Articles Posted in GUN CRIMES

In a recent case before a New York appellate court, the defendant asked the court to reconsider his conviction for criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree. In his appeal, the defendant argued that the lower court should have suppressed evidence obtained by the police officers that caught him driving with a firearm. Because the lower court failed to suppress the evidence, argued the defendant, it was the higher court’s responsibility to reverse the judgment and remand the case for further proceedings without the incriminating evidence as part of the record. Ultimately, looking at the evidence in the case, the court of appeals agreed with the defendant and reversed the judgment.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant was driving when two police officers pulled him over for speeding. Once they initiated the traffic stop, the officers questioned the defendant and ultimately found a firearm in his vehicle. The defendant was charged, and he  filed a motion to suppress the firearm found in his vehicle. The lower court, however, denied this motion, and the defendant was convicted of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree.

The Decision

On appeal, the defendant’s main argument was that the officers did not actually have a legal reason to pull him over in the first place, thus making their traffic stop illegal, and any evidence they found as a result of the stop should have been inadmissible. During the hearing on the defendant’s motion to suppress, both officers testified that they pulled the defendant over because they suspected he was speeding. However, neither of the officers had used radar to actually measure the defendant’s speed before they pulled him over. Instead, the officers testified that they estimated the defendant was traveling around 40 miles per hour in a 30-mile-per-hour zone.

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In a recent New York gun case before an appellate court in the state of New York, the court had to decide whether a search warrant executed by several state troopers was valid. Originally, the trial court decided that evidence found by the troopers should be suppressed, and it granted the defendants’ motion to controvert the search warrant and suppress the incriminating evidence. On appeal, the State asked the higher court to reverse this decision, but the court could not find a reason to agree with the State’s arguments and ultimately denied the request.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendants were charged with drug and weapons offenses after state troopers searched their two-story home in Queens. A confidential informant had told investigators that he knew several firearms were in the defendants’ home since he had visited recently and been shown two guns by one of the residents.

Both the search warrant and the affidavit in support of the search warrant described a two story, two family home with a right entrance and a left entrance.

The officers searched the home and found drugs, ammunition, and guns on the first floor. Interestingly, they found nothing on the second floor. They also arrested several people.  The defendants filed a motion to suppress, arguing the warrant that gave the officers permission to search the premises was invalid and that the evidence shouldn’t come in at trial. The Constitutions of both New York State requires that search warrants particularly describe the place to be searched and the items to be taken.  This warrant authorized the search of the entire house even though the police were aware that it was a two-family home.  Accordingly, the trial court granted this motion, and the evidence was suppressed.

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Last month, the Appellate Court decided the prosecution’s appeal of a lower court’s unfavorable decision in a firearm possession case. It is unusual for the prosecutors to appeal and they can only do so under very limited circumstances. The State had originally asked the lower court to admit evidence, including two handguns, that resulted from an officer’s pat down of the defendant, and the lower court had determined that the evidence could not come in at trial. When the State appealed, the higher court reviewed the evidence of the case, ultimately deciding that the lower court’s decision was correct and that the officer did not have a legal basis to conduct a pat down of the defendant.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant was driving one evening when an officer attempted to pull him over for several traffic violations, including parking illegally, failing to stop at a stop sign, and failing to signal while turning. At first, the defendant did not stop for the officer, so the officer called in backup to help him conduct the stop.

When the backup officer came to the scene, he saw the defendant get out of the car and start running away. The officer did not know the details of what was going on, but he knew that the original officer was trying to conduct a traffic stop of the individual. The second officer then started chasing the defendant. He tackled the defendant, handcuffed him, and pat him down, finding two handguns between his legs.

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Last month, a New York defendant in a firearms possession case successfully appealed an unfavorable decision from the lower court. Originally, the trial court had denied the defendant’s motion to suppress the gun in this case, which was found by the two officers that arrested the defendant. The defendant argued that officers actually did not have legal grounds to search him, and the trial court disagreed. On appeal, however, the higher court reversed this decision, ruling that the officers unlawfully searched the defendant on the night in question.  As we have discussed on many occasions, suppression motions are often the best way to challenge gun possession cases.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant was sitting in a grassy area outside of a vacant house one evening. Police officers patrolling the area noticed that the defendant had an open container of alcohol, and they approached him to issue a citation for the offense.

As the officers approached, the defendant jumped up and attempted to run away. One of the officers tackled the defendant, and he was placed in handcuffs. The officers then arrested the defendant for violation of the local open container ordinance and for obstructing governmental administration. While officers were patting the defendant down, they found a gun on him and charged him with criminal possession of a firearm as well.

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Recently, a defendant in New York appealed his guilty conviction for attempted murder and criminal possession of a weapon. On appeal, the defendant argued that during trial, the prosecution inappropriately introduced evidence of a 911 call from the victim’s mother. The call, argued the defendant, was hearsay, and it should not have been admitted. After considering this argument, the appellate court ultimately affirmed the original guilty verdict.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant was charged when police arrested him for shooting another person in Queens. During the altercation, the defendant shot the victim, and the victim walked out of the incident injured but still alive. The State charged the defendant with several crimes, including attempted murder in the second degree, criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, assault in the second degree, and reckless endangerment in the first degree.

The case went to trial, and a jury found the defendant guilty as charged. Even after the verdict, the defendant maintained that he was unjustly found guilty, and he appealed the jury’s decision.

