In two unrelated cases of robbery, the same question was asked of the Court of Appeals. The question is whether the evidence plus their display of what appeared to be guns while committing a robbery enough to charge them robbery in the first degree. The first case is the people vs. Lopez, and the second is the people vs. Mendez. A New York Criminal Lawyer said both defendants were convicted of robbery in the first degree, which they appealed.
In the case of Lopez, the robbery took place on a New York street. he was with another man when he approached the victim with two other companions and declared it was a stick up. What they demanded was the victim’s radio. In the victim’s testimony, he said when the robbery was announced, the defendant placed his hand inside his pocket, as if he had a gun. The victim gave his radio, after which the defendant and the other man went in a car driven by a third man to leave the scene. He knew the defendant because he had played basketball with him several years before. The day after the incident, the victim saw the defendant on the street and identified him to the police as the one who held him up. He was convicted of robbery in the first degree for what appeared to be a gun in his pocket and robbery in the second degree on the theory he did it with another person.
The Mendez’ case happened in The Bronx. Mr. Mendez was standing near another man who was seated and when he passed, he was grabbed by the defendant from behind and pushed against a wall. He testified that the defendant demanded for everything he had and took his watch, ripped the chain from his neck and took $80 from his back pocket. The other man who was seated had his right hand under his shirt while watching them. The victim said he heard Mr. Mendez say to the other man not to show the gun to him. According to what a Brooklyn Criminal Lawyer read, it happened some time while the robbery was taking place. In this case, the victim knew the defendant as he saw him at different times at a store near where he worked as well as by his tattoos.
To consider the robbery to be first degree, there should be a display of what appears to be a dangerous weapon like a firearm. The weapon should also be proven to be loaded and can cause harm. If the weapon is later shown as unloaded or in some cases, fake, then it will go down to robbery in the second degree. In the case of Mr. Lopez, the decision was affirmed because the action of Mr. Lopez of placing his hand in his jacket pocket after declaring the stick up can be construed as a dangerous weapon even if not seen. For Mr. Mendez, the evidence was insufficient. The other person’s actions could have been held against Mr. Mendez, but the other person only sat there and watched. He did not do anything to assist in the robbery. This was changed to robbery in the third degree.
A skilled lawyer knows the requirement of the law needs to be met to be convicted of the charge. The robbery cases have their levels, and each has its own requirement. If you are charged with robbery, sex crimes or drug charges, the evidence needs to support the charges for it to be upheld.
The legal team at Stephen Bilkis and Associates have the experience to make sure when you are accused of robbery you get a result that is just. We have offices in Queens, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Manhattan, New York to assist you. In Long Island, the offices are in Suffolk County and Nassau County and Westchester County. Call us now at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW for legal assistance and a free consultation.