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Mahopac Criminal Defense Law Blog

Former state official is swamped under cycle of felony charges

A bizarre tale of continuing brushes with the law afflicts a former New York Deputy Secretary of State. The man is facing federal felony charges of lying about his financial assets and, more recently, the criminal offense of failing to report to federal probation officers that he had an arrest for driving without a license. The man's continuing cycle of criminal offenses started in 2007 when he was convicted of scamming funds from a state-sponsored agency designed to help small business development.

He reportedly scammed the agency for about $200,000. In 2010, prosecutors dropped charges of impersonation of a state official against him due to prosecutorial negligence. In addition, he was ticketed for leaving the scene of an accident after striking another vehicle. Federal authorities charged him two years ago with four counts of perjury for allegedly lying about where he obtained $75,000 to purchase an $865,000 horse farm in Nassau.

Past scandals remembered by woman's arrest on felony charges

New York has had its share of public officials who have been exposed and even prosecuted for entanglements with reputed prostitutes and women of questionable background. Some of the biggest stories in that respect were the scandalous reports connected to the extra-marital affairs of former Attorney General and Governor, Eliot Spitzer. The former official's name has surfaced again with the recent arrest on felony charges of a 26-year-old woman for allegedly extorting money from Spitzer by threatening to expose her relationship with him.

That Spitzer could allow himself to get involved in another sex-related scandal is in itself shocking and at the same time suggestive that his compulsive behavior may be related to a medical condition. But Spitzer is apparently involved in the woman's prosecution only as a witness and victim, and not as a wrongdoer. State law enforcement officers arrested the woman after her flight arrived at the John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Man registered for sex offenses charged with failure to verify

When a person is convicted of a sex crime, he or she is often required to be named on the sex offender registry for his or her state. This registry is made public for people to access so that they are aware if anyone convicted of sex offenses resides in the neighborhoods where they live and work. Failing to keep one's registry information current can lead to serious consequences, as one man in New York is learning.

Even those convicted of the lowest level of sexual crimes may have their names on the public registry for 20 years or more. Once registered, a person is required to keep his or her information current and to report any changes of address or internet providers, as well as employment or affiliation with colleges or universities. A man who had previously been convicted of failing to register a new screen name and IP address was recently arrested when a citizen allegedly tipped off police.

2 men nabbed on pot growing drug charges in separate incidents

New York continues to provide mixed signals on whether it is ratcheting down the war against drugs or escalating it. It seems excessive, in light of shifting public policy, for police to arrest people on drug charges, including a felony, for growing some backyard variety of marijuana plants. That is exactly what New York state troopers did recently when they arrested at least two residents of the town of Dover in separate incidents for allegedly growing marijuana.

A 55-year-old man was arrested earlier last week and charged with the illegal growing of cannabis and criminal possession of marijuana. The charges allege that the man had more than a dozen plants on his property. Police allegedly saw the plants while investigating an unrelated matter at a neighbor's house.

Drug charges lodged against 13 who attended Last Daze concert

Whenever there is a music festival in upstate New York, one can expect to see some arrests for generally minor legal violations. The latest such festival, the Last Daze of Summer, took place recently in Oswego County. State troopers reportedly flooded the area around the festival, waiting for trouble, and they ultimately satisfied their expectations by arresting 13 people on a variety of drug charges.

Their reason for entering the concert grounds was that a 37-year-old man had died on the grounds. Authorities report finding paraphernalia on the man's body. Toxicology tests are pending and a cause of death is currently unknown.

State employee accused of illegal credit card felony charges

In New York and other states, some arrests are based on substantial evidence that is clearly strong enough to convict the defendant. In those cases, the defendant is often candid with defense counsel about his or her guilt with respect to the felony charges. Together, they can agree on a strategy for plea negotiations. Counsel will have a greater reservoir of influence in the sentencing process if the clearly guilty client cooperates in expediting an early guilty plea.

Sometimes, the defendant may be asked to cooperate with authorities in providing vital information on the criminal events and the players. A plea bargain can also be based on the defendant providing in-court testimony against a co-conspirator. In that case, the agreement will be executed in writing, and the consideration of leniency to the defendant will generally be substantial.

Felony charges improperly pursued by Queens District Attorney

In a 1963 U.S. Supreme Court case, Brady v Maryland, the Court held that a defendant is denied due process if the prosecutor does not turn over exculpatory evidence to defendant's counsel. Some 50 years later, the essential mandate of Brady remains intact. Recently, a New York case emerged to show the tragic results that can occur when the prosecution pursues serious felony charges against someone while hiding the existence of exculpatory evidence.  

The case pertains to an arrest made in Queens about 11 years ago. The defendant was accused of a road-rage incident in which a motorist shot a man in the leg and drove off. Police found a warm hood on defendant's car, which was parked just a block or so down the street.

Man held in New York on out-of-state felony charges

After committing a crime, some perpetrators become fugitives and end up hiding in another state. Of course, it is a defense attorney's duty to assure that the police have the right person and have not made a mistake. If the suspect is arrested in New York on alleged felony charges filed in another state, certain protocol will kick in that will attempt to pay some deference to the state where the suspect was apprehended.

In the final analysis, however, the main motivating force in such cases is the pressure applied by the state where the crime occurred to expedite the extradition of the suspect back to the originating state. That process was initiated recently in the Bronx when a man was picked up on shooting charges emanating from a neighboring state. Such interstate fugitive matters are usually handled by the United States Marshal's Service.

Cops accuse 2 of criminal offense of possessing stolen plaque

The respect for tradition and local history took another hit recently when a worker in a Syracuse recycling center found the broken pieces of a historic plaque honoring a Civil War era figure. The plaque had been reported stolen from a monument located in Onondaga County, and the recycling employee reported his find to the authorities. After investigating, the New York State Police then arrested two men for the criminal offense of falsifying criminal records and for criminal possession of stolen property.

It unclear how the police came to have evidence on the two men, but it seems that authorities are accusing them of selling the pieces as scrap to the recycling center. That may also explain the charge of falsifying business records, which the authorities may be claiming had to do with paperwork the defendants submitted in the sales transaction. The plaque honored a man who served as a New York volunteer in the Civil War.

Drunk driving arrest follows traffic stop for multiple tickets

Traffic stops are a leading source of DUI arrests in New York. A drunk driver may tip off the authorities by weaving between lanes or being unable to stay within one's lane. Other suspicious drunk driving moves can be made by a drunk driver. If the driving is consistent with a loss of driving reflexes or control, the police will make a traffic stop to issue a ticket.

Generally, these matters escalate into an investigation of drunk driving when the officer smells alcohol emanating from the car and breath of the driver. Along with slurred speech, these are the most prevalent factors justifying performing a field sobriety test. Recently, the police made a traffic stop on I-90 in Guilderland that resulted in a felony DWI arrest.