One of the fundamental distinctions in Family Law that often goes overlooked by the lay person and is only truly understood when a Family law attorney or New York child custody lawyer is consulted, is physical vs. legal custody as addressed in New York Family Court Act Article 6. Generally speaking, physical custody has to do with where the child or children primarily reside, and legal custody has to do with decision-making and child-rearing issues. While joint physical is fairly uncommon, due to the obvious practical difficulties for a child in many common circumstances, so-called “joint” legal custody is much more frequently ordered and/or agreed to. To a substantial degree, getting the visitation or “parental access” right is critical to making joint custody work.
According to multiple reports, initially broken by courtroom sleuth and NY Daily News reporter, Shayna Jacobs, Harvey Weinstein is set to turn himself in on Friday to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for arrest and prosecution. Although it is not clear at the time of this writing whether the infamous movie mogul is being charged by way of a felony complaint or indictment, the latter being worse than the former, the notoriety surrounding Weinstein’s alleged sexual predation and his personification of #Metoo have come back to bite him the proverbial ass. Regardless of what ultimately happens, and I remind everyone that as ugly as the allegations have been he is entitled to the same presumption of innocence as any one of us, if Lucia Evans is the complainant for forced oral sex, there are numerous sex crime related felonies and misdemeanors that the disgraced filmmaker may or will likely face. Again, I have no direct knowledge of who the victims might be, what information, if any, prosecutors presented to a Grand Jury or drafted on a felony complaint, or what the evidence the District Attorney possesses. As such, the potential crimes address in this blog may be completely or partially accurate and are, at this time, based on various historical and current news reports.
With a collective sigh from all sides of the gambling isle, both in relief and pain, what to date has often been associated with Las Vegas and spawned Classics from “Goodfellas” to “Casino,” may now be offered to the masses across the United States and in the light of day. Practically speaking, what does Murphy v. NCAA mean to New York? Have the crimes of Promoting Gambling and other related New York Penal Law offenses just been normalized? If our highest court says gambling is legal, then, well, it can’t be criminal. Right? Arguably one could conclude that, but it behooves you as a bookie or anyone facilitating sports gambling in or touching New York to truly understand not merely the magnitude of this decision, but what it really means. You might be surprised…
By no means are multiple allegations proof of criminal conduct nor any wrongdoing whatsoever, but the claims against Eric Schneiderman, who only about an hour prior to drafting this blog served as the New York State Attorney General and chief law enforcement officer of the Empire State, are quite serious. Deserving of the same due process and presumption of innocence, what, if any crimes could Mr. Schneiderman face if prosecuted by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office should any of the four woman, and claimed victims of his alleged aggression, pursue criminal charges? Putting aside the conflict that might arise due to the fact that Governor Andrew Cuomo recently tasked former Attorney General Schneiderman with investigating District Attorney’s Vance’s handling of the Harvey Weinstein predation, there are definitely potential violations of the New York Penal Law that Gotham’s District Attorney could pursue against the former NYS Attorney General and NYS Senator.
Whether you reside in New York City, the Hudson Valley or any municipality from Manhattan to Buffalo, Rochester to White Plains, or Syracuse to Albany, you are not immune from predation by would be extorters, coercers, blackmailers, stalkers and harassers. While the New York Penal Law covers these criminal acts as both felonies and misdemeanors, as of the time of this blog entry there is no New York statewide statute covering what is often referred to as “Revenge Porn.” Fortunately, however, thanks to New York City Administrative Code 10-177*3, Unlawful Disclosure of an Intimate Image, there is recourse for victims of “Revenge Porn” crimes in New York City. In fact, not only can the person sharing your intimate and sexual images without your consent find him or herself charged with a misdemeanor crime (can you say “hello” Rikers Island?), but NYC Admin. Code 10-177*3 also provides for civil remedies such as those involving punitive damages, compensatory damages, attorneys fees and injunctive relief so that your harasser ceases sharing and distributing your naked, sexual or intimate images.
When you are accused of and arrested for a crime or crimes you did not commit, fear can give way to paralysis. Whether you are charged in a New York City Criminal Court with felonies due to a misunderstanding that is based in false presumptions, or even if there is some truth but not full accuracy to each offense drafted in your felony complaint, you and your criminal lawyer have significant work ahead. Remaining frozen with fear is not a viable option.
