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Mahopac Criminal Defense Law Blog

Police arrest 2 men on felony charges on last day of festival

In New York and all other states, robbery is the taking and converting of another's property by means of physical force. Armed robbery is the same offense but with a gun, knife or other deadly weapon displayed by the robber. Robbery and armed robbery are almost always felony charges, but the degree of felony depends on the state statute that classifies crimes.

Recently, the New York State Police arrested two men in Tompkins County for robbery and possession of cocaine. Police say that the two men, ages 31 and 33, forced the victim to the ground and then stole his clothing and backpack allegedly containing $3,000. The incident occurred at the Trumansburg Fair Grounds on the last day of the Grass Roots Festival.

Former state senate leader gets 7 years on felony charges

It may be said that a politician who uses corruption to get elected to an office will be well qualified to corrupt the office itself once elected. That was part of the general message conveyed to former state Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith by a federal judge who sentenced Smith to seven years of incarceration recently in a federal district court. The unusual aspect of the felony charges against the defendant was that he tried to use bribery and promises of funding to get support from other politicians for his campaign for mayor of New York City in 2013.

Because he was a Democrat trying to run as a Republican for the mayoral position, he attempted to bribe several Republican legislators to support his campaign. Smith was found guilty by a jury and faced the judge this past week for his scheduled sentencing. The judge pointed out that even if the defendant wanted to be a good mayor, he could not get to that point by corrupting the process to achieve the office.

Bail reform pushed for arrest on non-violent criminal offense

The bail system in New York is unfair and relatively arcane in comparison to most other systems around the country, according to critics. Even where low bail is set for  a misdemeanor or even for an alleged criminal offense that is a nonviolent felony, the accused may languish in the outdated prison facilities at Riker's Island for months or years awaiting a trial. That unacceptable fate may be avoided by pleading guilty, but such a move impinges the future life of the accused, who must be tagged permanently with a criminal record.

That dilemma is the subject of a plan proposed by Mayor DeBlasio's office that would provide supervised release without bail for persons accused of minor offenses who are determined not to be a threat to the community or a risk of flight. While the plan would be an improvement, it cannot address the unfair system that would remain in the rest of the state. A resolution of the problem statewide will take a reformist push by Governor Cuomo and the state legislature.

Prison guard hit with felony charges in New York prison escape

It is unusual to see prison employees assisting convicted murderers to escape from prison. In the case of the two escaped felons from the Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate New York, the rare situation exists where two persons are now charged in connection with the escape. Felony charges were just announced by authorities against the second employee, a 57-year-old male prison guard. He was charged with promoting prison contraband, tampering with evidence and official misconduct.

The man was charged with taking frozen meat embedded with tools and hacksaws to the area where the inmates' cell was located. He allegedly acted at the request of the other defendant, a 51-year-old female, who was the tailor shop instructor who allegedly tried to help the two men escape. The male guard denies that he knew about any contraband. 

Woman may need a solid DWI defense after 3rd charge in 10 years

A New York woman was recently arrested for allegedly drinking and driving. Supposedly, this is actually her third DWI defense within the last decade. According to officials, the charge came after she had a car accident.

The 30-year-old woman is facing a felony DWI charge. For unknown reasons, she apparently drove her vehicle off the road, where it ended up in a side ditch early one recent Tuesday morning. She reportedly refused a blood alcohol test, which may make it harder for prosecutors to prove their case. They'll need to rely on other evidence, such as witness' testimony, physical evidence and personal observations. 

Complex drunk driving laws require seasoned defense counsel

Significant jail sentences are on the books in New York for persons convicted of DUI. The penalties for drunk driving for those under the age of 21 are a bit more relaxed but still serious enough to cause substantial disruption of the person's life. New York also has an Implied Consent Law which requires a mandatory suspension of a person's driver's license for at least one year where that person refuses to cooperate in allowing a blood alcohol test.

The suspension of the driver's license is made effective at an administrative hearing where the presence of experienced criminal defense counsel in DUI matters can be helpful to the individual. There are defenses and mitigating circumstances that can be asserted at the hearing which may partially or totally defeat the attempt to automatically suspend the license.  However, it is inadvisable to attempt this procedure without the assistance of an experienced attorney.

Annual FolkFest marred by numerous arrests on drug charges

Oswego County authorities and the New York State Police cooperated in busting at least 14 persons for possessing and/or selling various illegal drugs at the annual FolkFest music festival held May 21 through May 24. Those arrested were mostly New York residents who ranged in age from 20 through 55. The county district attorney held a news conference to inform the public and the press regarding the several different drug charges that were filed.

The 14 arrests, however, pertain only to those arrested inside the venue. There was a rash of "arrests" made by police of people who were apparently arriving or exiting from the event. Thus, reports indicate that police arrested 21 persons on marijuana possession charges outside the venue. There were also nine arrests outside the concert for possession of an undescribed illegal substance.

Biggest heroin bust nets 70 kilos; 2 men held on drug charges

The evidence seems to be mounting that the use of heroin is growing by epidemic proportions in New York City. That warning has been repeated by numerous drug enforcement officials recently. But actual proof of the extent of the problem was allegedly revealed by DEA officials and others on May 17 with the arrest and filing of drug charges against two men after a year-long investigation in the Bronx. Authorities seized 70 kilograms of heroin with a purported street value of $50 million.

Authorities are alleging that it is the biggest DEA seizure of heroin ever in the state of New York, and the fourth biggest in the country. Officials indicated that their investigation was comprised of wiretaps and surveillance. They said that the drugs were smuggled across the border and driven north to be distributed in New York and four other adjacent or nearby states.

State Police arrest some Mysteryland attendees on drug charges

The Woodstock Music & Arts Festival took place in 1969 on the famous property known as Max Yasgur's farm, which was part of the rolling hillsides of the Hudson Valley. Almost 46 years later, the same farmland is now known as the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts. Over this past Memorial Day weekend, a festival called Mysteryland USA brought a new generation of music lovers to the grounds. The crowd was much smaller than in 1969; the weather was too cold for many to camp out, and some of the revelers ended up with felony drug charges lodged against them by the New York State Police.

The outdoor electronic music festival hosted about 17,500 young people over the age of 21. Although the festival's organizers stated publicly that drugs were not allowed, the warnings were not totally obeyed. It appears that the festival may be compared to a giant outdoor rave party, with colorful stage backgrounds and music groups sporting an electronic motif.

21 nabbed on drug charges connected to lost "quality of life"

Drug dragnets are a good public relations tool for local law enforcement authorities, but whether they bring about a lasting reduction in drug trafficking activities in the particular locality is highly questionable due to decades of experience indicating just the opposite. Recently, a drug sweep by New York authorities resulted in 21 arrests on drug charges in the Tompkins County area. Several state agencies joined with the Tompkins County Sheriff's office in conducting the investigation and the sweep.

The County Sheriff announced the sweep in a news conference, saying that it was the result of a rash of complaints from the community, particularly last summer. Complaints dealt with drug usage, burglaries and car larcenies. The Sheriff indicated that key players were identified by the public in their complaints. Some of the arrests involved the execution of existing warrants against suspects not previously apprehended, including one murder warrant.