throughout the metropolitan New York area for more than 34 years. Call the law office for a free consultation.

New York Police Officer Convicted of Robbing Drug Dealers

Jorge Arbaje-Diaz was a New York City Police Officer.  He was arrested in 2008.  He was charged in a federal court proceeding with fourteen other members of a robbery crew.  The charges against him say that they posed as police officers for the purposes of robbing narcotics dealers in the east coast.  Arbaje-Diaz and one other member of the criminal crew were actual police officers.  It is estimated that he participated in more than one hundred violent robberies of narcotics dealers. It is thought that these robberies resulted in more than four million dollars received by his criminal group.

Sentenced to Twenty Years In Prison

Jorge Arbaje-Diaz was sentenced in June 2011 to twenty years in prison.  The prosecutors, in their indictment of him, alleged he used his status as a police officer to gain access to the homes utilized by the drug dealers. Once they were in the home they tied up and tortured their victims until they told them where there drugs and money were hidden.  During at least one robbery Arbaje-Diaz while in his New York Police uniform, carrying his firearm, badge and handcuffs with him actively participated in the robbery.

At the time of the sentencing US Attorney Loretta Lynch stated “today’s sentence will send a strong message that anyone who abuses a position of public trust by committing such heinous crimes will be severely punished.”  At his sentencing Arbaje-Diaz’ attorney argued for a more lenient sentence.  He asked to be only sentenced to ten years instead of twenty years in prison.  The basis of his argument was that a “dirty cop would have a very difficult time inside of prison”.  Unfortunately for Mr. Arbaje-Diaz the judge was not moved by the argument and sentenced him to 20 years in a federal prison.

New York City and Long Island Criminal Defense Lawyers

If you, a friend or loved one are being investigated for a crime that is the time you need to hire an attorney.  You should hire a criminal defense lawyer as soon as you suspect the police or other investigatory agencies are looking into your conduct.

An experienced criminal defense lawyer can mean the difference between walking free and spending a significant portion of your life in a prison.  The attorneys of the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo are known throughout the court system as dedicated, knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers.  The firm has experience in handling computer and internet crimestraffic ticketsviolent crimeswhite collar crimessex crimesweapons possessiondriving while intoxicated (DWI/DUI), shop lifting, burglary, juvenile offensesassault, assault and batterymisdemeanorsdomestic violencedrug offenses and all other types of misdemeanors and felonies. Feel free to call for a free consultation.

Coerced Interrogations

A documentary “Scenes of a Crime” deals with ten hours of taped interrogations of Adrian Thomas at a police station in Troy, New York, in 2008.  The ten hours of taped interrogations resulted in a disputed confession which is the subject of the documentary.  The confession related to a high profile baby killing case.  The Appellate Division for the Third Department located in Albany, New York, is currently considering an appeal of Mr. Thomas’ conviction based on the ten hours of interrogations.

Police Officers Lie

During the ten hours of taped interrogations, Mr. Thomas was continually lied to.  He was mislead over the two days of interrogations.  The police played good cop/bad cop.  The good cop tried to befriend Mr. Thomas.  The bad cop threatened him and called him a liar.  The detectives threatened to arrest his wife.  They sought to shame him into “being a man” and taking responsibility for the murder of the child so the wife would go free.

They lied to Mr. Thomas about the child being alive, and the doctors trying to save his life.  Mr. Thomas, over the ten hour period, went into a deep depression and talked about suicide.

Mr. Thomas Confesses

In the end the police convinced Mr. Thomas to confess.    He confessed to throwing the infant into the crib three times.

Psychological Coercion

The defense sought to submit an expert witness to testify to the issue of psychological coercion and the use of psychological coercion to obtain false confessions.  The defense tried to have Richard J. Ofshe, a social psychologist and Professor Emeritus at the University of California at Berkeley, testify.  The judge ruled that Mr. Thomas’ theories were not “general[ly] acceptance[d] in the scientific community” and, therefore, were not admissible into evidence.

The police initially believed that the child, Matthew Thomas, died of a severe skull fracture.  In the end, they learned that this diagnosis was incorrect.  There was no skull fracture.  The new theory of how the death took place was based on shaken baby syndrome, which is a crime.

Mr. Thomas Had No Prior Criminal Record

Mr. Thomas had never been previously arrested.  During the interrogation they had insisted for hours they had no idea what happened to the child.  He eventually weakened.  The police repeatedly said that whatever had occurred they are sure it was an accident and that he would not be arrested.  They offered numerous suggestions to him as to how the baby could have been inadvertently hurt.  In the end Mr. Thomas stated “if it comes down to it I’ll take the blame for it because, listen, I didn’t do it, when it comes down I take the rap for my wife so she won’t go to jail…I don’t want my wife to go to jail…I’m saying I will take the fall for my wife because I got a good wife.”

Police asked him again what happened and he responded “I don’t know how it happened”.  The officer then stated “then you can’t take the fall for your wife.  We gotta go pick your wife up.”

At the end of the interrogation Mr. Thomas acknowledged that he threw the baby down in the crib which resulted in the child’s death.  He was convicted by the jury.

The appeal pending before the appellate division of the third department has to do with setting aside the decision made by the jury based on a coerced confession.

Criminal Defense Lawyers

If you, a friend or family member is arrested or is anticipating being arrested relating to a crime you need the best possible criminal defense lawyer for legal representationThe criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo have extensive experience in dealing with the criminal courts throughout the metropolitan area.  We represent individuals charged with computer and internet crimes, traffic tickets, violent crimes, white collar crimes, sex crimes, weapons possession, driving while intoxicated (DWI/DUI), shop lifting, burglary, juvenile offenses, assault, assault and battery, misdemeanors, domestic violence, drug offenses and all other types of misdemeanors and felonies. Call us for a free consultation. Our phones are monitored 24/7.

Valley Stream, Lynbrook, Baldwin, Malverne, Freeport, Oceanside, Long Beach, Elmont, Lakeview, West Hempstead, Hempstead, Merrick, Bellmore

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