Yes, you may have made a mistake and technically broken the law, but when all the facts are examined and evidence reviewed, the gravity of the allegations may not ultimately match the charges you face. Finding him/herself in a similar predicament, a recent Crotty Saland PC client had no choice but to “push back” in a thoughtful and respectful manner against such a felony complaint. Relying on both a legal sufficiency and mitigation defense, our client never lost sight of her/his exposure even if the the charged crimes were in part based on a wrongdoing unsupported by the evidence from a prosecutorial discretion perspective. After being charged with numerous crimes including Third Degree Burglary, Criminal Possession of Computer Related Materials, Computer Trespass and other crimes for allegedly accessing university computers and downloading certain materials, prosecutors agreed to offer a disposition that will ultimately give our client the opportunity to end the criminal case without a criminal criminal conviction dirtying his otherwise pristine criminal record.
You’re were drunk at a bar. Maybe it was just a bit more than one bourbon, on scotch and one beer. What spirits you imbibed and the exact amount is fairly irrelevant. What matters, however, is that after your were told to leave you did so, but came back angry, red faced and as violent as were sloppy. Instead of holding your liquor like a man or woman, you behaved as if it was your first rodeo and whatever muscles and fighting experience you had (or didn’t have), you morphed into a half 1980s Arnold Schwarzenegger and half modern day UFC brawler. There is little doubt your hangover was epic, but not necessarily from the actual alcohol. When your dry mouth and throbbing head gave way to the realization you had marks on your wrists from being handcuffed and the floor you slept on was not in fact your bed, the reality of what occurred the night before began to set. Unfortunately for a Crotty Saland PC client, while the reality of the circumstances and arrest were far less graceful than the poetic story line shared here, the substance of the incident was quite similar. Initially charged with Third Degree Burglary, New York Penal Law 140.20, and Attempted Third Degree Assault, New York Penal Law 110/120.00(1), a bad night at a bar became a dark future of uncertainty in the New York criminal justice system.
One of the more serious misdemeanor crimes you can be arrested for in New York, Criminal Obstruction of Breathing or Blood Circulation, New York Penal Law 121.11(a) and New York Penal Law 121.11(b), is often charged in the context of a New York Domestic Violence arrest. Although a prosecution for PL 121.11 need not be domestic and familial in nature, regardless of whomever the alleged victim is if you are convicted in a New York City Criminal Court or a Justice Court somewhere in a municipality in Westchester, Rockland or any other county, the potential sentence is the same. That is, not only can you face up to one year in a county jail, but there are other penalties ranging from probation, anger management programs, community service and even fines. This blog entry will address the crime of Criminal Obstruction of Breathing or Blood Circulation not in terms of how courts interpret the law, but in the event you faced a jury or bench trial accused of PL 121.11, the jury instructions that will be read to the jury or followed by a judge in rendering a decision.
A new law has recently gone into effect in New York State which fundamentally changes a basic tenant of New York Criminal Practice. New York was the only state in the United States that still did not allow evidence of a prior identification made by a witness via a photo array to be introduced at trial. The thought by New York criminal lawyers has always been that presentation of a photo array to a jury would suggest that the defendant has been in trouble before – why else would they have a photo of him at the time of the identification procedure. This was deemed to be unfair to the defendant and improper. However, many felt that this concern was outdated, and New York decided to join the vast majority of other states in allowing for the prior photo array to be introduced at trial, but with very strict requirements on how the photo array is compiled and how the identification procedure is conducted. Strict requirements or not, this new allowance will have a wide-reaching and significant impact on criminal prosecutions in New York City, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens, and all the way “upstate” to Rockland County, Westchester County, Putnam County and beyond.
Menacing in the Third Degree, New York Penal Law 120.15, is a B misdemeanor in New York punishable by up to 90 days in jail. “Menacing” refers to a crime in which a person intentionally places another person in fear for their physical safety by “physical menace.” The question then follows, “What is physical menace and how do New York courts interpret the Penal Law with regard to menacing?” The answer seems simple enough (but as your criminal lawyer can attest to, nothing in the New York Penal Law is so simple) – some physical act that is menacing. As generic and easy as that sounds, this leaves a good deal of room for interpretation. If a person calmly reaches into their pocket, it’s certainly a physical act, but is it menacing? The answer will almost always depend on the particular facts and circumstances of a given case.