Articles Posted in New York

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The defendant is appealing a jury conviction that charged him with the crime of carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime and for possession of a weapon and ammunition by a convicted felon.

Case Background

In July, law officers executed a search warrant on the defendant’s residence. The officers testified that the defendant arrived at his home around 9:45 p.m. and got out of his vehicle and went into the house. Not long afterwards another car pulled up and the defendant came out of the house to talk to the driver of the vehicle. After the driver left the officers executed the search warrant of the property.

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The accused man along with a co-accused was convicted of robbery in the first degree. He and his co-accused had been charged with aiding and abetting the actual perpetrator; and the sole evidence linking the accused to the robbery was his own admissions. The evidence was insufficient to establish the accused man’s guilt of robbery as a principal.

The accused man’s admissions established only that he had given a gun to his co-accused who, in the accused man’s presence, then turned it over to their actual perpetrator man, whom they knew was going to use it in a robbery; and that after the robbery, and an ensuing homicide in which a police officer was killed, the accused cut his actual perpetrator’s hair in an effort to help him evade capture. It is indisputable that the accused was never present during the actual commission of the robbery and it is not claimed that he ever shared in the robbery proceeds.

Clearly, the accused did intentionally render assistance to the actual perpetrator. However, to be criminally liable for the robbery itself, he must also be shown to have shared the same specific intent or mental culpability as the actual perpetrator, and this was not done. The transfer of the weapon to the actual perpetrator, without more, is at best equivocal; and the subsequent cutting of the actual perpetrator’s hair is of little or no probative value, since it was the intervening killing of a police officer and not the robbery which obviously gave rise to the extensive manhunt. In other words, while the accused may be guilty of other crimes, such as criminal facilitation and hindering prosecution, the circumstantial evidence was not at all inconsistent with his innocence of the crime of robbery itself.

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The appeal was filed by the defendant for his conviction of the penal offenses of manslaughter that is considered a crime of terrorism, attempted murder, gun crime and conspiracy.

A law was enacted by the Congress that penalized acts of terrorism due to the terrorist attacks that happened in 2001 enumerating specific crimes considered as acts of terrorism.

On August 18, 2002, members of two rival gangs had a fight that occurred after a party was held in Bronx. A New York Criminal Lawyer said that during the fighting incident, several gun shots were fired that caused the death of a 10-year-old girl and the paralysis of a young guy. The accused was one of the members of a Mexican-American gang and was held responsible for the shootings. The prosecution claimed that said act of defendant was considered a felony of terrorism on the ground that he intended to cause intimidation or coercion towards civilian population, namely, gang members of Mexican-American descents residing in the area of Bronx.

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In this criminal case, defendant appealed from a judgment of the County Court, Nassau County (Jonas, J.), rendered November 18, 1991, convicting him of attempted murder in the first degree, criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree (two counts), reckless endangerment in the second degree, criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree, upon a jury verdict, and imposing sentence.

A New York Criminal Lawyer said the issue in this case is whether defendant’s guilt was proven beyond reasonable doubt.

The Court held that, the evidence presented at trial was legally sufficient to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant had the requisite intent for criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree. The defendant was in possession of 12.312 grams, or .434 ounces, of cocaine. There was legally sufficient evidence of the element of intent to sell a controlled substance based upon the defendant’s possession of this quantity of cocaine.

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A man who owned a bar saw two of his customers having an argument while inside the bar. He went over to them and told them to take their argument outside. The two men left the bar and stayed on the sidewalk just outside the bar and the argument escalated into a very heated argument. One man pushed the other man down. A New York Criminal Lawyer said the man who pushed the other drew a gun from his backside and fired into the crown inside the bar which by then was rubber-necking the argument outside. A patron inside the bar got hit when the ma outside fired into the bar. That man lay seriously wounded on the floor of the Bar.

Unnoticed by the man outside the bar, a police officer on beat patrol heard the commotion and the shots fired. On the other side of the street, as the gunman fired into the bar, the police officer engaged the gunman in a gunfight. A few seconds later, a car pulled up near the gunman and the gunman got inside the car. The police officer gave chase while still firing upon the car.

