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Defending felony charges may lead to shooter ID for police

A senseless rampage leaving two young women dead occurred recently at a Halloween party in Newburgh, New York. It appears that two or more shooters remain at large. Police announced the arrests of two men on tampering with the evidence and criminal possession of handguns, which appear to be felony charges.

Police, however, made it clear that the two men arrested were charged with essentially assisting the shooters after the shooting. A 21-year-old man and a 20-year old man were arrested on the criminal charges and are now in custody. Reportedly, what started as a scuffle turned into an all-out shooting fest. One or more men turned off the lights at the party and starting shooting randomly into the crowd.

Because the defendants are accused of assisting the shooter immediately after the incident, defense counsel must enter a mediating role in a sense to determine to what extent each client may be able to walk away with no permanent charges or at least reduced charges. It appears that police may have made the arrests to hold the two witnesses in custody to find out who actually fired the shots. In such instances, defense counsel must get on the same page with the defendant to determine what the defendant knows and what he may be able to share with the authorities.

Counsel's job is easier and more effective when a suspect is desirous of cooperating fully by identifying the shooter. It then becomes a clear exchange of providing information for the possible dropping of the felony charges. A witness charged with a lesser crime under New York criminal laws may or may not be required to testify at trial on behalf of the state in matters when a witness's testimony is important to the government.

Source: CBS New York, "2 Arrests Made In Fatal Shooting At Newburgh Halloween Party: Police", Oct. 31, 2016

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