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Domestic Violence in New York

family law attorneyDomestic violence refers to both physical abuse and mental abuse. It most often occurs when two people are involved in a social or personal relationship and/or are living together. In the State of New York, when domestic violence arises, Orders of Protection can be obtained either from the Criminal Courts or the Family Courts.

Domestic Violence Cases

There are two sides to domestic violence cases. One side involves either having an individual arrested for domestic violence or bringing an application to the Family Court for an Order of Protection to protect a victim of domestic violence. The other side of the coin represents those charged with domestic violence who either committed domestic violence or who are unfairly charged with domestic violence.

In our law firm’s experience, sometimes a client comes to us and we help file a complaint with the police. This causes the other individual to be arrested. Thereafter the victim comes back to us a day or two later and offers to hire us to get the alleged abuser out of jail.

Domestic Violence and Divorce

Our law office has an extensive divorce legal practice. We often have clients who come to us seeking a divorce due to their being involved in an abusive relationship. In those cases it is necessary for us to quickly deal with the economic issues in divorce, custody issues, prepare applications for Orders of Protection, and sometimes help our clients obtain locksmiths to change the locks on their home to make them more secure.

Domestic Violence Can Be Stopped

The cycle of domestic violence can be stopped. Clients who are in troubled relationships require sensitive, dedicated attorneys with experience in dealing with the psychological impact domestic violence can have on a household and how it impacts on even post divorce situations. Our office does everything in our power to help our clients sleep at night and not worry about continued domestic violence and the problems related to their divorce.criminal  attorney

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

Governor Cuomo Approves New Domestic Violence Prosecution Statute

criminal defense attorneysGovernor Cuomo recently signed into law a bill which redefines stalking and aggravated harassment as crimes in New York. The statute goes into effect 90 days from Wednesday, July 23, 2014.

Court of Appeals Sets Aside New York’s Aggravated Harassment Statute

In the case of People v. Golb, 2014 N.Y. Slip Op. 03426, the New York Court of Appeals declared the second degree aggravated harassment statute, was constitutionally vague and therefore no longer enforceable. As a result, the legislature had to draft a new law with regard to issues involving aggravated harassment.

The new statute creates a crime of stalking in the fourth degree. This crime involves the unauthorized tracking of a person or individual with a global positioning system (GPS) device or through other electronic means. This creates a definition of illegally following someone.

The new statute also contains a crime of second degree harassment, a misdemeanor. This falls under section 240-30 of the New York State Penal Law. Under this statute, an individual “knows or reasonably should know” that a communication will cause another person to “reasonably fear harm to such person’s physical safety or property or to the physical safety or property of a member of such person’s same family or household.” Then the crime of secondary harassment is committed.

Domestic Violence

The new statutes are intended to clarify the laws involving domestic violence in the State of New York.

divorce attorney in Metropolitan New YorkElliot S. Schlissel is a divorce lawyer practicing in the Metropolitan New York area for more than 35 years.

New York’s Criminal Harassment Statute Declared Unconstitutional

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

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

Wife Seeks to Set Aside Judgment of Divorce After Her Husband Dies

divorce attorneyIn an unusual case, Judge Jeffrey Sunshine, sitting in the Supreme Court Divorce Part in Kings County, had a case before him where a woman sought to set aside a judgment of divorce by her husband after he died. In this case the wife claimed she was not aware of the divorce until after her husband died when she was served with a copy of the divorce papers. The divorce papers were served upon her by her deceased husband’s family. They took this action because they were challenging her ability to administer his last will and testament.

Guardian Appointed for Minor Children

Judge Sunshine appointed a guardian ad litem to represent the four minor children of the decedent. The wife stated she had no knowledge of the alleged divorce lawsuit. She had continued to live with her husband as a married couple until his death in the year 2011. Upon review of the divorce documents, she acknowledged there was a signature on her affidavit which resembled her own signature. She also acknowledged there was a signature on a Stipulation of Settlement in the divorce which resembled her signature. However, she denied any knowledge of executing these documents. She further denied any knowledge she had her signature notarized in the State of New York on either the Stipulation of Settlement or her affidavit related to the divorce.

Motion to Vacate Divorce Judgment

To set the divorce aside, she served herself with a motion to vacate the divorce judgment in her capacity as the estate administrator. She took the position that serving herself met the statutory requirements for service on the estate of notice she was seeking to set the divorce aside.

Motion to Set Divorce Aside Denied

Judge Sunshine denied the wife’s post judgment action to set the divorce aside. He found after he had appointed a guardian ad litem to represent the children, the wife refused to cooperate with this attorney. The wife ignored all of the requests by this attorney for information concerning the estate proceeding.

Conclusion

assisting in divorce and estatesThere is a saying, you are married until death or divorce. In this case, the parties were divorced and the wife sought to reassert the marriage after death!

Elliot S. Schlissel has been representing men and women in divorce lawsuits throughout the Metropolitan New York area for more than 35 years.

Juvenile Delinquency Proceedings Dismissed

A juvenile delinquency proceeding was brought before Judge Joan Posner sitting in the Family Court of Dutchess County. The presentment agency had brought a petition against a minor named Jared J.P. The allegations were that Jared had committed acts which constituted an attempted assault and the crime of menacing if he were charged as an adult. They sought to have Jared adjudicated as a juvenile delinquent.

Jared was represented by a court appointed guardian ad litem in this proceeding. The guardian ad litem requested the court dismiss the case against Jared in the interest of justice.

Jared Was Autistic

The allegations were that Jared, who was 16 years old, had been diagnosed with autism and additional mental illnesses. This diagnosis was initially made when he was 7 years old. The court appointed guardian ad litem for Jared claimed since the incident took place, he had been in a residential therapeutic educational institution. While at this residential facility his conduct had improved dramatically. In addition, it was pointed out by Jared’s attorney his family would not cooperate with regard to his prosecution. They did not want to traumatize his brothers and sisters and grandmother by forcing them to testify at trial.

A Finding of Juvenile Delinquency Would Serve No Purpose

Judge Posner rendered a decision dismissing the juvenile delinquency petition brought by the presentment agency. In her decision she stated finding Jared was a juvenile delinquent would not serve a useful purpose. In fact, she held it would be an injustice to punish Jared. Judge Posner found it was in Jared’s best interests he should remain at the residential therapeutic educational facility and it was not necessary for the court to take any further action on this case.

legal help for people who have been arrestedThe Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo has extensive experience in representing minors with regard to Family Court proceedings concerning juvenile delinquency issues and criminal proceedings brought in the Criminal Courts against minors throughout the Metropolitan New York area.

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.

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

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