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Warrantless Cell Phone Searches

Check out today’s video blog where we talk about warrant-less cell phone searches by the police and your rights:

Elliot S. Schlissel and his associates, for more than 35 years, have represented clients in misdemeanor and felony criminal charges. The phones are monitored 24/7. Call us for a free consultation should you have questions or problems regarding criminal matters. Elliot and his associates can be reached at 516-561-6645, 718-350-2802 or by email to schlissel.law@att.net.

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

Endangering The Welfare of a Child

nassau county criminal defense attorneysAn appeal was brought with regard to a conviction of endangering the welfare of a child by a man named Walcott. He had been on probation. He appeared at the probation department with his son. The probation officer felt that Walcott was intoxicated. A test was done on an alco-sensor machine. The machine indicated the presence of 0.129 of alcohol in his blood which was an indication he was intoxicated. Further testing was conducted by the probation officer. A urine test found the presence of cocaine and marijuana in Mr. Walcott’s urine. Mr. Walcott had a car which was parked nearby the probation department.

Walcott was charged with endangering the welfare of a child. This was based on the evidence he had alcohol in his system, his car was parked nearby and his son had accompanied him to the probation department. His conviction was based on the theory he drove his car while high on drugs and alcohol with his son present in the car to his meeting with his probation officer.

Circumstantial Evidence

Walcott argued no one saw him drive his car and all the evidence against him was circumstantial. Unfortunately, the appeals court agreed with the trial court and affirmed his conviction.

Elliot S. Schlissel and his associates have been providing criminal defense for men and women charged with misdemeanors and felonies in the Metropolitan New York area for more than 35 years. Our law firms phones are monitored 24/7 to deal with individuals charged with crimes on weekends and evenings. Elliot and his staff of attorneys are available for free consultations with regard to issues involving arrest, search warrants and other charges involving criminal activity.criminal defense on Long Island

Juvenile Justice in New York

criminal defense attorneysNew York is one of two states which allow juveniles to be tried as adults at age 16. The large majority of states do not allow prosecution as an adult until such time as the individual reaches the age of 18. It should be noted an individual of age 18 is considered an adult for purposes of voting.

Juveniles who are tried as adults and sentenced to an adult prison facility do not do well in these prisons. In most situations they end up being tutored by hardened criminals to become better criminals once they get out of jail. Teenagers in New York State who commit crimes should be dealt with under a juvenile justice system and not an adult legal system. In a juvenile justice system, they can receive rehabilitation services and training. They can also avoid obtaining a criminal record that will stay with them for the rest of their lives and have a negative impact on their obtaining a job.

Bill In the New York State Legislature Regarding Juvenile Justice

Judge Lippman, the Chief Judge of the State of New York, has proposed a new piece of legislation to the New York State Legislature which calls for the creation of a special court for 16 and 17 year olds charged with non-violent crimes in the State of New York. This proposal asks that courts have judges with special training concerning adolescent development and therapeutic approaches to juvenile criminal activity. It is suggested in this proposed legislation, if the case is resolved, no criminal charges should be filed against these adolescents. The fingerprints should be destroyed and the criminal records are to be sealed. Judge Lippman’s goal is to treat children as children. He doesn’t want them treated as adults with the stigma of a crime on their record for the rest of their lives.

Conclusion

Judge Lippman has the right idea. Putting juveniles in jail destroys their lives, is not cost effective, and is not the best route for an enlightened society to take in dealing with the crimes of a non-violent nature. I hope the New York State Legislature passes the new legislation.juvenile criminal lawyer

Nassau County’s Drug Treatment Court

criminal defense attorneyNassau County established a Drug Treatment Court in 2009. The purpose of the court is to allow individuals charged with drug related felony charges to rehabilitate themselves and avoid going to jail.

Recently eighteen graduates from the Nassau County Drug Treatment Court Program had a celebration. This was the thirtieth graduation from the Nassau County Felony Treatment Court. The court which combines therapy, random drug testing and court appearances provides an alternative to jail for alcoholics and drug offenders.

The Court’s Success Rate

More than 400 people have been involved in the program at the Nassau County Felony Drug Treatment Court since 2009. Of these 400 individuals, only 3 have committed crimes again. This is an outstanding achievement.

