Articles Posted in Robbery

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The District Attorney of Bronx County is charged by statute to prosecute diligently and fairly every crime committed by an adult within his jurisdiction (County Law § 700, et seq.). He is an agent of the People, independent of the judiciary. Of necessity, he must be free to allocate his resources, in terms of manpower and finances, to discharge the duties of his office to the best of his ability. That includes the right to focus greater attention upon the prosecution of those charged with serious crimes and the career criminal.

The general rule in this state is that the grand jury has the power to investigate and indict regardless of what has occurred before the magistrate and regardless of whether the magistrate has held or discharged the prisoner or still has the matter pending, or of whether there has ever been such a preliminary hearing. A defendant has no constitutional or statutory right to a preliminary hearing as a condition precedent to a valid indictment.

In Bronx County, as the program is currently being implemented, there are two trial parts set aside solely for the disposition of major offender cases. There are available, of course, other parts to which the overflow of these cases may be sent for trial. The judges presiding in parts designated for hearing major offense robbery cases are aware that the defendants before them are labelled as major offenders by reason of either a record of recidivism or the serious nature of the crime charged. Parenthetically, it should be noted that the jurors do not know that the defendant is being prosecuted as a major offender. The trial part handling major offender cases is numbered as are all trial parts in Bronx County. No designation other than number identifies the courtroom. The indictment bears no special marking. The only question therefore which arises is whether the judge’s knowledge of the defendant’s background prejudices the defendant’s right to a fair trial so as to be constitutionally impermissible.

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Defendant’s moving papers consist of a rambling, prolix series of allegations, couched mainly in the form of rhetorical questions, attacking the legality of the major offender program. Without avowing any particular constitutional deprivation, criminal defendant seems to be implying that he is being denied some fundamental right by being selected for prosecution as a major offender. Such vagueness is due, no doubt, to the difficulty he has in recognizing just what right it is that he is being denied. He certainly cannot claim that he is being denied the right to a speedy trial. If anything, the program augments that right.

Generally speaking, the gravamen of defendant’s complaint seems to be that by being cast as a defendant in the accelerated prosecution program, he is being deprived of the right to be treated the same as other defendants in the criminal process. This argument is without merit.

At the root of this challenge is the oft-heard criticism that defendants prosecuted under the major offense program are being denied the plea bargain opportunities that are available to those not so prosecuted. There is, of course, no constitutional right to a plea bargain. In stating this principle, there is no intention here to disparage plea bargaining or gainsay its efficacy in the criminal justice system.

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Defendant, charged with robbery in the first degree and related offenses, moves for a dismissal of the indictment and for other forms of relief on the ground of discriminatory prosecution in that he is being prosecuted as a major offender by the Bronx District Attorney. The major offense program, which has been operating in Bronx County since July 2, 1973, with the financial assistance of the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, is basically a program of accelerated prosecution. It is directed towards the perpetrator of the serious crime and the repeat offender. Its goal is to insure swift and certain justice for such malefactor.

As part of the program, the Bronx District Attorney’s office instituted a system of screening procedures which identifies those cases in which the crime is particularly heinous or the alleged offender is a serious recidivist. Those cases are then evaluated by the major offense bureau for selective prosecution. The criminal prosecution of major offense cases is marked by limited plea bargaining, full disclosure to defense counsel, immediate and thorough case preparation, and the assignment of a single assistant district attorney to handle a given case through all stages, from inception to conclusion.

A Bronx County Criminal lawyer said that in an evaluation of the bureau’s performance in the first three years of its existence, it was found that the median time between arrest and case disposition was 97 days compared to a median time of 400 days for all other felony cases prosecuted by the Bronx District Attorney. A comparison between major offense cases and a select group of similar cases from the caseload of the Bronx District Attorney’s Supreme Court bureau shows an overall conviction rate of 96% for the former and 84% for the latter; after trial, the conviction rate was 92% for the former and 52% for the latter. In cases prosecuted by the major offense bureau, 94% of those convicted were incarcerated as opposed to 79% in the comparison group cases. A survey of dispositions in a typical year since the program’s inauguration shows that the average maximum sentence for a defendant prosecuted by the major offense bureau is 10 years. In the comparison group the average maximum is 3.5 years.