In the meantime, when the bar keeper and owner of the bar heard that shots were fired by the gunman outside the bar, he went behind the bar and took out his shotgun. When he heard the screeching of the tires on the street, he came out of the bar and stood next to the police officer. He fired his shotgun at the car.

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On February 26, 2001, Detective McSherry, Sergeant MC and Police Officer F., assigned to anticrime patrol in an unmarked Chevrolet Blazer and traveling northbound on Valentine Avenue in Bronx, were stopped at a red light at the intersection of Valentine Avenue and 184th Street, a high crime area. The Chevrolet Blazer was the first in line at the red light. Detective MS and Sergeant MC, both in plain clothes, sat in the front of the vehicle. Sergeant MC was the driver. Officer F., in uniform, was a passenger in the rear of the vehicle.

A New York Criminal Lawyer said that, while they were stopped, Detective MS observed three young males, one of whom was appellant, crossing the street in front of their vehicle. MS testified that as the trio passed in front of the Blazer, they looked inside. One of the three “did a double take” and all of them “appeared to become startled.” Although the three males stayed together, their pace quickened. When they reached the other side of the street, walking southbound on the sidewalk, appellant separated from the group and, “walking closer to the building than the other two” “made a gesture like he’s putting something down by the building, by a doorway in the building which would lead to an alley.” As the detective explained, “He made a motion with his hand which looked to me he was casting something away, putting something down.” Appellant then joined the other two young men, who were walking southbound on Valentine Avenue.

The police vehicle then made a U-turn and pulled up alongside the three boys. Detective MS and Officer F. rolled down their windows “to gauge their reaction.” Appellant “turned, looked at their car, looked right at MS,” “panicked” and “took off running southbound on Valentine.” The other two young men remained standing where they were.

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This involves a criminal case where the court excluded the evidence sought to be introduced in a prior, uncharged incident stating it was largely irrelevant from the alleged crime from which defendant is being indicted.

A New York Criminal Lawyer said on September 20, 1985, police officers chased herein defendants who are driving a livery or gypsy cab for suspecting to have stolen the vehicle. The officers then chased the defendants from the footbridge toward a ramp of the Henry Hudson Parkway. Reaching the bottom of the bridge, and proceeding along the exit ramp, defendant allegedly turned around and once again fired at the officers; neither officer was struck by a bullet. This time police officers returned fire, but did not strike his target. The absconders then proceeded north, away from the footbridge, and disappeared. After sometime, they were apprehended and charged with attempted murder and gun possession.

The prosecution’s star witness testified that on September 11, 1985 while driving his gypsy livery cab, defendants put a gun on the back of his head. He claimed that defendants stole his car and his money with a gun.

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The laws of arrest in the United States are well defined. The laws that provide a police officer with the ability to stop a car or a person to determine if they are involved in a crime are also well defined. However, in both cases, case law continues to define the limitations that exist when a police officer has contact with a citizen. A New York Criminal Lawyer said that as the laws stand right now, the landmark case of Terry v Ohio, 1968 still remain the predicate for a stop of a person by a police officer. This case also defines the limitations placed on the officer for patting down the outer garments of the stopped person to determine if that person is carrying a concealed weapon on their person.

One case, involved a detective who saw three men casing a drug store. The officer observed that the men were wearing bulky overcoats even though it was a hot day. The fact that the men were dressed in a manner that was incongruous of the weather conditions, made the officer pause to observe them further. While he watched, he saw that one at a time, the men would each walk up to the window in front of the store and look inside. That person would then return to the group and a discussion would take place. The officer determined that the men were probably concealing weapons under the large coats and that they were casing the store in an effort to determine the optimum opportunity to rob it. He approached the group and began to ask them questions. He was concerned that they were armed, so he ordered them to place their hands on the wall, and he patted down their outer garments. During the course of patting down the outer garments, the officer located a handgun in the pocket of the defendant’s coat (possession of a weapon). He and the others were placed under arrest. The defendant’s attorney claimed that the men were not breaking any laws at the time that the police officer approached them. He maintained that the officer had no right to stop the defendant or to search him. He appealed the conviction of the defendant to the Supreme Court on Constitutional grounds that the police officer had violated the defendant’s Constitutional right under the Fourth Amendment protections against illegal search and seizure.

