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Defendant Contends They Did Not Carry a Weapon During Robbery


On the afternoon of May 22, 2008, John Grant walked in Staten Island Bank. He went to the teller in one of the stations and gave a note that said, “I have a gun, Fill the bag. Don’t say anything or I’ll shoot.” A New York Criminal Lawyer said the teller, in her sworn statement, said she saw a firearm and just followed the instruction give to her. She got all the money in her station and placed it inside Mr. Grant’s bag. She handed the bag back to Mr. Grant, with $1,810 in it but kept the demand note. After Mr. Grant left, she locked the doors, and she informed the police of what happened. The police arrived at the scene and the detectives who responded took the video from the bank’s surveillance. They got still pictures from the video and after an investigation that lasted for four months, found Mr. Grant, and placed him in a line up for the teller to identify. The teller did identify him as the bank robber.

Mr. Grant filed an omnibus motion where he asked the court to dismiss the one count of first-degree robbery and on one count of grand larceny in the fourth degree. An omnibus motion is motions bundled together. He said it was not enough to say he was guilty of robbery in the first degree just because of the note, which said he was in possession of a weapon, that it was loaded, and it could be used against the teller. In the jury trial, the people said the possession of a dangerous instrument was not required in the determination of a first-degree robbery. The jury found Mr. Grant guilty of one count of robbery in the first degree and one count of grand larceny in the fourth degree.

The Supreme Court was asked to review the case, and in their examination of the transcript of the hearing affirmed the charge of grand larceny in the fourth degree. They also lowered the charge for the robbery from the fist degree to the third degree. A Brooklyn Criminal Lawyer said the mere statement of a person he has a gun, and he would shoot is not enough to support the charge for a robbery in the first degree, according to a New York Robbery Lawyer who read the decision of the Supreme Court.

The ruling was appealed, and the Court of Appeals affirmed this decision as well. They said the only proof that Mr. Grant had a gun was the note which said he did. The law requires the actual use of a dangerous instrument like a gun to increase the threat when committing a robbery for it to be considered in the first degree. If this is not met then it will be deemed as a non-violent robbery of the third degree.

The law sets requirements to meet for the courts to determine, which sentences to apply. These are the one used to determine the graveness of a felony. The robbery charges are aggravated by the additional threat that a perpetrator imposes.

Stephen Bilkis and Associates’ experienced legal team will be the one to go through the proceedings with you if you are accused of a robbery, theft, sex crimes or other serious charge. We will make sure what is charged and sentenced is fair to the crime committed as you may be entitled to lesser charges. We have offices 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.

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