Articles Posted in GUN CRIMES

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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In a recent New York case involving the illegal possession of a firearm, the court denied the defendant’s motion to suppress physical evidence. In the appeal, the defendant argued that the initial police pursuit of the defendant that led to the recovery of the evidence in question was not legal, therefore barring the use of the gun at trial. The appeals court denied his motion, finding first that the police pursuit was lawful, and as a result, the motion to suppress was denied.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the police officer was engaged in his normal duties when he was patrolling near the Woodside Houses, a New York City Housing Authority complex, in Woodside, Queens. The officer then observed a group of three or four individuals gathered together on a bench and recognized one of them, the defendant, as the subject of two bench warrants that he had received and reviewed prior to March 16. Both bench warrants were in connection with two pending criminal proceedings. Each contained a photograph of the defendant and identifying physical characteristics, including height, weight, age, and race. As the officer and the defendant made eye contact, the defendant began running towards a nearby building.

The officer then observed the defendant make a motion towards the elevator before disappearing into the stairwell. Despite sweeping the building, the police officers were unable to locate the defendant. The officers then referred to video surveillance footage of the building and discovered that the defendant had disposed of a handgun in the elevator before running into the stairwell. An inspection of the elevator revealed a handgun in the shaft. Several days later, the defendant turned himself in.

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Recently, the New York Appellate Division, Third Department issued an opinion in a case involving a defendant’s attempt to reverse his conviction for a gun crime. On appeal, the defendant asked the court to review the evidence from trial and come to the conclusion that there was insufficient evidence to support the jury’s guilty verdict. After going through both the evidence from trial as well as the defendant’s argument on appeal, the court disagreed with the defendant and ultimately concluding that the evidence was sufficient and that the defendant’s appeal should be denied.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant activated a security alarm while he was on his way out of a sporting goods store in May 2017. Security officers immediately came to the defendant and asked him to remove his backpack so that he could walk by the sensor. Again, the defendant set off alarms. Eventually, a security guard asked the defendant to empty his pockets, and the defendant revealed four boxes of ammunition that he had stolen.

The defendant was taken to the police station, and officers found a slungshot in his backpack when they searched the items he had on his person. A few hours later, the defendant’s granddaughter, with whom he was staying, turned over the defendant’s belongings to the police. In those belongings, the officers found a firearm. Upon searching a storage unit that belonged to the defendant, the officers also found four firearms, ammunition, and three additional slungshots.

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In a recent case involving a New York gun crime, the defendant unsuccessfully appealed his conviction of attempted criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree. In the appeal, the defendant argued that the officer who found the weapon in question had no right to search his private vehicle, and the trial court should have suppressed the incriminating evidence. Disagreeing with the defendant and discussing the plain view doctrine, the court denied the appeal.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, a police officer was patrolling one evening when he came across a parked car on the highway. The officer immediately saw an open bottle of tequila in the car and smelled alcohol coming from the general vicinity of the car. Because New York law prohibits possession of open containers on public highways, the officer opened the car to investigate the situation.  The Court decided that the officer had the legal right to do this since it is illegal to have an open container of alcohol in the car.

Not only did the officer confirm what he suspected – that the bottle indeed was full of tequila – but he also found an open backpack in the car on the passenger’s side floorboard. Inside the backpack the police officer found a pistol magazine. The officer arrested and charged the defendant with attempted criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree.

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In a recent opinion decided in a New York appellate court, the defendant unsuccessfully appealed his New York firearm case. The defendant was originally found guilty of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree and unlawful possession of pistol ammunition. When evaluating the defendant’s appeal, the court used a four-level test that is common in New York criminal law to assess the legitimacy of interactions between police officers and pedestrians. Determining that the interaction between the officer and the defendant in this case was legitimate, the court denied the defendant’s appeal.

Facts of the Case

The defendant was charged after an interaction with a police officer in 2019. According to the opinion, the officer had received a tip that the defendant had a firearm on his person, so the officer approached the defendant to investigate the situation. When the officer asked the defendant to take his hands out of his pockets, the defendant refused, instead pushing past the officer in an attempt to evade the interaction.

The officer then grabbed the defendant’s pocket. At this point, it became clear to the officer that the defendant had a gun in his pocket, and he used force to stop the defendant so that he could fully investigate the situation. The officer found the gun, and the defendant was arrested and charged accordingly.

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