Stanley Hedgeman was accused of robbery in the second degree, and the Trial court had ruled he was guilty. Mr. Hedgeman appealed against this ruling, saying it should have been dismissed because there was insufficient proof presented to show he committed the robbery while “aided by another person actually present.” This was Mr. Hedgeman’s main argument.
The Court of Appeals said the question they are asked to answer is whether Mr. Hedgeman, whose only participation was to wait outside the bank and drive the getaway vehicle is guilty of robbery in the second degree. A New York Criminal Lawyer mentioned the court further asked if a person who the victims did not know or seen, be convicted of robbery in the third degree for the crime of aggravated robbery in the second degree? They said to determine this, they must first interpret the words of the law that says, “aided by another person actually present.” Does it mean a person who was physically there or anyone who was actively part of the robbery even if not where the crime happened?
In the trial, the only evidence that the people was able to present was the testimony of the police officer who conducted the interview of the one who did the robbery. The office said the driver was identified by the accused bank robber, and the two discussed the robbery before it happened. According to the court, this does not mean the driver was close enough to be actually present or adequately involved. The testimony of the assistant bank manager, said a Long Island Criminal Lawyer, only said that he saw the suspect get in a car, and someone else was driving. He was not able to identify the driver, so it could have been another person.
In the deliberation, the court said that Mr. Hedgeman could have been away from the area and just pulled over after the robbery took place to pick up the actual bank robber. Their interpretation is that a person who was not actually there in the scene and ready to aid is not guilty of robbery in the second degree. There was no evidence, which showed he had a firearm and was ready to aid the actual bank robber if he asked. The only thing certain established in the case was Mr. Hedgeman driving the bank robber away from the scene. If he knew of the robbery, was questionable, he was not inside when the robbery was done and there was no evidence that showed he was armed. The Court of Appeals reversed the decision and remanded it for resentencing.
An experienced lawyer knows that each case is determined by its own merits. There are certain things like the interpretation of the law, which can be based from past decisions, but it will still be based on what has been proven in court. The crime may be grave but if your part in it was minute, then it may lower the charge and sentence.
If you are accused of robbery, theft, or sex crimes and charged with the crime which you think is more than what you have committed or even unsure if the charges are fair, you may be entitled to a lower charge or sentence. Stephen Bilkis and Associates have an experienced legal team who can give you your options and go through with the process with you. We have offices all over New York and Long Island to serve you. They are in Queens, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Manhattan, New York. 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.