Friday, October 19, 2012

People Stealing More Apples in NYC

Yes, it is true Apple theft is up more than 40 percent this year in the Big Apple that is products made by Apple such as iPhones, iPads, etc.  In the time period between January 1 and September 23, 2012, a total of 11,447 of stolen mobile Apple products were reported to NYPD which is a rise of over 3,000 from the same time period in 2011.

Oddly though, CBS news reports, that right before the release of the release of the iPhone 5, these thefts suddenly stopped.  Could it be that thieves don't want the old stuff when the new technology will be ripe for theft in a day or two?  An NYPD Official was quoted as saying "what we are seeing on the part of the crooks is that they follow the trends of the buying public".  Well, it is sort of good to know that our iPhone 4's are safer than the iPhone 5's of those rich enough and lucky enough to get them.  

What is an Apple customer to do about all this?  Well the NYPD has started a new project called "Operation ID".  Apple users can bring their mobile devices to any NY City Apple store in addition to several Verizon and AT&T stores.  A police officer stationed at the store will register the serial number of your device with your name and contact information.  You can also get these devices engraved with a unique serial number that's makes them easier to identify if lost or stolen.  As of October 5, 2012, NYPD registered 1,500 iPhone 5 phones and various other versions of the iPhone.  Apple also has a "find my iPhone" app that will track down missing phones and as part of the "Operation ID" program NYPD has been giving out information as to how to install this.  Our tech savvy NYPD has had iCloud enabled iPhones in use to track down stolen phones and make arrests.
If you are reading this and feel that your iPhone is safe because you are not in NYC, don't because it has been reported that "Just about every major city across the country has the same exact crime dynamic.  Those gadgets are valuable, as a result drive crime trend" said Chicago Police Chief Garry McCarthy.  

We are not just a law firm that does excellent criminal defense work, we also are anxious to report good crime prevention information to our readers.  If you own one of these Apple devices here in NYC, it might be wise to take the NYPD and Apple up on their offer.  Also get the app, it's free.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Dark Knight Rises Shooter unlikely to avoid Death Penalty

James Holmes appearance in Arapahoe County Justice Center
Everyone seems to have an opinion about James Holmes, the now infamous Dark Night Rises gunman. Speculations made by “expert psychologists” are airing incessantly on nearly every news channel in the US. The general consensus is that Holmes is indeed suffering from some sort of mental health issue and will almost undoubtedly be pleading insanity. However, legal experts are saying James Holmes will probably get the death penalty of his crimes. 

In The State of Colorado v. JamesHolmes (12CR1522) charges are yet to be filed in court. Prosecutors are expected to bring formal charges at the July 30 hearing. The prosecution’s case is extraordinarily strong, with a veritable mountain of evidence stacked up against Holmes. 

The State of Colorado uses a verified version of the M’Naghten Rule with the Irresistible Impulse Test. The burden of proof is on the prosecution, but it’s clear they’ve got that covered. With the severity of crimes and multiple instances of extreme aggravating factors, avoiding the death penalty is going to be a difficult feat for his attorney. 

It’s certain that Holmes will be charged with at least 12 counts of 1st Degree Murder. In 1st degree murder cases, the prosecution must prove that the murders were pre-meditated and that they were committed in cold blood. Proving both is no problem, as Holmes purchased thousands of rounds of ammo and dressed in riot gear before he entered the theater. It’s clear he intended to murder innocent people. 

In New York State, capital punishment guidelines are set forth in the Model Penal Code, and the defendant has the burden of proof. This means the lawyer’s first duty in a capital punishment case where the defense is insanity is to have multiple expert witnesses evaluate Holmes and form professional opinions that will stand up in court. 

In order for an insanity defense to work, Holmes must not have been able to tell the difference between right and wrong at the time he committed the crimes and he must not be able to comprehend the charges against him. But, the evidence is so strong against him; an insanity defense may be of no use. It can easily be proven that this was an especially heinous crime and extreme sentences can and will be imposed.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Do Cops Have the Right to Make Me Show ID if I’m Not Doing Anything Wrong?

Here is another question—complaint actually—that I hear often (usually from someone who just received a resisting arrest charge on top of marijuana possession): do cops have a right to ask for my ID if I haven’t done anything wrong?

Let’s take a look at what the Constitution says:


The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The right to be secure in your papers has been translated by our courts to mean your identification.  In other words, without probable cause the police officer has no right to ask you for your ID.  Having no right to do so without probable cause means that he had no right—yes, I’m repeating myself.  “Having no right” and “doing it anyway” is where most of you will get into trouble.  Cops are well aware that most of you could not spit out your rights under the Constitution and that most of you aren’t going to lawyer up, as they say.  So, they will ask for you ID. 

Now, what comes after the asking is very important to what will ultimately happen to you.  If you say something like: I don’t gotta show you my ID.  The cop may lie and tell you that you do or he may make up probable cause and force you to show it and if you don’t comply that’s resisting arrest.  The best approach is to calmly ask him: what is the “probable cause” for asking (you) to produce the license?  What does he think you’ve done wrong?  If there is nothing applicable to your situation you do not have to produce and it should remind him of your rights under the Constitution.

