In the age of #Metoo, an important movement long time coming, there can be unforeseen consequences when vigorously supporting gender-based misconduct without stepping back to thoroughly examine an accusation. Simply, allegations that lack sufficient corroboration or answers to reasoned questions should hold no more water than those in other contexts. As much as we want to believe any assertion of wrongdoing is legitimate, sometimes such claims are subjectively “right” because a complainant perceives it as such or they are completely fictitious. Regardless, whatever the case may be, a critical analysis of the evidence and facts tells quite a different story. For a recent client of the New York criminal lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors at Crotty Saland PC, such a scenario played out in a New York City Criminal Courts. After being contacted by the NYPD, our client self-surrendered for his arrest and prosecution by the District Attorney where the latter charged him with, among other offenses, Stalking in the Fourth Degree, New York Penal Law 120.45. Fortunately, and thanks to the skill, diligence and advocacy of Crotty Saland PC, a judge acquitted our client of all charges after trial.
How do I stop an ex from humiliating me with Revenge Porn or “”Sextortion” by sending intimate images to my co-workers and family? What steps can I take to stop a person from Blackmailing me? I am being harassed and extorted by a former business associate. Should I report the Extortion to the police or are there other methods to stop my victimization? All reasonable questions, even if the answers are not always easy, know that there are numerous actions that you can take regardless of whether you engage a Blackmail defense lawyer or Revenge Porn attorney. In short, while not a complete list of questions and answers, securing formidable evidence and allowing your abuser to “hang” him or herself is invaluable to cease your Extortion, Coercion, or other harassment no matter if you pursue protection with the assistance of the police or retain private legal counsel. In fact, taking the proper steps to preserve evidence as early as possible will provide you with the strongest foundation no matter if you fight back through the New York City or New York State criminal justice system, with a law suit in the civil courts, petitioning the New York Family Court for an Order of Protection, or by means of a case and desist letter along with a non-disclosure agreement.
Should I Block my Blackmailer from Texting, Emailing or Communicating with Me on Social Media?
Thanks to the passage of New York City Administrative Code 10-177*3, 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. 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 Crotty Saland 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.
The questions is a common one. “How do I get an Order of Protection in New York?” “Who can get a Restraining Order in NYC?” “Do you need a lawyer to get an Order of Protection?” Before answering these questions, know the following. Family Offense Petitions in New York Family Courts, pursuant to New York Family Court Act Article 8, are some of the most frequently dismissed petitions on technical grounds – most commonly, failure to state a cause of action, or “facial insufficiency.” This essentially means that the Petitioner, the person making the allegation and the one seeking an Order of Protection, aka, Restraining Order, has failed to allege facts that make out one of the many enumerated offenses that constitute a Family Offense. Simply, if you are frightened for your well-being to the point where you commence a legal action whether its in New York City or the Hudson Valley, you will either ensure it is done correctly or deal with the potentially tragic consequences of not engaging an NYC Order of Protection lawyer to ensure the same.
NY Family Court Orders of Protection: Court’s Initial Legal Standard and Review
Whether you have asked it of a New York Family Court attorney, criminal defense lawyer or merely thought it to yourself, if you are a victim of abuse you have likely pondered how you can get an Order of Protection. What steps must you take to keep your abuser away and how do you start the process of protecting yourself with the assistance of the court system? While not an easy answer, when boiled down to its core, there are generally two avenues you can pursue to secure a Restraining Order or Stay Away Order in New York. One begins in the New York Family Court and the other with the police or District Attorney. Not mutually exclusive, the former does not mandate an arrest while the latter requires law enforcement’s involvement. This blog entry, as a follow up to an earlier article addressing other questions, identifies frequently asked questions so you, as a petitioner in a Family Court Article 8 proceeding or complainant in a criminal case, can obtain the basic information you need to have informed conversations with the lawyer you ultimately retain.
UPDATE: WEINSTEIN INDICTED BY MANHATTAN GRAND JURY
According to a statement released by Harvey Weinstein’s counsel and widely reported throughout the media, the former producer, and arguably the most visible catalyst of the #Metoo movement, will not testify before a Manhattan Grand Jury where he will likely be charged with numerous violent felony offenses. According to Weinstein’s attorney, the accused mogul will not testify because prosecutors “unfairly denied [Weinstein] access to critical information about this case that [he] needed to defend him[self] before the grand jury[.] Mr. Weinstein’s attorneys decided that there was not sufficient time to properly prepare Mr. Weinstein.” Weinstein’s statement further read that due to “[n]ot having access to these materials is particularly troubling in this case, where one of the unsupported allegations is more than 14 years old and the Rape allegation involves a woman with whom Mr. Weinstein shared a 10-year consensual sexual relationship that continued for years after the alleged incident in 2013[.]”
Although some of the above statement likely has merit, keep in mind that prosecutors are not mandated to share all their evidence to a defendant at this stage in the legal process. A bit of a play to gain some favorable public support by asserting a lack of fairness on the prosecution’s part is certainly one defensive strategy, but not the sole or central reason Weinstein is not testifying. Instead, what is not contained within the four corners of a press release or public statement is likely why Weinstein is shrewdly refusing to exercise his right to testify.
New York Orders of Protection, also called Restraining Orders and Stay Away Orders, are critical tools to protect the beneficiary of such an order from alleged or convicted harassers, domestic abusers, stalkers and other victimizers. Irrespective of who an Order of Protection shields, there are many questions that those unfamiliar with both New York Family Court Law and New York Penal Law will need answered before retaining the right criminal lawyer or Family Court attorney to assist them in the respective Restraining Order process. First and foremost, who can get a Restraining Order in New York State? How can you get an Order of Protection in New York City and the Hudson Valley? What does a Stay Away Order actually do for the recipient? Simply, there are countless questions that any crime victim or domestic violence petitioner must address to determine if and how they can protect themselves with an Order of Protection and why he or she needs an attorney to facilitate the legal process. Addressed in this blog entry, as well as additional articles, these questions include:
- What is an Order of Protection and Restraining Order?
- Where do I go to file a petition for a New York Order of Protection?
- How do I get a Family Court Order of Protection in New York?
- Can anyone get an Order of Protection or Restraining Order?
- Will the recipient of an Order of Protection have to move out of our home?
- Is a Order of Protection issued in New York only valid in New York?
- What is the duration or length of an Order of Protection?
- Will an Order of Protection appear or show up on an employment or background check?
- Is it a crime to violate an Order of Protection?
- Can I drop an Order of Protection if I decide I do not want it anymore?
Only some of the relatively common questions asked by both petitioners in Family Court Order of Protection proceedings and victims in any number of New York’s Criminal Courts, it is critical to understand the different types of and processes involved in securing New York Restraining Orders, Stay Away Orders and Orders of Protection.
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.