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.
From Felony Criminal Possession of a Firearm to ACD Dismissal & Return of Heirloom Gun
While the SAFE Act and other weapon related statutes are a great value to the safety and security of New Yorkers, sometimes otherwise law-abiding people violate the law despite believing they are compliant. Arrested and charged with Penal Law 265.01-b(1), Criminal Possession of a Firearm, our client’s mother gave our client her deceased father’s military issued firearm after he retired as an officer from the United States military years earlier and subsequently passed. A licensed firearm owner outside New York State, our client declared the gun at Queens’ JFK Airport before boarding a plane home from her parents’ home just outside NYC. To her surprise, upon checking the firearm as required by the TSA, officers with the Port Authority Police Department arrested her and the Queens District Attorney’s Office charged her with a class “E” felony (there was no ammunition and, therefore, the violent felony of Second Degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon, Penal Law 265.03 was not applicable).
Without going into the details of the case, after a few months of working through our client’s history, why and how she had the firearm, and corroborating of the same, the matter was elevated to a supervisor who agreed to adjourn the case six months for dismissal and return the firearm by mailing the gun to an authorized dealer (at our client’s expense) in her home state.
Allegations Dismissed from Order of Protection Petition Lead to “Walk Away”
Similar to examining a misdemeanor accusatory instrument for dismissal, Article 8 Order of Protection petitions filed in Family Court require the same legal sufficiency analysis. Simply, because Family Offenses mimic Penal Law crimes pursued in a civil forum, what is legally inadequate in one court is also deficient in the other. Here, the petitioner made numerous demonstrably false claims in a lengthy petition asserting all kinds of incidents that collectively – and wrongfully – painted our client as a depraved individual. Lost on no one, the petitioner commenced her action after our client first secured an Order of Protection from Family Court. In fact, during our review of her petition, we discovered that the petitioner altered at least one text message and “remembered” a purported incident that she somehow “forgot” to draft into her original application. Despite the seriousness of the charges, our client had zero issue with nor fear of exonerating himself at trial. Before reaching that point, however, he agreed with our lawyers that we should first challenge the petition’s legal sufficiency.
After weeding through numerous statements exhibiting extreme romantic jealousy, we analyzed whether the actions attributed to our client in the petition established the offenses of Harassment in the Second Degree, PL 240.26, and Stalking, PL 120.45, even assuming they were true. Upon review of our motion, the Court correctly concluded that even if true, the majority of assertions did not violate the law. As such, the Court not only dismissed these allegations but also removed entire paragraphs from the petition. Ultimately, with our petition remaining in full force and our adversaries crippled significantly before even addressing the evidence – or lack of evidence – the parties agreed to “walk away” on their own and move on with their respective lives. Even though our client was confident that he would succeed at a fact finding, a mutual release efficiently served his goals.
District Attorney Commencing Investigation After NYPD Ignores Multiple Attacks & Complaints
Even if an exception, there are times criminality is ignored by law enforcement and victims feel they have nowhere to turn. This is sometimes even true when a complainant has witnesses and recordings to corroborate his or her abuse. One such client reached out to Crotty Saland PC in an effort to ensure their own safety and the accountability of a relentlessly aggressive stalker. Upon compiling the evidence, preserving that which we could not secure on our own, debriefing witnesses, and sharing the narrative with prosecutors from the District Attorney’s Office in the county where attacks on our client occurred, an Assistant District Attorney met with our client and a victim advocate from Crotty Saland PC. Upon reviewing the evidence and our client’s credibility, among other things, the District Attorney’s Office determined that the matter warranted investigation and prosecution even if the NYPD had not pursued the multiple complaints they received over numerous months. Although ongoing, without our efforts our client would have remained forgotten, without the ability to secure an Order of Protection, and left vulnerable to further attacks.
Experience, Knowledge & Advocacy
Only three of countless cases we have handled in the preceding weeks, months, and years, each represents a few of the many different areas of law we represent clients. From criminal defense, Family Court Orders of Protection, and Title IX violations to Extortion, Revenge Porn, and general victim advocacy, the former Manhattan prosecutors at Crotty Saland PC handle a wide variety of matters with a nexus to criminal law and do so capably, compassionately, and effectively. Whatever the circumstance, there is no substitute for experience, knowledge, and advocacy.
Crotty Saland PC represents clients in NYC, the Hudson Valley, and throughout the State of New York.