Cost Savings from the Court

The Nassau County Drug Treatment Court is saving the taxpayers of Nassau County millions of dollars. The treatment program costs far less than incarcerating the individuals charged with crimes. Individuals involved in the program have stated the program has “institutionalized compassion.” Instead of treating the people in the program as criminals they are treated with humility. The program lasts eighteen months. In addition, it is followed by a one year conditional release. Individuals who graduate from the program, who have been charged with felonies, can have their convictions dismissed or reduced to misdemeanors. In addition, they can have their record sealed in certain circumstances.

Judge Frank Gulotta who sits in the County Court in Nassau County stated with regard to the program that it is a “reclamation project.” He requested the program be expanded to include other individuals charged with felonies. Among those other individuals he would like to see included in the program are those charged with identity theft. He made this suggestion because many of the drug offenders are involved in identity theft too. He went on to state “instead of letting someone sit in prison for umpteen years, you are essentially producing people who can be productive members of society.”

help in handling criminal mattersElliot S. Schlissel Esq. and his associates provide aggressive legal representation for individuals charged with misdemeanors and felonies throughout the metropolitan New York area. In addition, they represent individuals being investigated for criminal activity.

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.

Gun Kept Out of Evidence

criminal defense lawyersIn a recent case in Bronx Criminal Court, Judge John Wilson threw out the criminal charge of attempted criminal possession of a weapon against a defendant named Black.

Police Heard Gun Shots

Police Officer’s testified they heard gunshots. Upon hearing the gunshots, they traveled in the direction of the sound of the shots. While traveling in that direction, they observed Mr. Black and two other individuals. They initially were walking. When the police approached the three of them, the two other individuals stopped. However, Mr. Black continued to walk and thereafter started to run as the officers pursued him.

The police officers testified when they saw Mr. Black running, his right arm had been tucked over his waistband. Upon being questioned further, they stated they did not know what type of object, if any, he had at that time.

The District Attorney asserted that the police officers had a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity due to Mr. Black’s actions after they heard the gun shots.

Gun Evidence Thrown Out By Court

The Court took into consideration no evidence was submitted to show Mr. Black and his friends were involved in the gun shots. The Assistant District Attorney claimed the gun shots and Mr. Black’s actions gave the officer’s objective credible reason to approach and make an inquiry. However, the Court took the position there was no nexus between the gun shots and Mr. Black’s actions. The Court held Mr. Black had the right to refuse to cooperate with the police. He could walk away if he wanted, or run away. The Court felt the police officers were not justified in stopping and pursuing him. The Court’s decision was there was an absence of probable cause to stop Mr. Black, search him and seize the gun. Therefore the Court suppressed the gun from being introduced into evidence.

Conclusion

criminal law assistanceNo gun, no case!

Stop And Frisk Searches Rejected By Courts In New York City – Part II

criminal defense attorneysSuppression Hearings

Lawyers can ask for a hearing to determine the propriety of the material seized by police related to searching individuals. At the suppression hearing, the Courts consider the totality of the circumstances involved in the search. They look into the suspiciousness of the behavior of the individual stopped by the police. Examples of things the Courts take into consideration are: did an individual stopped for questioning match the description of someone who had recently committed a crime? Is the area of the stop an area known to the police to be a high crime area? Did the encounter take place during the day when the lighting is good or in the evening when lighting is poor? How did the individual respond to the police presence? Was he or she nervous or agitated? How did he or she answer the police’s questions? Was he or she trying to be deceptive? Did the police see anything led them to believe the individual was carrying a weapon? Was there a bulge in the individual’s waistline? Did the bulge look like the individual had a gun in his or her pants? Did the individual cooperate with the police or try to walk or run away?

Arrested: Guns Or Drugs Seized

When an individual is arrested pursuant to a search, guns, drugs or other contraband are seized by police, it is in an individual’s best interest to retain a criminal defense lawyer. The lawyer can take legal action to challenge the propriety of the search. If the challenge is successful, the items in the search are suppressed (cannot be used to prosecute the individual). The Courts in New York are more willing to throw out the evidence seized from bad searches today than they were in the past.

About The Author

assistance in criminal court mattersElliot S. Schlissel and his associates have been practicing criminal defense law representing individuals charged with misdemeanors and felonies throughout the metropolitan New York area for more than 30 years.

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.

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