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Mahopac Criminal Defense Law Blog

Some felony charges need serious review for mistaken identity

Identity can be a crucial issue in some bank robbery prosecutions in New York and elsewhere. In some cases, the suspect is identified at a later time by a process of circumstantial evidence without establishing identity as an absolute certainty. The tendency of bank robbers to cover their faces during robberies adds to this identity problem. Due to the seriousness of the felony charges, criminal defense counsel has a duty to investigate the strength of the prosecution's identification proof thoroughly.

The New York State Police recently arrested a man for bank robbery after finding him in a disabled car on the New York State Thruway. Investigators claim to have put together a number of circumstances in two separate bank robberies to have come up with the suspect's identity prior to his arrest. When they questioned him in the disabled vehicle, they eventually realized that they had the man who was wanted on warrants for bank robbery.

Drug charges follow seizure of 48 kilos of heroin in truck parts

Another major drug bust is being credited to a routine traffic stop in New York City. DEA task force members were conducting an unrelated investigation in Queens when they noticed a pickup truck and a Monster truck driving together around the same block in the Elmhurst area. Authorities say that one of the trucks was unregistered so they pulled the vehicles over, which led to the arrest of the occupants on drug charges involving one of the biggest heroin busts in New York City history.  

When first stopped, authorities say that the drivers of the two vehicles gave inconsistent answers, which led them to bring a drug-sniffing dog who detected something. The agents say that they got a warrant at that point. They reported that the search revealed 48 kilograms of heroin, with a street value of $13 million, inside truck parts lying in the flatbed of the pickup.  

Felony charges against chief building inspector may not stick

In an unusual arrest, police in Spring Valley, New York charged a chief building inspector with giving false certificates of occupancy to a man who was running two day care centers from his home. Police say that the homeowner improperly collected $33,093 in property-tax exemptions in 2012 through 2014, and improperly collected additional money from the state for the operation of two day-care centers, based on the false certificate stating that the home was a two-family structure. However, due to the single-family nature of the home, only one day-care center was allowed by law. The chief building inspector was arrested on an array of felony charges, including third-degree grand larceny, falsifying business records and issuing a false certificate.

The defendant has worked for Spring Valley for about 20 years. The state reportedly distributed funds to the homeowner based on a two unit-home but did not bother to inspect  the property, according to officials. Interestingly, however, there appears to be no charges or allegations that the building inspector received anything of value from the Rabbi, and the official's lawyer insisted that he had committed no crime.

Police charge NAACP official with grand larceny felony charges

The crime of larceny involves taking property that belongs to another with the intent to keep it for oneself. In New York, there is petit larceny and grand larceny. Petit larceny involves an amount up to $1,000, and grand larceny can apply to amounts above that amount. Felony charges are usually associated with grand larceny, and the sentence for that crime can go as high as 25 years, depending on the amount stolen.

The New York State Police have charged a 64-year-old man with grand larceny for allegedly stealing $54,015 from the account of the CNY Pop-Warner Football and Cheerleading organization in Syracuse. The defendant was the treasurer of the football/cheerleading organization. He also serves as the treasurer of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Felony charges for hay theft arise during murder investigation

The killing of an 83-year-old New York socialite in her home in Westchester County has sparked an intensive investigation that has captivated observers locally and statewide. The woman was found dead on Nov. 9 in the laundry room of her 300-acre horse farm in North Salem. Most people following the investigation did not expect the first significant news to be the recent arrest of two of the family's caretakers for felony charges of stealing hay.

The two men charged with grand theft felony of about $30,000 worth of hay are reportedly not suspected by police of killing the socialite. Nonetheless, the initial focus of police to look at break-ins occurring in the area has reportedly shifted recently to an examination of the local immigrant labor population. They are generally employed to take care of the horses and livestock that inhabit the numerous horse farms dotting the beautiful rolling countryside.

Man arrested on felony charges of planning terrorist attack

When federal officials arrest a United States citizen for supposedly providing assistance to a terrorist organization, criminal defense counsel must investigate the details of the surrounding events very thoroughly. In several of the arrests on felony charges of persons allegedly aiding a terrorist organization, the gathered facts may support a possible entrapment defense. Entrapment under New York law is a defense that generally involves the police providing assistance or encouragement to an individual for purposes of committing a crime that the person was not inclined or ready to commit.

The issue may arise in the recent arrest of a 25-year-old man in Rochester for allegedly planning a New Year's Eve machete attack at a local restaurant. The man was allegedly in touch with one or more ISIS sympathizers through Internet communications. However, he had no funds and was not militarily equipped to conduct a terrorist attack. 

Man faces felony charges re attempted robbery of gas station

Whenever a masked man is sought for a robbery or attempted robbery, an arrest must be looked at carefully by criminal defense counsel because of the potential of a mistaken identification. In Dutchess County, the police arrested a 26-year-old Hyde Park male on felony charges of attempted robbery and criminal use of a firearm for the alleged attempt to rob a gas station owner with the use of a shotgun. The New York State Police report that a masked man entered the store with a firearm and demanded money.

When he reached for the cash register, the owner hit him with a shoe and then came around the counter and chased the man out of the store. Outside, the man fired a shot at the ground prior to taking off in his car. The local police, along with the New York State Police and the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, initiated an intensive search.

Man awaits extradition to face sex offenses charges in New York

When a fugitive from one state is arrested in another state, the accused person will decide whether to contest or to waive extradition. In a current case, a New York man was arrested in another state on a warrant from this state that alleges sex offenses against him. He is in custody in that state awaiting extradition proceedings.

After a request for extradition, along with a description of the charges, is sent from this state and received by the asylum state, the accused is taken before an appropriate judicial authority in the asylum state and the charges are read to him. He may decide to challenge the extradition, but the grounds for defeating extradition are rather narrow. For example, if the man is not a fugitive from the other state and is not the person identified in the referring papers, he can with good reason challenge the extradition and defeat it.

Officer causes accident, charged with drunk driving and speeding

The DWI defendant is entitled to a vigorous defense in court just like any other individual accused of crime. Attorneys who are experienced in this area of New York criminal law are familiar with a variety of defenses applicable in drunk driving cases. DWI defense counsel are also adept at negotiating plea agreements that contain appropriate concessions for contrite defendants who are intent on cooperating and seeking rehabilitative services.

However, when the defendant is himself a police officer, that may sometimes call for a different approach to defending the case. The problem is whether the outcome of the case may allow the officer to resume his or her duties at a future time, with appropriate conditions. It may, therefore, not always be a prudent strategy for a police officer to aggressively defend a case of drunk driving, especially if the evidence is strong and appears to support a conviction.

Criminal defense may rest on extreme emotional disturbance

A defendant accused of second degree murder will sometimes interject one or more defenses to get the murder charge reduced to manslaughter. In New York, for example, one statutory provision provides that a defendant charged with intentional murder may present an affirmative criminal defense that, at the time of the killing, he suffered from an "extreme emotional disturbance." He or she may then also prove that there is a "reasonable explanation or excuse" for the suspect actions.

The murder defendant would only have to prove the defense by a preponderance of the evidence, according to the New York statute. The rule may be invoked by a criminal defendant who was charged with second degree murder in the killing of a woman on Dec. 5 in his East Flatbush apartment. The police report that they were called to the apartment before 5 p.m. for a domestic disturbance call.