April 2010 News: The New York Criminal Law Blog

The New York Criminal Law Blog

April 2010 Archives

Count on New York to give us sensational crime stories such as this one.

It makes you feel like all New York criminal defense attorneys are Billy Flynn. "Just give'em the old, razzle-dazzle." (For those of you who don't know the reference, it's to the Broadway musical, Chicago).

An NYPD auxiliary officer was accused earlier last week of being the hired goon for a Brooklyn brothel. Levy Sharon has been accused of ferrying prostitutes to casinos and even making death threats against an alleged snitch.

Malcolm X's killer is back on the streets.

On parole, of course.

Yes, his New York criminal defense lawyers will be keeping their good eyes on him, as he was released from prison today.

Indeed, the last thing a New York criminal defense lawyer wants is a badly behaving parolee as a client.

Thomas Hagan, now 69 years old, is said to have shot Malcolm X in 1965. He allegedly killed Malcolm X with a shotgun.

But this morning, all was forgotten as Thomas Hagan walked out of the Lincoln Correctional Facility at 11 a.m.

Or was it all really forgotten?

Another Ecuadorian immigrant became news of another hate crime for New York criminal defense attorneys.

Just days after Jeffrey Convoy was convicted of a hate crime in Long Island, a similar case emerges out of New York.

Keith Phoenix, 30, faces murder charges for the fatal beating of Jose Sucuzhanay, 31, an Ecuadorian immigrant. Keith Phoenix allegedly slammed a metal bat over the head of his victim. He then walked away, only to return and hit Jose Sucuzhanay again, when Jose Sucuzhanay's shaking hand reached out.

"He hit him so hard his body jerked," a witness said.

In light of "420", it would be fit to discuss the topic of marijuana  and the New York laws related to it. If you know what 420 means, then you've come to the right place. If not, perhaps an explanation is necessary.

420 is a euphemism for smoking marijuana. And April 20, or 4/20, is considered a day of festivities for pot smokers in the United States. And for those who support the legalization of marijuana, it's Christmas!

And for New York criminal defense attorneys, it's a day that brings them many interesting legal questions.

In what the offenders called "beaner-jumping," an immigrant man was killed mercilessly. The murder trial began last week for a teen who allegedly killed an Ecuadorian immigrant in what has been called a "hate-crime".

The Long Island teen was found guilty of manslaughter as a hate crime for the murder of Marcelo Lucero, 37 this week. The murder happened in November of 2008.

The Long Island teen's New York criminal defense lawyer faced off against Assistant District Attorney Megan O'Donnell last week. The DA told jurors that criminal defendant Jeffrey Conroy went on a search for Mexican blood that fateful night.

New York criminal defense attorneys for Steve Mandala were unable to convince Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Carol Berkman into granting leniency to their white-collar criminal defendant earlier this week. Steve Mandala was on trial for second-degree larceny. He is facing allegations of stealing from Merrill Lynch during his two month employment stint at the investment bank.

Rather, Justice Berkman reprimanded the New York criminal defense lawyer on Wednesday, saying that the deal presented by the New York criminal defense attorneys was too light. As a result, the Justice refused approval of the deal.

Here's one for New York criminal defense lawyers-- a spa owner is being charged with assault and unlawful practice of medicine after she nearly killed a woman while giving her a butt implant.

The 27 year old woman, Barbara Nieto, was charged on Friday after customer Augusta Velez almost died of a life-threatening infection.

Talk about road rage. An angry cyclist went berserk on a Manhattan limo driver for allegedly cutting him off. Now, the angry little cyclist is facing charges and a subsequent court date with his New York criminal defense lawyer.

The fuming bike messenger Perzeus Forte, 20, bounced onto the hood of the limo after the limo had clipped him. He began smashing the windshield with his fists.

But that's not the full story in this bizarre, sordid tale of Manhattan road rage.

New York criminal defense attorneys are learning to represent a new type of criminal: schoolchildren.

And, no, I'm not talking about "criminal schoolchildren" in the Phoebe Prince sense of the word, where incessant bullying leads to suicide. Those children deserve to be penalized.

Rather, I'm talking about the good schoolchildren who get arrested by the poorly trained NYPD "School Security Officers". These children don't deserve to be treated like criminals. Yet, they are handcuffed and arrested.

Take the case of Alexa Gonzalez, for example. The pre-teen was arrested for doodling on her desk. She was slapped with handcuffs and hauled away to the police station.

Here's a monumental decision for New York criminal defense lawyers and repeat offenders alike: A federal court has ruled against the constitutionality of judges granting harsher sentences for repeat offenders.

Indeed, New York criminal defense attorneys must be toasting to this victory. What it means for them and their client is essentially that repeat offenders aren't at the mercy of New York judges, when it comes to their sentencing. A state law, which lets judges give harsher penalties to repeat offenders violates the criminal defendant's right to a jury trial, according to the NY Times.

In the wake of the Massachusetts suicide of Phoebe Prince, New York criminal defense attorneys are dealing with a cyberbullying suicide in their very own back yard. And for New York criminal defense lawyers, "computer crimes" might be an area of law gaining fast prominence ever since Phoebe Prince's suicide made national headlines.

Alexis Pilkington, 17, of West Islip, apparently committed suicide on March 21. The police department in Suffolk County is now investigating the case, determining whether Alexis Pilkington was another Phoebe Prince-- driven to suicide after incessant taunting.

At this stage, police are looking into Formspring.me, a social networking website, to determine if cyberbullying was a factor in her suicide. According to news sources, Alexis received harassing messages through the website.