The New York Criminal Law Blog

July 2011 Archives

Paz de la Huerta Fight Results in New York Harassment Plea

The Paz de la Huerta fight between the Boardwalk Empire actress and reality television star Samantha Swetra at a New York City bar will result in a New York harassment charge.

According to the New York Post, Paz de la Huerta pled guilty to harassment “a charge akin to a traffic ticket.” For the crime, de la Huerta will only have to serve one day of community service and undergo 12 weeks of alcohol counseling. I

n the plea deal, the actress admitted to threatening to hit MTV’s The City actress Samantha Swerta. The penalty is pretty light given that de la Huerta originally faced charges for third-degree assault and criminal possession of a weapon (a thrown glass) — crimes that could have led to jail time.

New York Penal Laws: Murder vs. Manslaughter

Veronica Cirella of Long Island was charged in the death of her 8-year old daughter after Cirella allegedly withheld her daughter's allergy medication causing her daughter to suffer a fatal allergic reaction. Cirella faces manslaughter charges under New York Penal Laws, leading us to ask: what is murder vs. manslaughter?

According to the New York Post, 8-year old Julie Cirella was set to be a flower girl at a wedding over the weekend. But before the wedding, Veronica Cirella withheld the girl's allergy medication causing the girl to die from an allergic reaction. After her daughter's death, Cirella allegedly tried to kill herself by strangling herself on a cord. She failed.

Aaron Boogaard Arrested in Death of NY Ranger Derek Boogaard

Shortly after his NHL season ended, New York Ranger enforcer Derek Boogaard was found dead in his Minneapolis apartment due to an apparent drug overdose. It was revealed that he had battled a history of drug addiction.

While Derek Boogaard’s death was originally considered just an unfortunate accident, the New York Post is now reporting that his brother, Aaron Boogaard, is being charged in the death.

Braylon Edwards DUI Results in Plea Bargain and No Jail Time

The Braylon Edwards DUI will result in a DUI plea bargain for a misdemeanor. This means that the free agent wide receiver will avoid jail time, possibly paving his return to the New York Jets.

As part of the plea agreement, Edwards will plead guilty, pay a $500 fine and take a six-month driver's education course to regain his revoked license, reports the New York Post. In addition, once the NFL lockout ends, Edwards will have to go through the league's own alcohol abuse treatment program.

Columbia Student Busted for Sale of a Controlled Substance

A 20-year old Columbia University student, Harrison David, was busted for sale of a controlled substance under New York drug laws after allegedly running a drug ring from the campus.

According to The New York Times, David was the primary target of an undercover investigation that netted four other students. David was busted last year after selling cocaine to an undercover police officer.

The guilty ruling in the Ja Rule tax case nets the rapper 28 months in jail. This comes on the heels of a two-year jail sentence after the rapper pled guilty to a gun possession charge in New York last year. However, as the rapper may be able to serve concurrent sentences, the 28-month sentence may only lead to a few extra months in jail for the already incarcerated rapper.

According to the Associated Press, Ja Rule pled guilty to failing to file income tax returns and was handed a 28-month prison sentence. He reportedly failed to pay taxes on more than $3 million that he earned between 2004 and 2006 while living in Saddle River, New Jersey.

The hunt for eight-year old Leiby Kletzky ended horribly, with police finding parts of the boy’s dismembered body in 35-year old Levi Aron’s refrigerator. Aron confessed to murdering the child.

According to the New York Post, Kletzky was walking home from a day camp seven blocks away from his home when he got lost. He approached Aron for directions and Aron apparently offered to give the boy a ride home. Then the story gets weird …

The Foxy Brown case has been dismissed, closing one chapter in the apparent blood feud between the rapper Foxy Brown and her neighbor Arlene Raymond.

According to the New York Post, Raymond refused to testify against Brown saying that she wanted to put an end to years of legal battles between the two that apparently started when Brown played her car stereo too loud in front of Raymond's apartment.

In the most recent incident, Raymond accused Brown of mooning her.

Who's the Defendant in the Dominque Strauss-Kahn Case?

Headlines last week in the Dominique Strauss-Khan (DSK) case were dominated by allegations that the hotel housekeeper who accused the former IMF chief of sexual assault was a prostitute with ties to convicted drug dealers and a history of lying.

The impression one would get by reading these stories is that the housekeeper was in fact the defendant as she was attacked from every angle, while Strauss-Kahn was the unwitting victim of the whole incident.

Now, with rumors that prosecutors may drop their case against DSK -- due in part to the housekeeper's credibility issues -- state officials and advocacy groups are coming to the housekeeper's defense and urging prosecutors to continue their case against Strauss-Kahn, reports The New York Times.

NYC Cold Case DNA Unit Solves 25-Year Old Murder Case

The Cold Case DNA Unit linked Rikers Island inmate, Steven Carter, to a 25-year old unsolved murder case — one week before Carter was to be released from prison for an unrelated weapons charge.

According to The New York Times, in 1986, 26-year old Antoinette Bennett’s dead body was found at St. Nicholas Park in Harlem. Bennett had been stabbed in the face and was strangled. Her body was partially undressed and investigators had found semen on her thigh.

However, the technology available in 1986 was not sophisticated enough to extract DNA from the semen and the case remained unsolved, reports the Times.

Pratt Institute Professor Shot at PA Vacation Home, 2 Dead

A Pratt Institute professor was shot at a Pennsylvania vacation home in a deadly act of revenge that led to the deaths of two people.

According to The New York Times, the professor, Monica Shay, was on vacation in the Pennsylvania countryside with her husband Paul Shay, their nephew Joseph Shay, his girlfriend, and the girlfriend's two-year old son.

As the family was relaxing in the evening, career-criminal Mark Richard Geisenheyner barged into the home, reports the Times. Geisenheyner reportedly told Paul Shay, "Guess you never thought you'd see me again," before shooting him in the head.

Credibility of Housekeeper in DSK Sex Assault Case In Doubt

The credibility of the housekeeper in the Dominique Strauss-Kahn sex assault case is in question casting serious doubt on the prosecutors' case.

In May, the housekeeper accused the former IMF chief of trying to rape her and forcing her to perform oral sex on him at a Manhattan hotel.

But in recent weeks, Strauss-Kahn's defense team hinted at evidence that would seriously cast doubt on the housekeeper's credibility. Now, the prosecutors themselves have revealed damaging discoveries that could force them to drop the case, reports the New York Times.