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Heckling – A Felony in California?

On February 8, 2010, Israeli Embassador Michael Oren was to give a speech at the University of California in Irvine. The room was packed with more than five-hundred people. As Embassador Oren started to give his speech, on four separate occasions, individuals in the audience stood up and shouted. He was drowned out. He eventually walked off the stage. Embassador Oren, after a period of time, returned to the stage. On six additional occasions, he was heckled to the point of being prevented from giving a speech to the audience. On each occasion he was heckled, campus police escorted the individual that was heckling Embassador Oren out of the auditorium.

The University of California in Irvine suspended the ten students who heckled Embassador Oren. The students were members of the Muslim Student Union. The heckling was an organized event by the Muslim Student Union.

heckling-150x150District Attorney Convenes a Grand Jury

Tony Rackauckas, the Orange County District Attorney, has convened a grand jury for the purpose of indicting the students. In the event an indictment is handed down by the grand jury, each of the students will be charged with a felony. This has raised questions as to whether heckling is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

University of Berkley Law Professor Jesse Choper has stated, “I think it is quite clearly accepted that there is no First Amendment right to shout down the speech of another, especially in an organized talk.” The university community in Irvine is pressing the District Attorney’s office not to charge the students with criminal offenses.

Carol Sobel is the attorney representing the students. The students have been subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury. In a recent interview on the California public radio, she stated that grand juries are rarely convened to deal with misdemeanor charges. She is concerned that the District Attorney’s office is considering indicting the students for conspiracy based on the theory that their heckling the Israeli Embassador was planned in advanced. The Muslim Student Union denies these allegations.

attorney1-150x150Freedom of Speech

The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo can represent you if you are charged with a felony or misdemeanor. Should you be facing a grand jury indictment, it is important to be represented by an experienced criminal attorney. In addition, our law office represents individuals charged with possession of drugs, domestic violence cases, juvenile criminal matters, as well as driving while intoxicated cases. We help our clients with both violent crimes and white collar crimes. Call us if you need assistance at 1-800-344-6431; 516-561- 6645 or 718-350-2802.

Designated Driver (but not his Friends) Held Liable for Damages


James May, Jr. Of Melville, New York and his friend, Michael Hoenig, had gone to the Nutty Irishman Bar in Farmingdale with their friend Michael Rahner. Michael was the designated driver for the group.

During the course of the evening, James May, Jr. and Michael Hoenig brought their friend Michael Rahner a series of drinks. The boys were out drinking on December 2, 2007. On the way home from the bar, there was a car accident and a passenger by the name of Ryan Luciere was injured.

New York has a Dram Shop Law. This law makes bars financially responsible if a patron of theirs’ is served alcoholic beverages while intoxicated.

Ryan Luciere of Plainview sued the Nutty Irishman Bar for serving alcohol and beverages to Michael Rahner while he was intoxicated. The attorney for The Nutty Irishman then sued Michael’s friends, Michael Hoenig and James May, Jr., claiming that when they bought drinks for Rahner, they were in violation of their oral agreement as to who would be the designated driver. The Nutty Irishman sued these two men to reduce their financial exposure in the case.

Judge Randy Sue Marber rendered a decision on September 29, 2010, that stated that although the two friends may have had a moral obligation to avoid buying drinks for the designated driver, this created no legal responsibility for them. She dismissed the lawsuit brought by The Nutty Irishman against theses two men. It should be noted that Michael Rahner was charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) after the crash. Upon his trial on this criminal charge, he was acquitted.

About Our Firm

We have extensive experience in representing our clients on misdemeanor and felony charges.

Our office represents individuals charged with driving while intoxicated. We also assist individuals who are injured in car accidents, wrongful death cases and who are injured as a result of a slip and fall.

If you have questions on these issues, feel free to contact us for a free consultations at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

Roughed-up at the Welfare Office

security-150x150Ayala works for the Human Resources Administration. He is a security officer. He is currently under investigation for physically assaulting individuals in two separate incidents during a three week period. William Broady went to the welfare office on September 22, 2010. He was applying for Medicaid. He waited for hours and hours and, in the end, he was told to come back the next day.

William was unhappy. He went back in and sat down in the welfare office. He stated, “I’m not leaving until you help me”. He was approached by Wilfredo Ayala. Wilfredo grabbed him by the collar and dragged him into the hallway. He then threw him on the floor. He hit him in the eye with his flashlight. He then hit him in the nose with his flashlight. William was now in pain. He begged to leave; however, Wilfredo was not done. He put him in a choke hold. He then took him to the HRA locker room. He charged him with a felony assault and resisting arrest. When the police were called to the scene, William was taken to the hospital.


On the date of Ebony’s incident, Ebony was fourteen weeks pregnant. On that date, at approximately 4:20 p.m., her case was too complicated to be handled by one of the clerks at the welfare office. He told her that she should leave and come back the next day. She advised the clerk how unhappy she was with him. She asked that a supervisor intervene to help her.

She claims thereafter that a man in shorts suddenly came up behind her husband. He started yelling something and then grabbed her husband around the neck. He then slammed her husband’s head on the desk and then onto the floor. A second security officer, under Wilfredo’s direction, grabbed her and dropped her to the floor. Thereafter, both she and her husband were handcuffed and given summonses for harassment. She started to bleed and was taken to the hospital and released ten hours later. As a result of the incident, she suffered a miscarriage.

Wilfredo Ayala’s actions were uncalled for, irresponsible and criminal. He should be charged with committing an assault. The individuals beaten by him should sue both him and the Human Resources Administration related to his assaulting of people coming to their office seeking help.

Personal Injury Attorneys

If you are assaulted and receive injuries, we can help you. No one has the right to attack you. Our office has represented individuals in all types of personal injury matters for more than thirty years. We assist our clients with injuries received in car accidents, truck accidents and slip and fall accidents. We represent families whose loved ones have been involved in a wrongful death situation.

Should you be assaulted, the individual assaulting you should be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony. For help with legal matters, call us at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.

Trial in Absentia

court-150x150A 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!

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.

Gang Colors Not Enough To Search Car

searchA 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.

Not Your Average Domestic Violence Case

phones1-150x150An 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.

The case is entitled People v. Smith. It is pending in Brooklyn before Justice D’Emic.

Grand Jury Testimony To Be Used At Trial

The woman involved was so intimated by these phone calls and the treats made in these phone calls that she is no longer willing to cooperate with the district attorney and testify 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.

Police Abuse In Newark

PoliceAbuse-150x150There 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.

Help Dealing With Police Misconduct

Should you, a family member or loved one be exposed to what you feel is police misconduct, contact the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo. 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.

Non-Attorney Felon Helps Lawyer

courtroom1-150x150In 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.

Appeal Based On Ineffectiveness Of Counsel

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!

Should you have questions regarding misdemeanors, felonies or other criminal matters, free feel to contact the criminal attorneys at the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo at 1-800-344-6431, or by email.

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