The court disagreed. The Supreme Court ruled that it would not be reasonable to prevent an officer from patting down the outer garments of a person who he believed was concealing a firearm and could create a substantial risk to the officer or surrounding people. They determined that the officer had not violated the defendant’s rights because the search was not intrusive until the officer felt an object inside the defendant’s coat that the officer recognized to be the same size, weight, and shape of a handgun. The limitations on a stop under defendant, is that the officer must have articulable reasonable suspicion to stop the subject.

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At about 6:30 p.m., a 15 year old boy violated the criminal law. The boy was in unlawful barbiturates possession that can only be obtained by a doctor’s prescription. The boy, prior to his arrest, has been observed by the witness being approached by another youth who placed a dollar bill upon a mail box and in return received something from the boy. The object is being taken from the boy’s right pants pocket where the two bottles of barbiturates was found (drug possession).

There was only one witness who testified at the fact finding trial. The police officer testified that at that day from a distance of about 30 feet, he observed the boy approach a youth at a mail box on a public street in daylight, take a bill of currency placed on top of the mail box, pass an unseen object in his closed hand to the youth and then he followed the boy as he shuffled unsteadily, evidently intoxicated by alcohol or a drug, for about two blocks until he turned through the doorway of a grocery store. The police officer thereupon spoke to the boy in the store. He observed that the shuffling boy appeared to be dazed or drugged, with half-closed eyes. The police officers ask the boy to identify himself and requested to be search. The boy cooperated without objection. Upon tapping his clothes in the well-known manner, the police officer noticed hard objects in the boy’s pocket. He then asked the boy to empty his pockets. Still cooperating without objection, the boy produced two unlabeled brown bottles containing dozens of pills and nine one dollar bills. The boy confessed on the spot, as the police officer testified, that the many white pills were barbiturates and he had sold the pills. He stated that he could not remember or did not know the name of the man from whom he had obtained the pills, a strange man in a park. Quite importantly, the boy further admitted that he had been himself taking those pills for about one and one-half months and his obvious doped condition was the result of it. The pills were now in evidence.

The court was tempted to defer the proceeding, after which no chemical analysis was yet available for the purpose of obtaining the analysis from the police department laboratory. In addition, because of the failure to analyze the pills received in evidence as found in the possession of the boy, there are lengthy observations and findings which the court required to make. The opinion of the court may shed on the juvenile drug crime problem and simplify the evidence and procedures in similar cases.

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This case involves a defendant who was convicted by the jury for attempted murder in the second degree and assault in the second degree. Finding two errors of sufficient import, the court ruled that defendant was deprived of a fair trial. Thus, a new trial was ordered.

On January 4, 1977, at approximately 10:30 p. m. the victim was returning to his home at 515 West 174th Street when he was confronted outside his fourth floor apartment by a man standing four or five feet away, pointing a black handgun at him (possession of a weapon). The gunman demanded money to the victim and when the latter raised his hands and replied that he had none, the gunman fired a shot, hitting him in the face, and then fled down the stairs. The victim recognized the gun man as the defendant as the criminal.

The wife of the victim heard shots outside her apartment, she opened the door and saw defendant standing by the stairway. Two men were running down the stairs. One was on the third floor, the other on the second. The wife described the man closer to her as tall and skinny with light brown hair in a medium Afro, and wearing a long dark coat with “something white” in the collar. At trial the victim was also to describe the man with the gun as tall with a “like blond” Afro, and wearing a long, dark coat with a white collar. The wife testified that the other man was tall, slim, with short black hair and wearing “something dark.”

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