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The judgment of the Bronx County Supreme Court rendered May 12, 1986, convicting the defendant man on a plea of guilty of robbery in the first degree, burglary in the first degree, criminal use of a firearm in the first degree, robbery in the second degree, criminal mischief in the fourth degree and grand larceny in the third degree, and sentencing the defendant to indeterminate terms of from 3 to 9 years imprisonment on his convictions for robbery in the first degree, burglary in the first degree, criminal use of a firearm in the first degree and robbery in the second degree, one year on his conviction for criminal mischief, and one to three years on his conviction for grand larceny, all sentences to run concurrently, unanimously modified, on the law, to reduce the sentence imposed on the conviction for robbery in the second degree to a term of 1 1/2 to 4 1/2 years, and to reduce the sentence imposed on the conviction for grand larceny in the third degree to one year, and otherwise is affirmed. As the State of New York appropriately acknowledge, there was an inadvertent failure in the sentences imposed on the defendant for robbery in the second degree and for grand larceny in the third degree to conform to the sentencing promises made at the time the defendant entered his plea. Accordingly, the sentence imposed with respect to those charges must be modified as indicated. There is no merit in the defendant’s further contention that the plea allocution, which was quite detailed and comprehensive, was defective because of a failure specifically to inform the defendant that he was entitled to representation by counsel at the trial.

In another grand larceny case, the judgment of the Bronx County Supreme Court rendered on May 21, 2007, convicting the defendant, after a jury trial, of criminal possession of stolen property in the third degree and falsifying business records in the first degree, and sentencing her to an aggregate term of 3 days, with 5 years probation, a $5,000 fine and restitution, is unanimously affirmed.

The defendant’s argument that her conviction of possession of stolen property was against the weight of the evidence was rejected. There is no basis for disturbing the jury’s credibility determinations. The jury’s mixed verdict, which convicted the defendant of possessing stolen property but acquitted her of third-degree grand larceny related to the same property, does not warrant a different result. The defendant argues that the verdicts were inconsistent because the evidence that she possessed stolen money was also evidence that she stole it, but when a jury verdict is not repugnant, it is imprudent to speculate concerning the factual determinations that underlay the verdict. The verdict was not inconsistent because, as charged by the court, acquittal on the crime of grand larceny was not conclusive as to a necessary element of the crime of. Moreover, the jury could have determined that the defendant did not commit the crime of grand larceny because she did not intend to convert the money when she accepted it from the victim, but committed the crime of possession of stolen property because she later decided to keep the money for herself. The jury also could permissibly split its verdict as a compromise or act of leniency.

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A man was indicted for robbery in the second degree and grand larceny in the third degree. He was acquitted on the robbery charge, found guilty of the count charging grand larceny in the third degree and sentenced to five years probation and a fine of $100.

The criminal charges stemmed from an incident were a woman entered the courtyard together with her small son. As the two were walking toward east, three black youths attack her, knocking her to the ground and grabbed her purse. Her screams attracted the attention of a man, who turned to see three men running. While he could not identify any of the attackers, he came upon man hiding behind a hedge and stood guard over him until the police came.

The effort to escape was observed by the man in his continuous pursuit and he confronted the assailant who recognized him as a former schoolmate. The assailant implored his former schoolmate to let him go, but the latter rejected the request and called the victim.

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In Supreme Court, Bronx County, the defendant pleaded guilty to robbery in the second degree. Such plea covered the entire indictments. In support, defendant submits that the allocution was factually insufficient because it did not contain a statement of affirmation by the defendant that “force”, an essential element of the crime of robbery in the second degree, was used or threatened during the crimes. Additionally, Davis contends the allocution was factually insufficient as to the lesser included offense of grand larceny in the third degree in that there was no statement or affirmation by the defendant that any property was taken from the complainant’s person.

A Bronx County criminal lawyer said that the People submit that, according to applicable case law, the allocution was sufficient absent a statement by the defendant on the use of force. The People further contend that the context of the allocution establishes that defendant knowingly pleaded guilty to robbery with the use of force, in that, during the pre-allocution colloquoy, the Prosecutor described for the Court the crime where the defendant and his accomplice “used knives and they took money from [the victim]”.

The issue to be resolved is whether omission of an essential element (“force”) of a felony, robbery in the second degree by defendant, represented by counsel, and the court during the factual allocution of a guilty plea to a prior felony conviction is legally sufficient as the constitutional basis for a predicate felony sentence.