Remember, you do have the right to be secure in your papers, but you have to be smart about it.  Decide what is worth it.  

Lastly, if this is a road stop or check point where everyone is being asked to produce a license you’re stuck.  Just get it ready, be polite and try not to have weapons, drugs, or other illegal items in your vehicle.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sexual Crimes: The Hard Truth About “Forcible Touching”

Forcible touching is a crime that includes in its punitive stages a sex offender registration.  New York City sex attorneys have a hard time explaining to people from surrounding regions the seriousness of this crime in Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs.  Grabbing someone’s person in a sexual way—sometimes even in a flirtatious way can have lifelong consequences.  What many people would think of as a “harmless” act can still be considered “forcible touching”.  Slapping someone on his or her bottom could be forcible touching.  Pinching someone’s bottom can be “forcible touching”.  Making potential clients understand the severity of what they’ve been charged with is difficult considering that many of the acts that can be classified under this charge weren’t considered sex crimes in the recent past, and in fact have been seen in movies from the eighties as part of workplace harassment humor.  Instead of receiving a dirty look or slap to the face, individuals who took the risk and patted someone on the bottom can now be looking at either a sex offender registry or high legal bill.

New York criminal attorneys will fight to mitigate the charge to a lesser offense.  Our attorneys have been able to do for our clients in the past, but it was by no means a cake walk.  If you have been charged with this offense you would do well to take it seriously.  All too often we hear: It was JUST a pat on the butt.  What we’d rather hear is: I accidentally brushed up against him/her.  You need to take the charge seriously because your NYC sex offense lawyer certainly will and will need your help in creating a defense that will stick in court.

Sex offender registries are not something you want to be on. Ever.  If you’ve been charged with this type of sex crime—even if you feel that the circumstances make it “no big deal” do yourself a favor and get a good NYC criminal lawyer.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

NYC Weapons Charges: What to Do When You’ve Been Caught with a Weapon Without Appropriate Licensing

As a New york city defense attorney I receive hundreds of calls each month from individuals who have been charged with weapon possession in New York.   Usually these types of charges are leveled at transplants or commuters who have a) no idea that such a prohibition exists, and b) the severity of the crime.  The Constitutionality of such laws can be argued back and forth, but as the laws of New York currently stand any possession of a firearm outside the process of arduous registration through appropriate licensing officer is illegal and punishable by fines and/or incarceration.   The licensing fees for handguns are extremely high and the application process expensive and lengthy.  These facts can be a deterrent to appropriate gun ownership, but considering the alternative if caught with a weapon it is wisest to follow the law to it letter.  Unlawful weapons possession is a serious offense in the eyes of the courts.

If, however, you were unfortunate enough to be charged with weapons possession charges you should contact an attorney right away.  It will be necessary to mitigate the offense through the same type of process it would have taken to obtain licensure in the first place.  This takes time, proving what an upstanding citizen you are, so waiting until two days before your court appearance isn’t the wisest choice you could make for yourself—especially if you are considering leaving your case in the hands of an already overworked staff at the public defenders or legal aid offices.  Our criminal lawyers routinely work through these types of cases to create a conclusion that does not include incarceration or a damaging indictment upon your personal record. 

Weapons possession charges are serious offenses in New York.  Finding the right NYC criminal lawyer is of vital importance to retaining your freedom.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

NYC Criminal Attorneys Know that White Collar Crimes Are No Laughing Matter

New York criminal defense attorneys probably see more white collar crimes than any other these days as the rise of identity theft and computer crimes have proliferated court dockets all across Manhattan and the lower boroughs.    What was once considered to be crimes of lesser offense (in the public eye, at least) are beginning to be taken more seriously by the American public.  As public fears of having the sanctity of their personal identity threatened by nebulous beings from across the curtain of the Internet rises, so does that of law enforcement and judiciary branches.  In the past decade I’ve witnessed a rise in aggression on the part of law enforcement and justice agencies in regards to the tracking down and prosecution of white collar criminals.

Our firm has had a great track record in handling cases of this kind, but the amount of time and subject matter expertise that is involved in disproving allegations or mitigating evidence has substantially increased.  We have had to bring on permanent forensics staff in the computer crimes and identity theft areas to keep up with the amount of new clients in this area. 

Unfortunately, the accused will often be operating under the impression that due to their non-violent nature these charges are easily dismissed or that jail time can be avoided.  This is simply not the case due mostly to the fact that in the post 9-11 world computer crimes and identity crimes are considered issues of national security.  The same individual who can rob an identity to steal $500 out of a checking account could likewise use another person’s identity to purchase bomb-making supplies.  Many times we will receive clients after they’ve gone the legal aid or cheap attorney route and need to quickly step in to avoid extended jail time. 

Our NYC criminal attorneys and research staff work incredibly hard every day to avoid felony charges for our clients, many of whom take the blame for cyber criminals that are at the top of their game.  If you’ve been accused of a white collar crime such as fraud, computer crimes, ID theft, or embezzlement you must seek immediate support from an NYC defense attorney that specializes in white collar crime.