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Defendant Contends Court Erred in Imposing Consecutive Sentences


An appeal was filed by the defendant who was convicted with the crimes of murder and criminal possession of a weapon. He alleged that the court erred in its decision to impose consecutive sentences for the indictments he committed claiming that the accused acted with a singular intent.

The Supreme Court, holding the recent decisions of the Court of Appeals, the determining factor to review the legality of consecutive sentences is “whether separate acts have been committed with the requisite criminal intent.” Consequently, the Court ruled that there was no overlap of the statutory elements of the crimes committed by the appellant, thus, affirming the lawful imposition of consecutive sentences.

A New York Criminal Lawyer said there were two resident gangs at Manhattan who had several altercations among its gang members. One group was composed of the defendant, his sibling and a friend while the other group was a street gang, whose two members were the victims in a shooting incident that caused filing of the felony case against the appellant. Several hours prior to the shooting confrontation, the two groups had encounters and thereafter physical altercations commenced among its gang members. One of the witnesses testified that she saw a gun being carried by the accused at that time of the altercation. After the lapse of a few hours, the defendant moved toward the victim, who was accompanied by other gang members. The group of the victim walked away from the offender to avoid any untoward incident. However, the defendant then took his gun from his shorts and chased down the victim and shot the two victims who died of gunshot wounds.

Thereafter, witnesses identified the felon as the one responsible for the killing of the victims, he was arrested by the police and then the jury trial commenced. A New York Criminal Lawyer said the defendant was found guilty of the crimes of murder and criminal possession of a weapon. The court sentenced him to consecutive terms of 25 years to life and 15 years for the two offenses having a total term of 40 years to life.

Upon appeal of the case made by the defendant, he claimed that the court erred in the imposition of his consecutive sentences based on the premise that there was no charge of illegal possession of weapon that was not connected with the crime of murder made by the prosecution.

A New York Drug Possession Lawyer said the Court based its decision on the mandatory provisions of a statute stating that “for two or more offenses committed through a single act or omission, or through an act or omission which in itself constituted one of the offenses and also was a material element of the other.” The prosecution was apt in maintaining that the primary element of murder, as defined by statute, was the resulting death of the two individuals without considerations as to the mode of killings, whether it be by shooting, stabbing or any other means employed with the use of a weapon; while the primordial consideration to be indicted of the gun crime was the actual possession of a loaded operable firearm without regard as to how it shall be used by the individual carrying the weapon. The killing and possession of firearm are considered separate and distinct acts that would constitute two separate felonies. The mere possession of a weapon is not considered necessary in the commission of murder.

Therefore, the judgment and order made by the Court convicting the defendant of the crimes of first degree murder and second degree offense for weapon possession and sentencing him to consecutive terms of 25 years and 15 years, correspondingly, was duly affirmed by the Appellate Court.

The criminal lawyers of Stephen Bilkis and Associates have already handled hundreds cases for various criminal offenses filed before the court. If you are facing any legal disputes or criminal charges involving drug possession, theft or sex crimes, do not hesitate to approach any of our possession of a weapon attorneys to orient you about the legal steps and repercussions of the suits or actions commenced in court.

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