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 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.
Similar to Penal Law 245.15, NYC Administrative Code 10-180(b)(1) is the crime of Revenge Porn within the confines of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Staten Island. Both of these offenses, Unlawful Dissemination or Publication of an Intimate Image and Unlawful Disclosure of and Intimate Image, are misdemeanor statutes and provide for civil prosecutions and law suits as well. Irrespective of which charge is pursued, the law mandates prosecutors to plead certain elements. Specifically, AC 10-180, formerly AC 10-177*3, requires that a “covered recipient” discloses an “intimate image” without the consent of the “depicted individual.” Further, the wrongful sharer or poster must have an objective to cause economic, physical or substantial emotional harm to the depicted person and that individual must be identifiable either because it is clear in the image or from the circumstances the same was disclosed. Without parsing out all of the definitions and legally defined terms, People v. Ahmed, 2018BX038930, demonstrates the legal minimum standard the District Attorney must set forth in a complaint to survive a defense lawyer’s motion to dismiss and the necessity that a “covered recipient” is established within the four corners of the accusatory instrument.
Although there may be victims and their advocates who will argue it does not go far enough, with the passage of New York Penal Law 245.15, Unlawful Dissemination or Publication of an Intimate Image (awaiting the Governor’s signature) police departments and District Attorneys throughout the State of New York will have the ability to prosecute certain types of actions that fall under the umbrella of Revenge Porn crimes. Similar to NYC’s Unlawful Disclosure of an Intimate Image, Administrative Code 10-177*3, this new statute would allow victims to pursue their alleged abusers criminally in a NY Criminal Court as well as in a Civil Court by establishing the means for a private right of action – a lawsuit – pursuant to Civil Rights Law 52-b. Equally important, a violation of Penal Law 245.15 would also constitute a Family Offense thereby potentially allowing a petitioner to secure a Family Court Order of Protection without the arrest of their alleged tormentor.
Whether you are a victim or an accused, before you find yourself on either end of a Criminal, Family or Civil Court proceeding, educate yourself on the law, consult with your counsel or lawyer, and take the steps to protect yourself going forward.
If what prosecutors claim is true, Actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin could have Razzy worthy roles starring next to Marlon Brown in a remake of 1989’s “How I Got into College.” The alleged easy way out amateurs who, with others, collectively paid millions of dollars to “assist” their genetic lottery winners’ successful college admission into such universities as USC, Yale, Stanford, Georgetown, Wake Forrest, Ramsey (well, not really), and others, relied on the good old power of the almighty dollar to perpetrate the nationwide college entrance scheme. In lieu of cheating the old-fashioned way, “Operation Varsity Blues,” the relatively unoriginal but cutely named federal bribery and cheating investigation, resulted in dozens of arrests involving paid off Division 1 coaches, photoshopped pictures of high schoolers playing sports when they were likely absorbed in selfie inspired “insta” posts, and some old school cheating on SATs and ACTs. A heck of a scheme if you don’t get caught, this entire criminal enterprise had nothing on the one-man professional test-taking operation and self-proclaimed “GMAT Hero” along with his larger band of [admission slot] thieves. Responsible for taking in excess of 500 GMAT, GRE and TOEFL exams (go ahead, Google “Lu Xu” and “GMAT”), his proficiency and skill was unparalleled even among his test-taking cohorts. Sorta’ a lesser known of the Uncanny Xmen of the college admissions underground.
Thanks to the passage of New York City Administrative Code 10-180, Unlawful Disclosure of an Intimate Image, victims of Revenge Porn and the unauthorized sharing of compromising images in New York City – Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Staten Island – now can protect themselves in a court of law. Similarly, those abused elsewhere in the state can avail themselves of NY Penal Law 245.15, Unlawful Dissemination or Publication of an Intimate Image. Not only are distributors of intimate images, videos, pictures and other recordings committing a crime, but you, as a victim, can also file a lawsuit to hold them financially accountable for, among other things, punitive damages. Simply, if an ex-boyfriend, former spouse, or even an affair, shares your intimate images that he or she may have lawfully had at some point but were not permitted to send out to friends, business associates or online, a NYC Revenge Porn lawyer can help you secure justice in every sense of the word. No longer will you have to shrug when you ask, “How can I protect myself as a victim of Revenge Porn?”
The overwhelming number of criminal cases in New York never reach the point of trial. Whether the arrest is in New York City or the Hudson Valley, as cases wind their respective way through the criminal justice system, the District Attorney, judges and criminal defense lawyers address issues ranging from the legality of the original search and the strength of evidence to sufficiency of complaints and mitigating factors. Those criminal cases that are not resolved by a plea, reduction of charges or dismissal ultimately find themselves before a judge or jury for trial. For a recent client of Saland Law PC’s criminal lawyers, our client found herself charged with Fourth Degree Criminal Mischief, New York Penal Law 145.00. The allegations stemmed from a fictitious claim by our client’s ex-husband and his current girlfriend, with whom he had an ongoing affair, that our client approached the girlfriend’s home and smashed a window in the center of a door.
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 10-180, 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 10-180 (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.
It may be on a non-violent crime, but an arrest for Criminal Mischief in New York can be either a misdemeanor or a felony. What should be of significant concern to anyone charged with a New York Penal Law Article 145 crime is how easily a Fourth Degree Criminal Mischief, New York Penal Law 145.00, can morph into a Third Degree Criminal Mischief, New York Penal Law 145.05.
What property or belongings of any significance exist in our lives these days that are worth less than $250. If your friend broke something that belongs to you in the course of an argument, is there anything worth less than $250 that would prompt you to call the police? A used iPhone 7 that is more than a year old runs around $400 on eBay. Moreover, is there anything of any importance that costs less than $250 to repair? What this means is that, in New York, almost anything a person intentionally breaks that doesn’t belong to them can result in a felony charge punishable by up to 4 years in state’s prison, even with no prior criminal record.