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In a recent case before an appellate court in New York, the defendant presented multiple arguments in an attempt to reverse his conviction for murder in the second degree. Ultimately, the court decided that because the evidence was legally sufficient to support the guilty verdict, the defendant’s appeal should be denied. The court also affirmed the lower court’s decision regarding the defendant’s sentence, and he will remain incarcerated as a result.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant was charged with murder after officers found the victim dead from a knife wound. Apparently, the defendant held unto the knife until the victim fell to the ground, then had stabbed him with the knife.

The defendant pled not guilty, and his case proceeded to trial. Despite his attorney’s best efforts, though, the jury unanimously found the defendant guilty on September 12, 2018. The defendant appealed, and it took his case several years to work its way through the appeals system. Finally, almost five years later, the higher court issued this decision.

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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 a recent New York drug offense case subject to appellate review in the state of New York, the defendant challenged the lower court’s denial of his motion to suppress. The defendant was originally stopped by a police officer after the officer saw him exit his vehicle and pull up his pants. Arguing the officer did not have legal grounds to stop him, the defendant filed a motion to suppress the drugs that the officer eventually found on his person. The trial court denied the motion, and the defendant promptly appealed.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant was sitting in his car one evening when an officer on patrol stopped behind his car to observe. The officer saw the defendant move from the driver’s seat to the passenger’s seat. He then saw the defendant exit the vehicle and pull up his pants as he walked out.

The officer approached the defendant and, after a brief exchange, patted him down. At that point, the officer found marijuana and heroin on the defendant’s person. He was criminally charged, and he quickly filed a motion to suppress the evidence of the drugs. Once that motion was denied, the defendant appealed.

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In a recent case before a New York court, the defendant argued that his defense attorney was ineffective in representing him at the trial level. Originally, he was found guilty of both criminal contempt and committing an aggravated family offense, but the defendant thought he was entitled to receive an entirely new trial because of his attorney’s mistake. After reviewing the defendant’s argument, the higher court dismissed the aggravated family offense count but ultimately upheld the conviction for criminal contempt.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant went into his former girlfriend’s apartment one day in 2016 when there was an active stay-away order that legally prohibited him from being in her presence. While he was there, the defendant put his hands around his ex-girlfriend’s neck and stole her ID cards. The ex-girlfriend called the police, and the officers arrested the defendant immediately.

He was subsequently charged with criminal contempt because he had violated the stay-away order that was in effect. He was also charged with committing a family offense, which means that he committed a violent act against a relative or person with whom he had an “intimate relationship.” The defendant was found guilty, and he promptly appealed.

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In a recent case before a New York appeals court, the State asked for a reconsideration of an appellate division’s unfavorable decision. Originally, the defendant was convicted of assault in the second degree. In January 2022, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York reversed the defendant’s guilty verdict because, according to the court, there was insufficient legal evidence to support the conviction. In May 2023, however, that decision was reversed, given the higher court’s ruling that the evidence was, indeed, sufficient to show that the defendant had assaulted another individual. The case was then remanded back to the lower court for additional proceedings.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant was charged with assault in the second degree after a burglary incident in 2014. The defendant’s case went to trial, and he was found guilty as charged. First, the defendant appealed on the grounds that there was not enough evidence on the record to support the conviction. The reviewing court agreed, reversing the guilty verdict.

In 2023, however, the state of New York appealed. The higher court looked again at the evidence to determine if the original reversal was correct. Particularly relevant to the court’s review was evidence that the victim in the case experienced bleeding and swelling after the burglary incident. Hospital records indicated that the victim’s pain was “aching,” and the victim testified while at the hospital that the defendant had punched him in the face on the night in question.

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In a recent Murder case coming before the New York Court of Appeals, New York’s highest court, the defendant asked for a new trial because the trial court judge had closed the courtroom during the middle of his eight-day jury trial. Under the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, defendants are entitled to public trials, and according to the defendant, the trial court deprived him of this fundamental right to a public trial. Looking at the evidence in the record, the higher court agreed with the defendant and ended up granting him a new trial.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant was criminally charged with second-degree murder. His case went to trial, and the State asked the judge to close the courtroom a few days into the eight-day trial. During a conversation between the attorneys and the judge, the judge noted that several individuals in the courtroom had been “very intimidating,” had inappropriately taken photos during the proceedings, and had posted these photos on social media.

The defendant’s attorney asked if the court would consider banning cell phones instead of excluding the public from the trial, but the judge decided to proceed with closing the courtroom. The defendant’s trial proceeded in private, and the jury later found him guilty as charged. The defendant was then sentenced accordingly.

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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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Last month, an appellate court in New York ruled in favor of the defendant in a New York gun case involving the suppression of physical evidence. Originally, a police officer pulled the defendant over when he was driving, and the officer found a firearm on the defendant’s person. The lower court granted the defendant’s motion to suppress the incriminating evidence found during the traffic stop, and the State of New York appealed. Ultimately, the higher court denied the State’s appeal, siding with the defendant instead.

The Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, an officer was on patrol one evening when he saw the defendant driving nearby. He supposedly perceived the defendant to be going too fast and cross a double yellow line, so he activated his lights and pulled the defendant over. As the officer got out of his car and approached the defendant in his vehicle, he saw an empty firearm holder, marijuana, and a plastic bag with a powdery substance inside the car. The officer told the defendant to step outside and immediately found a firearm on the defendant’s person.

The defendant was charged with criminal possession of a firearm. He filed a motion asking the trial court to suppress the evidence of the firearm, arguing the officer did not actually have a legal reason to pull him over. The lower court granted the defendant’s motion, and the State appealed.

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In a recent assault case before an appellate court in New York, the defendant successfully overturned several convictions related to a Child Abuse case. Although, the top charge of Assault in the First Degree stood, the case outlines some limits on criminal possession of a dangerous instrument.  Originally, the defendant was convicted of several crimes, including assault in the first degree, assault in the second degree, reckless assault of a child, criminal possession of a weapon, and endangering the welfare of a child. On appeal, she asked that the court reconsider these convictions. Ultimately, the court agreed that at least two of the convictions should be vacated, granting the defendant’s request in part.

The Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant was charged with a myriad of crimes based on injuries found on her two-year-old son. The State presented evidence that the child was violently shaken, bruised, and bitten on different occasions. He also sustained several brain injuries because of the shaking, and the State included medical reports as part of the evidence against the defendant.

At trial, the defendant admitted that she occasionally hit the child, pinched his skin, and bit him and punished him with a “bamboo stick”.  She was later found guilty and was sentenced to time in prison as a result.

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Driving with a suspended license can be an extremely serious offense in New York with Aggravated Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle in the First Degree being a Felony in New York.  A recent decision decided toward the end of April, in the Appellate Division, Third Department, demonstrates why these cases must be treated very seriously and handled by experienced criminal defense lawyers.  Originally, the defendant was convicted of aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the first degree. The defendant’s attorney filed a pre-trial motion to suppress certain incriminating evidence, which the lower court summarily denied without a hearing because the motion was not supported by sworn allegations of fact. When the defendant appealed this denial, the higher court considered the evidence but ultimately decided the trial court’s ruling should stand.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant was driving one night when he made two turns without using a turn signal. A patrolling officer pulled him over for a routine traffic stop, at which point the officer learned that the defendant was operating the motor vehicle without a license.

The defendant’s attorney promptly filed a motion to suppress evidence of the conversation between his client and the officer during the traffic stop. The court denied that motion and the defendant pleaded guilty to the crime, and received a sentence of 1 to 3 years in prison.

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