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On 16 September 1978, the defendant was arrested and charged in one accusatory instrument, a felony complaint, with two crimes, i. e., Violation of Sections 265.02, a felony and 240.50, a misdemeanor. On 21 November 1978, a preliminary hearing was held by the court. The people offered the testimony of officer GA and a forensic report by the NYPD attesting to the operability of the weapon pursuant to 180.60, (8) CPL, 190.30, (2), CPL.

To justify the granting of a preliminary hearing on the misdemeanor charge, it must be determined that the repeal of 170.75 CPL rescinding the right of a defendant to a preliminary hearing in a misdemeanor case is inapplicable in any case where a defendant is properly charged in a felony complaint with a misdemeanor and a felony.

The court finds it proper to review the statutes governing preparation of accusatory instruments.

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Defendant is charged with Robbery in the First Degree, Robbery in the Second Degree (two counts) and Grand larceny in the Third Degree. Thereafter, he testified under a waiver of immunity before another grand jury concerning unrelated crime. The charges were dismissed and the minutes sealed.

A Bronx County Grand Larceny attorney said that the People allege that the events which were the subject of that proceeding occurred “within hours” of the incident that supports the current indictment. Accordingly, they move to unseal the minutes so that defendant’s testimony can be used to impeach him if he testifies in this case and offers an alibi which is inconsistent with “his testimony concerning his actions and whereabouts at approximately the same date and time”. The defendant opposes the motion. He argues that public policy in general protects an accused who is later exonerated of criminal charges from adverse consequences resulting merely from an accusation. The grand jury minutes were sealed pursuant to CPL Section 160.50, which provides that upon termination of a criminal action in one’s favor–including dismissal of the charges and acquittal, for example, –all official records and papers, including the grand jury minutes relating to the arrest or prosecution of that charge, be sealed. The sealing statute is intended to insure that “one who is charged but not convicted of an offense suffers no stigma as a result of his having once been the object of an unsustained accusation”, or, as in this case, to protect one from unfounded accusations, if, in fact, no indictment is returned.

That rule of secrecy, however, is not absolute. For example, the CPL provides for disclosure of sealed materials to prosecutors, and law enforcement agencies, and the purposes for which their applications will be granted. None of those narrowly defined exceptions support the People’s application herein.

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An appeal was made by an accused man from a judgment of the Kings County Supreme Court convicting him of 4 counts of robbery in the first degree, 2 counts of robbery in the second degree and 4 counts of grand larceny in the third degree upon a jury verdict and imposing sentence.

Judgment was modified on the law by reversing the criminal convictions of robbery in the second degree and grand larceny in the third degree and the sentences imposed thereon and the said counts are dismissed. As so modified, the judgment is affirmed.

The first two counts of the indictment charge the robbery in the first degree acting in concert with other persons actually present in the robbery scene, forcibly stole certain property and that he and the other perpetrators displayed what appeared to be a firearm and used and threatened the use of a dangerous instrument. The fifth and sixth counts, respectively, repeat the same allegations as to the complainant. The theft of the same property specifically listed in the counts charging robbery in the first degree also constitute the basis of the convictions of robbery in the second degree and grand larceny in the third degree. The evidence firmly establishes that the accused perpetrated the robbery with the assistance of three other armed accomplices. Burglary was not charged.

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This is an appeal by the defendant from a judgment of the Supreme Court, Kings County, rendered April 9, 1985, convicting him of robbery in the third degree, grand larceny in the third degree, reckless endangerment in the first degree, and criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree, upon a jury verdict, and imposing sentence. A Kings Grand Larceny Lawyer said that, on this appeal, the defendant claims that the evidence adduced at his trial did not establish his guilt of robbery in the third degree and grand larceny in the third degree.

A Kings Criminal Lawyer said that, before allowing a defendant to proceed pro se, the court must determine that the defendant’s waiver of the right to counsel is made knowingly, voluntarily, and. While there is no “rigid formula” to be followed in such an inquiry, and the approach is a flexible one, the record must demonstrate that the defendant was made “aware of the dangers and disadvantages of proceeding without counsel”. In particular, the record should show that the trial court ” adequately warned the defendant of the risks inherent in proceeding pro se, and apprised the defendant of the singular importance of the lawyer in the adversarial system of adjudication. The record should also disclose “that a trial court has delved into a defendant’s age, education, occupation, previous exposure to legal procedures and other relevant factors bearing on a competent, intelligent, voluntary waiver” of the right to counsel.

The issue in this case is whether court erred in convicting the defendant of grand larceny and robbery, not burglary, in the third degree.

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