Articles Posted in SEX CRIMES

In a recent case coming out of an appellate court in New York, the defendant’s request for a new analysis under the Sex Offender Registration Act was denied. The defendant took issue with the trial court’s decision regarding his “risk level” after he was originally found guilty of possessing child pornography. Asking for a lower risk level on the sex offender registry, the defendant argued there was not enough evidence to support the high risk level the lower court had assigned him. Reviewing the case and ultimately disagreeing with the defendant’s argument, the higher court denied his appeal.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant was charged with possession of child pornography several years ago, in 2014. He pled guilty and was sentenced accordingly. When an individual in New York is classified as a “sex offender” by the court, that person must register on the sex offender registry to notify the public of his or her risk level. Once the individual is sentenced, or if incarcerated before the individual’s release, a court must hold an evidentiary hearing to decide what the person’s assigned risk level will be. One is the lowest risk level, and three is the highest.

In this case, the court designated the defendant as a level two sex offender, meaning it thought he posed a moderate risk to the community. The defendant appealed, arguing he should have been classified as a level one instead of as a level two.

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Recently, a New York defendant successfully argued to reverse the lower court’s classification of his sex offender registration risk level in a sex offender case. The defendant was charged with and convicted of engaging in forcible sexual intercourse in 2012, and when he was eventually released from prison, the State suggested a risk level to put on the defendant’s sex offender registry. After the lower court accepted the State’s recommendation, the defendant appealed, and the higher court reversed the original decision.  Generally, before a sex offender is released from incarceration an evidentiary hearing is held to determine the appropriate risk level and therefore the terms of the offender’s registration.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant engaged in forced sexual intercourse with a child when he was 19 years old. He spent five years in prison, and he registered for the sex offender registry when he was released. As part of that registry, the defendant knew the court would assign him a “risk level,” which would indicate to anyone looking him up on the registry how dangerous the court thought he might be.

The State suggested a risk level of 3 (the highest possible level) for the defendant, but the defendant thought his level should be lower than the State’s suggestion. During a hearing on the defendant’s risk level, the court granted the State’s request and assigned the defendant the number 3 on the sex offender registry. The defendant appealed.

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In an April 2023 case before an appellate court in New York, the defendant, a convicted sex offender,  appealed a lower court’s decision to designate him as a level three sex offender under the sex offender registration act (SORA). After the defendant was charged with and convicted of rape, the State asked for the defendant to be registered as a sex offender in the state of New York. When the defendant thought that the lower court unfairly assessed his risk level to the community, he appealed, and the higher court ultimately agreed with his argument, granting his appeal.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant was originally charged after he raped a woman and threatened violence against her. Apparently, he told the woman that if she did not have sex with him, he would use a machete against her. He claimed that he kept a machete under his bed, although there was no evidence on the record that the defendant actually owned a machete or had one available to him.

The defendant was convicted of rape in the third degree. The State then asked the court to register him according to the Sex Offender Registration Act. This process means that the court must determine the defendant’s risk level to the community, which involves assigning him a numerical value that indicates how dangerous he might be in the future.

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In a recent rape case before an appeals court in New York, the defendant asked the court to find that he had received ineffective assistance of counsel during his trial for rape in the second degree. Originally, the defendant was charged by indictment after evidence supported a showing that he had engaged in sexual relations with a 14-year-old girl several times. During the trial, the defendant thought his attorney should have made more objections to the evidence that the State asked the jury to consider. Ultimately, the defendant lost at trial, and he was convicted and sentenced accordingly. On appeal, the court considered the defendant’s argument and disagreed that his counsel was inadequate. The defendant’s conviction was affirmed.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant was a man in his 40s who knew the victim and her family. As the defendant and the victim spent more time together, the defendant disclosed to the victim that he was having trouble in his marriage. Eventually, the defendant and the victim began engaging in sexual relations, and the State police received a report that the defendant was sexually abusing the minor.

When the defendant was charged, he was taken in for an interview with the police. At that point, he was given Miranda warnings, and he cooperated fully with the investigators. Later in the day, the defendant provided a written statement admitting that he had been having sex with the victim in the case.

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Criminal prosecutions in New York are confined by constitutional and statutory protections for people accused of crimes in this state. The state rules of evidence and criminal procedure prevent prosecutors from eliciting certain types of testimony and other evidence that is determined to be inadmissible hearsay. Hearsay involves an out-of-court statement, offered for the truth of the matter asserted.  Hearsay is by definition a violation of the confrontation clause of the US Constitution in that it may violate the principle that the accused has the right to confront the witness against the accused.   Although many exceptions to the prohibition on hearsay evidence exist, hearsay evidence manages to find its way into trial in thousands of criminal prosecutions each year.

A New York court recently affirmed the conviction of a man for attempted sexual assault, rejecting the defendant’s arguments that inadmissible hearsay testimony offered at trial should invalidate his conviction. The defendant from the recently decided case was charged with attempted sexual assault after he was reported to have aggressively approached and grabbed a 14-year-old victim while they were in an elevator together. During the trial, the defendant’s attorney objected to the admission of certain portions of a 911 call involving the victim’s neighbor on the basis that the statements were hearsay. The objection was overruled, and the defendant was convicted of the charges.

The defendant appealed his conviction, arguing that the admission of the hearsay evidence was an error, which tainted his conviction. The appellate court agreed with the defendant that the statements should not have been allowed at trial; however, the court found the error was harmless in light of the overwhelming other evidence incriminating the defendant in the charges. The court noted that there were other areas at trial where inadmissible evidence may have been admitted, but the defendant failed to properly address those on appeal, so the court would not disturb the defendant’s conviction.

