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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

Sexual Consent in California

Long Island criminal attorneyA new law has recently gone into effect in the State of California. The purpose of this new statute is to clarify when during the course of sexual relations “yes” means “yes”. This California law sets up requirements for colleges with regard to the procedures for looking into allegations of improper sexual conduct.

This California law was submitted by California Senator Kevin deLeon from Los Angeles. Mr. deLeon’s intent with this new statute was to require an “affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity.” This new California statute states that silence or a lack of resistence can not be construed to constitute consent for sexual relations. Individuals high on drugs, intoxicated, unconscious or semi-conscious cannot consent to sexual relations under this California statute.

Although consent to sexual relations can be non-verbal under the California law, the statute does not say what constitutes non-verbal consent to sexual relations.

Victim’s Rights

Victim’s rights advocates are major sponsors of laws preventing sexual attacks. Sexual assault advocates take the position victims do not have to prove they resisted a sexual assault for the sexual conduct to be improper.

Query

Should the consent be in writing? Should the writing be notarized or witnessed by a third party?family law and matrimonial attorney

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.

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.

Avoiding Traffic Tickets – Part II

long island vehicle and traffic law attorneysFighting the Speeding Ticket

If you receive a speeding ticket, you should plead not guilty and ask for a trial. In some situations the prosecutors will plea bargain the matter and agree to give you a lesser ticket that involves less points on your license and a smaller fine. This is usually a good approach. Insurance companies often raise the rates for car insurance for those individuals convicted of speeding tickets. If you cannot plea bargain the speeding ticket, you can challenge the application of the radar, the laser or the use of the camera. Unfortunately these challenges are a bit complicated and the best way to deal with these types of challenges would be to hire a lawyer who handles speeding ticket defense cases.

Signage

There are very specific requirements municipalities must meet with regard to posting signs regarding the speed motorists can travel at on a particular roadway. You can check the uniform traffic control devices rules (MUTCD) with regard to the location and size of signs necessary to be posted with regard to providing motorists with information concerning how fast they can travel on a given roadway.

The Trial of the Speeding Ticket

There are a number of things you can do with regard to trying a speeding ticket. You can serve requests pursuant to the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) on the police department. You can ask for the calibration specs with regard to radar guns. You can look into how often tuning forks are utilized by the radar gun manufacturer to test the radar guns. You can look into how old the radar device is and the last time it was tested for accuracy.

When the police officer testifies, you can ask him where he was in relation to your vehicle at the time you were stopped. If he paced your car with his vehicle, you can ask him how long he paced your car for. The police officer needs to establish how long a distance he paced your car for before it is appropriate for him to come to the conclusion you were speeding.

Driver Rehabilitation Courses

In the State of New York, in the event you receive points on your license, you can take a course that will remove up to four points from you driver’s license. These motor vehicle safety courses are highly recommended should you get convicted of a speeding ticket.traffic court counsel

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

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!

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.

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

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