New York’s Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, aka, the MRTA, ushered in a new era for the legalization of marijuana (previously codified as “marihuana”). What it did not do, however, was create a carte blanche permission slip for every resident of or visitor to New York City, or one of its surrounding suburban municipalities such as those dotting Westchester County, to unfettered cannabis possession or sale. In fact, it established a new article of the Penal Law that practically supplants marijuana’s old Penal Law Article 221. With the codification of Penal Law Article 222, District Attorneys will now prosecute, and criminal lawyers defend, sections 222.25, 222.30, 222.35, 222.40, 222.45, 222.50, 222.55, 222.60, and 222.65. Sound like a lot? Well, from non-criminal violations to life alteringly grave felony offenses, it certainly has the potential to be quite significant even if not on par with some of the more serious controlled substance and prescription medication crimes.
When the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, or MRTA, becomes the law of New York State, the legalization of marijuana, or marihuana as previously written in the Penal Law, will usher in many changes to the criminal law. From establishing the New York State Cannabis Control Board and the Office of Cannabis Management, to memorializing who and how one can lawfully possess, plant, and sell, cannabis, the MRTA will set the course for the future all things cannabis. In terms of the criminal law, as Article 221 is reduced to a shell of its former self and is somewhat replaced by the new Penal Law Article 222, prosecutors, criminal defense attorneys, and both residents in and visitors to the Empire State will find themselves under the thumb of a new code criminalizing the illegal possession and sale of cannabis while also setting the parameters for the lawful production and distribution of the same. Before addressing these new crimes, however, it is critical to first have a basic working knowledge of some concepts and definitions found in the law.
Whether you believe New York Civil Rights Law Section 50-a, aka, the “Police Shield Law”, was necessary to protect police officers, corrections officers, and firefighters from misuse of their personnel information or you supported the statute’s repeal because withholding or making it difficult to secure disciplinary records was an impediment to fair trials and justice, the New York City Police Department took an enormous step in its promise for more transparency. Although police departments across the state – from Nassau County to Erie County and everywhere in between – must determine how to comply with the repeal and the means by which this information is made available and accessible, the online NYPD Personnel Database contains officer profiles, a trial decision library, trial calendars, information about complaints by members of the public against police officers to Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB), a Discipline Matrix, and information about civil lawsuits alleging misconduct.
In criminal matters, where defense attorneys could use findings of misconduct and disciplinary sanctions to impeach a police officer or detective testifying at trial, the above materials could be incredibly valuable. At the same time, a complaint against an officer is not proof of wrongdoing just as the same holds true for the accused in a criminal proceeding. Instead, a case by case, or officer by officer, analysis accompanied by actual findings is paramount.
It is incredibly frighting to find yourself the target of Blackmail, Extortion, or Coercion in New York City or anywhere inside or outside the Empire State. Whether you’ve done something wrong or not, when a harasser demands property – usually money – or that you engage in behavior you otherwise need not, fear can drive your decision-making process to a ruinous end. After all, should you fail to acquiesce, your attacker will make good on his or her threat to obliterate your life or career through humiliation, misrepresentations, or even something far worse. As Extortion lawyers and victim advocates protecting men and women from Blackmail, Stalking, Harassment and other defamatory type assaults, the attorneys at Crotty Saland PC have dealt with and quashed these real-life scenarios firsthand.
This past week proved busy for the attorneys at Crotty Saland PC and demonstrative of the multiple hats we wear as criminal defense lawyers, Family Court lawyers, and victim advocates. Secured a future dismissal and return of an heirloom firearm belonging to a client after a felony arrest? Yes. Successfully argued for the dismissal of multiple allegations in an Article 8 Family Offense petition seeking an Order of Protection? Yes, again. Successfully presented a case to a District Attorney’s Office for investigation and prosecution? Yes, once more.
Despite the tumultuous times we find ourselves with the polarization of our nation due to the presidential election and day to day uncertainty of the COVID world we live, one thing has remained steady. The criminal lawyers , family court attorneys, Title IX counsel, and victim advocates at Crotty Saland PC continue to secure the results our clients have come to expect while also receiving recognition for their experience, knowledge, and advocacy. From Liz Crotty and Jeremy Saland’s Super Lawyer designation in the area of criminal law for metro New York City, the American Bar Association’s publication of Jeremy’s article, “Revenge Porn and the First Amendment”, and his presentation to a Cardozo Law School class, Liz’s continued strides in her efforts to represent the People of the State of New York as Manhattan’s next Democratic District Attorney, and favorable dispositions of numerous matters inside and outside the criminal justice system, Crotty Saland PC’s actions and results once again speak for themselves.
Crotty Saland PC is pleased to once again announce that Super Lawyers has recognized Elizabeth “Liz” Crotty and Jeremy Saland as leaders and top attorneys in the New York City region for criminal defense. Former Manhattan prosecutors who kicked off their career in 2000 as rookies in Robert Morgenthau’s Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, both Liz and Jeremy have a record of success on both sides of the criminal justice system, as Family Court attorneys, Title IX and Code of Conduct advisors, victim advocates in the area of Revenge Porn, Stalking, and Extortion, and other matters both in and outside the court system. Trial attorneys who earned their stripes in the trenches of NYC’s courts, Liz and Jeremy are proud that their record and colleagues’ support once again earned them this well-deserved recognition.
Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Cuomo has issued many executive orders that touch on everything from evictions, to criminal rules such as speedy trial rights, to restrictions on bars and restaurants. One of the more recent executive orders issued on June 18, 2020 allows for liquor licenses to be immediately revoked if a bar or restaurant violated any of the reopening guidelines such as social distances of employees wearing masks. Another executive order issued the same day makes these same establishments responsible for the outdoor areas immediately outside their places of business. While criminal lawyers and liquor license attorneys understand that Cuomo is far from bluffing – the New York State Police, NYPD, and State Liquor Authority (SLA) have issued dozens of summonses to many people and businesses for violating these orders and laws – the Governor went as far as creating a multi-agency task force to address infractions and offenses.
What can I be arrested for if I violate curfew in NYC? What can the NYPD charge me with if I am caught unlawfully entering a store through a broken window? Is it a felony or misdemeanor to burn a vehicle or damage a building? By no means covering all applicable arrest charges in New York City or elsewhere, the following are some potential offenses you can face if law enforcement determines your conduct violates the law and goes beyond the right to legally protest.
While being selfish is not criminal, is potentially exposing others to the coronavirus, knowing that you may be infected with COVID-19, a violation of the New York Penal Law? What if you were concerned enough to be tested for the coronavirus and were awaiting the results? What if before you confirmed one way or another whether you were sick and infected, you boarded a JetBlue flight from New York’s JFK Airport to West Palm Beach, Florida? What if that plane carried 114 passengers and crew? What if there were countless news reports about voluntary quarantines, the concerns over air travel, how the disease spreads, and, most importantly, the potential for illness or even death? Sadly, this is not a “what if” hypothetical. The real questions should be whether this passenger committed a crime, and more specifically, Reckless Endangerment in the Second Degree pursuant to New York Penal Law 120.20.