In a recent New York sexual abuse case, the defendant unsuccessfully argued that he had the right to a jury trial under the U.S. Constitution. After being charged with and several sex crimes, the defendant asked for a jury trial so that he could get a fair hearing before potentially being found guilty, and thus being found deportable back to his country of origin. Because the court of appeals disagreed with the defendant’s main argument, it ultimately denied the appeal.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, an undercover police officer was standing on a train platform in June 2015 when he observed the defendant standing nearby. The defendant seemed to be masturbating, although the officer was not entirely certain what was happening at the time. A few minutes later, the defendant pushed himself onto a nearby woman, then ran away to board a train. Immediately, the defendant pushed himself onto a second woman.

The defendant was charged with two counts of forcible touching, two counts of sexual abuse, and one count of public lewdness. Because the defendant was not a U.S. citizen, he faced the threat of potential deportation if convicted of the crimes. The crimes were Class B misdemeanors, which means that the defendant did not have the right to a jury trial under state law – he could only secure a jury trial if the misdemeanors had been Class A.

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In a recent case involving a New York Sex Crime , the defendant successfully appealed his conviction of predatory sexual assault against a child. The defendant was originally found guilty in November 2016, after he went through a jury trial based on his charges and received an unfavorable verdict. He was sentenced to time in prison, but he successfully appealed the decision.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant sexually abused several children below the age of 13 at his residence in New York. The year before he was charged, the defendant watched the children various times in his home, given that the children’s parents were neighbors of his and used the defendant as a babysitter when they had to leave the building. On several different occasions, the children’s parents had dropped them off at the defendant’s home, and he had committed some kind of predatory sexual assault on the children during these visits.

The Opinion

The defendant was convicted of two counts of predatory sexual assault as well as endangering the welfare of a child. On appeal, the defendant argued that the predatory sexual assault conviction should be reversed, and the court ended up agreeing with his argument. According to the defendant, an individual is only guilty of predatory sexual assault against a child in the first degree when he commits the crime at least twice over a period of three months or more. Here, said the defendant, while there was evidence that he had assaulted the children in question, there was insufficient evidence to support the claim that this activity had happened over a period of at least three months. Thus, the defendant’s actions did not align with the definition of the crime, and his conviction should be reversed.

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In a recent opinion from a New York court, the defendant in a child sexual assault case lost his appeal after he attempted to argue that the prosecution had behaved unfairly during his trial. The court disagreed, reviewing the prosecutor’s conduct and concluding that it was all acceptable. The defendant’s verdict was thus affirmed and he was sentenced to time in prison.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the victim, a child born in 2009, told another student on the bus to school that the defendant (her mother’s partner) was engaging in sexual conduct with her. Authorities soon learned of this alleged sexual assault, and the defendant was charged with predatory sexual assault against a child as well as attempted rape in the first degree. The County Court dismissed the defendant’s rape charge, but the prosecution proceeded with a jury trial to rule on the predatory sexual assault charge.

As a result of the trial, the defendant was convicted and sentenced to 20 years to life in prison. He subsequently appealed the jury’s verdict.

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When juries are given the ability to determine a defendant’s guilt, the stigma of the crimes alleged sometimes plays a larger factor in the jury’s decision than evaluation of the required elements of the crime. Because of this, it is extremely important in the administration of criminal justice that juries are only allowed to convict defendants of crimes that are legally possible based upon the allegations of the criminal complaint and the evidence presented at trial. The Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court recently addressed a defendant’s appeal from several New York sex crime convictions, which claimed the evidence against him was legally insufficient to support the convictions.

The defendant in the recently decided case was convicted of first degree sexual abuse after he allegedly made sexual contact with the victim without their consent. Before the trial, the defendant objected to being tried for first-degree sexual abuse, as that charge required a showing that force or compulsion was used to affect the sexual abuse. Additionally, the defendant appealed a conviction for first-degree sexual assault that was handed down based upon his touching two parts of the victim’s body during the same occurrence. The defendant’s pretrial motions were denied, and the defendant was ultimately convicted of the crimes, along with several others stemming from the same criminal episode.

The defendant appealed his convictions to the Appellate Division, arguing that the evidence presented at trial was legally insufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant subjected the victim to sexual abuse using forcible compulsion. The Appellate Division agreed with the defendant’s arguments, finding that there was not any evidence presented at trial with which a jury could find that forcible compulsion was used. The Appellate Division reduced this conviction to a third-degree sexual assault, which was supported by ample evidence presented at trial. Additionally, the court found that the two separate counts stemming from the same occurrence should not have resulted in two convictions and vacated one of the convictions outright. The defendant’s other arguments were rejected by the court.

In New York, sex crimes vary in type, degree, and consequences. To know the law and know where you stand, it is important to familiarize yourself with the various elements of each crime. Staying informed and hiring an experienced sex crimes defense lawyer are the best ways to guarantee you are treated fairly if convicted.

Below is a very brief breakdown of the many of the sex crimes in New York.  Other charges involving Unlawful Surveillance, and Child Pornography charges are found in other places in the penal law but may require registration as a sex offender upon a conviction.

Sexual misconduct is a broad term, and it happens when one person engages in any kind of sexual conduct with another party, without that second party’s consent. Sexual abuse is a second broad offense that involves what New York law calls “forcible compulsion” – forcing someone into a sexual act either by physical force or the threat of force.

Criminal Sexual Act

A criminal sexual act is slightly more specific: in the first degree, a criminal sexual act means that one person has engaged in oral sexual conduct or anal sexual conduct by force or with someone less than thirteen years old. In the second degree, a criminal sexual act occurs when a person engages in the same kind of conduct with a person less than fifteen years old; in the third degree, the crime comes up when the second party is less than seventeen years old. Punishments for a criminal sexual act vary greatly – for the first degree, defendants can face sentences between five and twenty-five years in prison, whereas for the third degree, punishments are typically one to four years in prison.

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