Little did I know that after prosecuting three men for blackmailing former NBA All-Star Carmelo Anthony all the way back in 2004-2006 during my days as a Manhattan Assistant District Attorney, that my experience leading that investigation into Grand Larceny by Extortion would become the catalyst to develop a niche practice representing Extortion, Blackmail, Sextortion, Stalking, Harassment, and Revenge Porn, victims. Whether as a “fixer” handling cases outside the criminal justice system due to a client’s desire to keep matters private and from the public eye, and always within the four corners of the law, or presenting our cases “pre-packaged” to prosecutors leading to an indictment and even incarceration, having the knowledge and legal foundation to pursue these matters discretely has provided both emotional and financial relief to literally dozens upon dozens of clients over the years. In fact, in the past week and a half alone I have assisted three individuals, two of whom collectively paid out north of $60,000.00 to their extorters before contacting me, and another who, with his parents, reached out to Saland Law, PC before his life went sideways.
While everyone is both entitled and deserving of the presumption of innocence, when a man is charged with Sex Abuse and Endangering the Welfare of a Child, the assumption is that he did something terribly wrong. When the accuser is a 13-year-old girl, this belief is compounded, and the overwhelming majority of people will conclude he must be guilty. Why? Because there is no reason a young girl – or anyone – would ever make up such a lie, of course. Unfortunately for a recent client of Saland Law PC’s criminal defense attorneys, despite his unwavering assertion that he did not abuse his girlfriend’s daughter, it took a trial by his peers for his voice to be heard. Fortunately, however, after a nearly two-week trial where prosecutors accused our client of rubbing the young girl’s buttocks and attempting to penetrate her vaginally with his fingers, that same jury rendered a verdict of not guilty on all counts. As much as I would like to say my hard work and trial skills won the day, and that was no doubt a part, sometimes it is not an experienced criminal lawyer who enables a client to escape responsibility for his or her criminal conduct. Instead, an acquittal can simply be a just resolution on the facts and evidence, and exoneration of an innocent person wrongfully accused of a heinous crime.
Over the past few weeks, the New York criminal defense attorneys and former Manhattan prosecutors at Saland Law PC successfully advocated for clients in both NYC’s Criminal and Family Courts to obtain dismissals for Attempted Extortion and Aggravated Harassment respectively, and against the NYPD’s Special Victims Unit (SVU) to avoid the arrest of an autistic young man for Forcible Touching in another. An easy task it was not, but the resolutions were just dispositions welcomed by our clients and a continuation of similar successes many Saland Law PC clients have enjoyed during the past months and years.
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 Saland Law PC have dealt with and quashed these real-life scenarios firsthand.
This past week proved busy for the attorneys at Saland Law 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 Saland Law 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, Saland Law PC’s actions and results once again speak for themselves.
With the above in mind, my words cannot accurately reflect the emotions – from anxiety and fear to joy and relief – that wash over the vindicated when the battles commence and rage until the almost literal war is over. It is the target of the wrongful, hurtful and traumatic claim that lives through these emotions who can best articulate them. The following is one such client’s review that makes me proud of my efforts and of my client’s strength while providing me with immeasurable satisfaction and relief that I delivered her the justice she unequivocally deserved.
College Title IX lawyers and student misconduct attorneys representing clients in cases alleging gender-based misconduct and dating violence accusations know firsthand how the system is not one founded in due process. Simply, university violations, from NYU and Columbia to Pace and Fordham, not only lack the checks and balances taken for granted in the criminal justice system but are enforced by university administrators often lacking the investigative experience necessary to pursue the right leads and effectively parse through the evidence. Couple these factors with a legal threshold that is not beyond a reasonable doubt but a preponderance of the evidence, the subject of an accusation is often left without the tools and recourse necessary to defend him or herself. Fortunately, for a client falsely accused of a horrific rape that morphed into claims she was a monster-like stalker and manipulative predator, after a five month long investigation and ultimate adjudication, the college exonerate our client. Only slightly less gratifying, the college found that the accuser was in fact the abuser leading to a responsible finding and multi-year hold on her diploma post-graduation.
Criminal charges dismissed on the motion of the prosecution [*check*]. Maltreatment and Negligence finding by the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) amended from indicated to unfounded [*check*]. Article 10 Negligence Petition filed by the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) withdrawn [*check*]. A Criminal Court and Family Court “hat trick” by Saland Law PC’s defense team? Check yet again.
While Saland Law PC’s family law attorneys and criminal defense lawyers secured yet another successful disposition, and more importantly fair and just one, above cases demonstrate once again that when accused of wrongdoing, one often has many battles ahead on one’s way to vindication. After being targeted by the mother of his child with fictitious allegations as a likely means to pry custody away from our client, the mother’s attempts ultimately backfired in spectacular fashion. The exoneration of our client aside, now it is she who appears to be the subject of an ACS investigation.
While our client charged with Third and Second Degree Menacing and Fourth Degree Criminal Mischief cannot get back the months of his life lost to the criminal justice system, what started off as a bogus claim and an arrest of a federal law enforcement officer finally ended with his complete exoneration in a New York City Criminal Court. Although our client can now pursue the back pay he was denied during his suspension, as grateful as he was that the system “worked,” our client unfortunately witnessed firsthand how difficult it is when the system sees you as guilty even if the law is supposed to protect you with the presumption of innocence. Thankfully, after months of back and forth with a prosecutor who did her due diligence and, even if disagreeing, kept an open mind, pushing the case to a trial and rejecting an Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal was the final straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back of this unfounded case. A great effort – and even better resolution – for the criminal attorneys and former Manhattan prosecutors at Saland Law PC.