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A New York State Supreme Court Justice ruled last week that New York’s Extreme Risk Protection Order laws, often called Red Flag laws are unconstitutional and declined to issue an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO).  As we have written in the past, extreme risk protections have become very popular in anti-gun states and are a way for government officials to take away the Second Amendment rights of individuals who have not committed any crime.  Yet, New York’s Red Flag laws were expanded in July of 2022.  Justice Thomas E. Moran, of the Rochester based Monroe County Supreme Court struck down these laws in a 10 page decision, in a case entitled G.W. v. C.N., 2022 NY Slip Op 22392 (Monroe County Sup. Ct. 2022).

This particular case highlights everything wrong with Red Flag laws.  The Petitioner who filed for the Extreme Risk Protection Order was the estranged boy friend of the Respondent who was a licensed gun owner in New York State.  He alleged that his ex-girlfriend was a danger to herself and others and obtained a Temporary Extreme Risk Protection Order.  Justice Moran pointed out that the Petition cited a variety of statements that the Respondent allegedly made threatening to harm herself with a gun which the Petition falsely claimed were made within 6 months before the Petition was filed but in fact dated back to 2020 and 2021.  The Court also pointed out that there was a Family Court case also going on in which The Petitioner had an Order of Protection against him which among other things barred him from the home that they had shared.

Turning to the Constitutionality of the Article 63-A, which lays out New York’s Red Flag laws and procedures, the Court cited the United States Supreme Court decisions in Heller, McDonald and most recently Bruen and applied the Bruen Standard that when the 2nd Amendment’s text covers a person’s conduct, a law which regulates that conduct is presumptively unconstitutional unless the State can demonstrate that the regulation is consistent with the country’s historical tradition of firearms regulations.

Just about one week after the United States Supreme Court delivered its ground breaking decision in Bruen affirming the Constitutionally protected right to carry a gun in public and addressing the sanctity of the Second Amendment, Governor Hochul and the New York State Legislature convened an extraordinary legislative session and passed the “Concealed Carry Improvement Act.  The purpose of the CCIA was to make the lawful carry of a firearm so difficult, so constrained and so limited that no one would choose to carry their firearm for fear of being charged with a felony.  The thrust of the law was to create numerous sensitive and restricted locations where a licensed citizen could not carry firearms and to make the application process unduly burdensome.

The law was almost immediately after passage challenged in numerous Court proceedings.  New York State rather than defending the law on the merits chose to defend the law mostly with the procedural argument that because the Plaintiffs challenging the law had not been arrested or suffered any harm they did not have standing to challenge the law.  Now after several decisions, here is a partial list of what is still enforceable under the CCIA.

In the Western District of New York, on November 3, 2022, Judge Sinatra stayed the enforcement of the provisions of the CCIA which prohibited carrying a firearm in places of worship.

In the state of New York, it is necessary to have a permit in order to carry or possess a handgun. The process of applying for a gun permit can be daunting, but we’re here to help. Keep reading to learn more about the steps you need to take in order to obtain a gun permit in New York City.

1. Determine if you are eligible for a gun permit. In order to be eligible, you must be 21 years of age or older, have no or a minimal criminal record (you may not have a felony conviction), and be a resident of or be be employed within New York City. If you meet these criteria, you can move on to the next step.

2. Collect the necessary documentation. You will need to bring a completed application, two passport-style photos, and the appropriate fee to the NYC Licensing Division, along with other documentation to establish identity, residence and employment. You can find the application and fee schedule on the NYC Licensing Division website.

In a recent New York criminal defense case, a New York Appellate Court affirmed the trial court decision, finding that the court had properly denied the defendant’s motion to suppress evidence in a case involving illegal possession of guns and illegal possession of drugs.   In the appeal, the defendant challenged the denial of his motion to suppress his statements and certain physical evidence. The defendant was charged with criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree (two counts), criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree, criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree (four counts), criminally using drug paraphernalia in the second degree, criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree, criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree and three traffic violations.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, a state trooper observed the defendant’s vehicle change lanes without signaling and cross over a rumble strip on the highway. The state trooper proceeded to initiate a traffic stop, pulling the defendant over. Upon approaching the defendant’s car, the state trooper observed the defendant sitting in an “unnatural position” that appeared to shield something from view. In response to questioning, the defendant stated that he was returning from work. At that point, the state trooper asked the defendant to exit the vehicle, and the defendant complied. The state trooper continued to question the defendant, at which point, the defendant stated that he was returning from a friend’s house, which was inconsistent with his original answer. At this point, the state trooper decided to run a “file check” on the defendant and discovered he was on parole. The state trooper and his partner then asked for permission to search the car, and according to the trooper, the defendant answered in the affirmative.

In a recent opinion issued by an appellate court in New York, the defendant’s appeal of his sale of firearm conviction was denied. Originally, the defendant was charged with sale of a firearm in the first degree and criminal sale of a firearm in the second degree. A jury found him guilty of both crimes, and he promptly appealed, arguing that the officers’ search warrant was unauthorized and thus that the evidence they found should have been suppressed.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant was riding a bus from Florida to New York when police officers entered the bus without prior notice. The officers approached the defendant and immediately showed him a search warrant that authorized them to search the suitcase he had brought on board. Feeling as if he had no choice in the matter, the defendant handed over the suitcase.

The officers found multiple firearms in the suitcase, and the defendant was charged accordingly. He appeared for his trial, and in June 2017, and received a guilty verdict. The defendant appealed his verdict pro se, meaning he did not have an attorney to represent him but instead filed the appeal on his own.

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