Published on:

Court Decides if Defendants Acts were Sufficient Heinous to Justify Conviction


In this case, the defendant is a self-styled Hispanic civil rights advocate. He threatened to wreak one-half million dollars’ worth of damage to Citibank’s automatic teller machines in an attempt to induce Citibank to give money to several organizations.
A New York Criminal Lawyer said that on the evening of June 4, 1984, thirty-one Citibank 24-hour banking facilities in the Bronx and Manhattan were vandalized, and glue and other unidentified substances poured into the part of the automatic teller machines into which customers insert their cards to activate the machines. The damage was extensive. In all, sixty-eight machines had to be repaired.

In twenty-one of the twenty-seven Manhattan facilities, one of defendant’s two Citibank banking cards were used to enter the facility before the machines were damaged. At one location, defendant’s card was used to complete a transaction at an automatic teller machine shortly before it was vandalized. At another, a video camera recorded defendant’s entry into the facility just after one of his cards had been used to unlock the door, and moments before the machines inside were damaged. The next day, defendant, while denying responsibility, spoke to a Citibank regional manager and told him that 109 of Citibank’s automatic teller machines had been “hit” and glue poured into them. Two days later, defendant told several Citibank executives that he was not asking for anything for himself, only for the “Hispanic community.” Otherwise, defendant explained, it “would be extortion.”

The jury returned a verdict of guilty of the two counts submitted to it, attempted grand larceny in the first degree and criminal mischief in the third degree. The trial court, however, set aside the attempted grand larceny in the first degree conviction and substituted a conviction of attempted grand larceny in the third degree, a misdemeanor, on the ground that defendant’s criminal conduct was not sufficiently “heinous” to constitute the former.

Upon review the court held that the trial court erred since the verdict was plainly supported by legally sufficient evidence.

Jurisprudence dictates that larceny committed by extortion involving threats of personal injury or damage to property constitutes grand larceny in both the first and third degrees. Relying on the statutory language, as well as the practice commentary, the court in one case concluded that the legislative intent was that such extortion generally be treated as grand larceny in the first degree. A Suffolk County Criminal Lawyer said grand larceny in the third degree is, apparently, a ” ‘safety-value’ feature”, applicable only in the exceptional or unusual case where prosecution for the higher offense would be inappropriate. In another case, the court, held that where identical criminal conduct was prosecutable as either a felony or a misdemeanor and the defendant is charged with the felony, his request that the misdemeanor be submitted as a lesser included offense should be granted only if a reasonable view of the evidence would support the conclusion that the defendant’s conduct was not “heinous.”

In this case, defendant’s threats were substantial and obviously credible. He caused extensive damage to Citibank and great inconvenience to its customers. His purported motive is irrelevant. The conduct demonstrated here cannot be condoned in a civilized society. To conclude that defendant’s conduct was not heinous is to ignore the records of the case completely.

A New York Sex Crimes Lawyer said the Judgment rendered April 3, 1985, convicting defendant of criminal mischief in the third degree and attempted grand larceny in the third degree and sentencing him, as a predicate felon, to concurrent terms of from one and one-half to three years and sixty days, respectively, is modified, on the law, to vacate the conviction of attempted grand larceny in the third degree and reverse the sentence thereon, reinstate the conviction of attempted grand larceny in the first degree and remand for sentence thereon, and except as thus modified, affirmed.

We at Stephen Bilkis and Associates with its New York Grand Larceny Lawyers understand how difficult it is to be deprived of your rights given by the statute. With its continuous exposure in handling similar cases, its pool of New York Grand Larceny Lawyers provided excellent service to its client within New York Metropolitan area.

Contact Information