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Wrongfully Convicted

wrongful-150x150 Mr. Warney was convicted for killing a man and a woman in Rochester, New York. He was sentenced to  twenty-five years to life in prison. He had signed a confession admitting that he killed the man and woman.  He later took the position that he was tricked into confessing.

The innocence project at Cardoza Law School represents Mr. Warney. In 2008, after serving nine years of  his twenty-five to life prison sentence, DNA evidence excluded Mr. Warney as a suspect of the crime.

Mr. Warney Sues New York State For Compensation

Attorney Peter Newfield brought a lawsuit in the Court of Claims in New York asking for compensation for Mr. Warney, claiming he was wrongfully convicted. The New York statute regarding compensation states that the state is exempt from liability in situations where a defendant “by his own conduct” caused or “brought about his own conviction”. Peter Newfield, Esq., claimed that Douglas Warney confessed due to a inherently coercive interrogation. Mr. Warney, due to his low I.Q., was vulnerable to the pressures brought upon him by the police during his interrogation. It is Attorney Newfield’s position that Mr. Warney was coerced into confessing to a crime he didn’t commit.

Lower Court Dismisses Compensation Lawsuit

The initial action for compensation brought by Peter Newfield on Mr. Warney’s request was denied by the Supreme Court. Peter Newfield appealed the conviction and it was again denied by the Appellate Division. Peter Newfield now seeks the Court of Appeals to render a decision allowing his client to sue New York State to collect damages.

Task Force Appointed

A task force has been appointed by Court of Appeals Judge Theodore T. Jones to examine approximately fifty cases where individuals were wrongfully convicted. The task force is due to issue a report showing the role of prosecutors, the courts, police and defendants with regard to these wrongful prosecutions.

At the time of Mr. Warney’s confession, he claims there were eleven pieces of information that provided details concerning the crime by the police. These pieces of information were contained in his confession.

It is now up to the Court of Appeals as to whether Mr. Warney and defendants in similar situations will be able to collect from wrongful convictions based on coerced false confessions.

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Long Island and New York City Criminal Attorneys

Individuals charged with crimes are entitled to be represented by counsel. There are two types of crimes in New York, misdemeanors and felonies. Misdemeanors are lesser crimes and felonies are more serious crimes. Legal representation is important for individuals charged with all types of crimes, whether these crimes involve drug offenses, domestic violence, assault and battery, juvenile matters, shoplifting, burglary, driving while intoxicated, weapons possession, sex crimes or white collar crimes.

Every New Yorker charged with crime is presume innocent until proven guilty. It is defense counsels’ job to aggressively represent their clients. This is what we do! We’ve had excellent results in representing our clients for more than thirty years. Should you, a friend, a family member or loved one be charged with a crime or investigated related to a crime, feel free to call us at 1-800-344-6431, 718-350-2802 or 516-561-6645. Our phones are monitored 24/7.

DNA Evidence

DNA-150x150Curtis 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.

If you, a friend or a loved one is charged with a misdemeanor, felony, burglary, DWI or juvenile offense, contact the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo at 1-800-344-6431, or by email. We can help you.

DNA: A Case Solving Tool Or Brave New World

dnaThere are presently more than a dozen pieces of legislation pending in the New York State Legislature to expand the use of DNA material. Recently a DNA data bank was utilized by Westchester County legal authorities to match the DNA of Francisco Acevedo for the murders of three woman in Yonkers from 2009.

Francisco Acevedo was arrested while driving intoxicated on January 26, 2009 in Brentwood Long Island. As part of that arrest Mr. Acevedo’s DNA was taken from him last year while he was serving a prison sentence in upstate New York. This was a result of multiple felonies convictions for driving while intoxicated convictions.

His DNA was compared to a data bank maintained by the State of New York which was established in 2004. The data bank linked him to three murder victims. Mr. Acevedo now faces multiple charges of first and second degree murder. Presently state law requires DNA to be collected from individuals convicted of felonies and a variety misdemeanors. The state of New York currently obtains DNA material from approximately 46% of all individuals convicted of crimes.

State Senator Dean Skelos, from Rockville Centre New York , wants the law modified so that DNA samples are taken from every single person arrested or under suspicion for committing a felony or misdemeanor.

State Senator Skelos claims that the Acevedo case is a good example of the types of crimes that would be solved if the states DNA data bases were expanded. Senator Skelos further stated that the expanded data base could solve crimes going back as long as 30 years. Senator Skelos was asked if he had privacy concerns regarding the expanding of the data base. His response was his job was to protect the public.

Expanding DNA data bases may be helpful in solving some crime however the over expansion of DNA collection makes me think of Aidous Hudley’s book “A Brave New World”. Americans are entitled to rights of privacy. A reasonable accommodation should be made for DNA collection but not at the expense of basic rights for American citizens.

If you are under suspicion or charged with a crime, contact the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo. We have been helping our clients with criminal matters for more than 30 years. Contact us at 1-800-344-6431 or by e-mail.

Picture courtesy of criminals.com.

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