The New York Criminal Law Blog

September 2011 Archives

Diane McCloud, Life Sentence for Shoplifting?

A judge generously freed Diane McCloud from jail so that she could get a heart transplant. McCloud repaid that kindness by continuing to commit crimes. Now McCloud will have to serve her original sentence plus an extra year. As McCloud's doctor says that her heart will eventually give out, there's a chance this penalty could be a life sentence for the woman.

In January, Judge Francis Ricigliano let McCloud out of jail 15 months early so that she could get a life-saving heart transplant, reports the New York Post. But instead of using that time to extend her life, McCloud robbed drug stores.

No Jail for Bronx Woman in Dog Starving

Cherika Alvarez was evicted from her apartment and decided to leave her one-year-old pit bull in the apartment. The dog was found starved to death weeks later, and it was determined that the dog had survived at least six weeks by eating wood chips, razor blades, and ketchup packets in a desperate effort to stay alive. For the dog starving death, Alvarez was amazingly sentenced to only 20 days community service.

Prosecutors in the case had sought 30 days jail time for the Bronx woman following her conviction in August, reports the New York Daily News. But the judge apparently took to heart the dog killer's weepy apology and decided to be lenient on the woman, letting her off with no jail time. Though the judge did bar Alvarez from owning a pet for the next three years.

Barbara Sheehan: Self Defense in Killing Husband?

Raymond Sheehan was shaving when his wife allegedly shot him 11 times killing him. Now, Barbara Sheehan, a former school secretary, is claiming that she killed her husband in self-defense.

Barbara Sheehan says that she was the victim of years of domestic abuse at the hands of her husband, reports The New York Times. Some of his abusive acts include threatening to shoot her if she left the house without his permission, punching her in the face if they were driving in heavy traffic, and making her participate in strange sex acts. Her children are prepared to testify to the abusive nature of their father.

Crowell & Moring Attorney Arrested for Embezzlement

A Crowell & Moring attorney was arrested in Hong Kong for embezzling millions from a client. It looks like even the attorneys at the most elite law firms are not above theft.

Douglas Arntsen, an attorney with the white shoe law firm, was accused of stealing $2.5 million of Regal Real Estate’s money that the client had entrusted to the firm, reports the ABA Journal. Just a week ago, Arntsen told the firm that he was moving to a new job, and apparently moved to Hong Kong. But when he made this announcement, the client started to notice that money disappear from its $4 million in escrowed funds with the firm.

Long Island Home Invasion, 4 Arrests

Just as Dr. William Petit testified for the 2007 Connecticut home invasion that led to the rape and murder of his wife and two daughters, a Long Island home invasion occurred that was thankfully thwarted before things got really ugly.

In 2007, Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky broke into the wealthy suburban home of Dr. Petit. They struck Petit with a baseball bat as he slept and bound him in the home’s basement, reports the Los Angeles Times. The two men then raped and murdered Petit’s two daughters and wife. Hayes was convicted of the crimes and sentenced to death. Komisarjevsky is currently on trial and also faces the death penalty.

Denroy Morgan Arrested, Police Find 300 lbs. of Pot

Drug dealers should follow traffic and seat belt laws. Reggae artist Denroy Morgan was stopped after failing to stop at a stop sign. That created a sequence of events that led police to a home in the Bronx containing over 300 pounds of marijuana.

Morgan was pulled over after ignoring a stop sign in the Bronx, reports the New York Post. At the stop, police noticed a strong smell of marijuana coming from Morgan’s car. Police questioned the reggae artist, and Morgan admitted he had some pot in his trunk. There were two bags of the drug totaling 25 pounds in the trunk.

Mom in School Fight May Lose Child

The mom in school fight reportedly may lose her child as the Suffolk County Child Protective Services is investigating the incident for child abuse.

Earlier this week, we wrote that Daphne Melin drove her 12-year-old daughter to a Long Island school yard to fight her classmate. Apparently, the daughter was involved in drama at school over a boy. This caused some 13-year-olds to make comments about Melin's daughter on Facebook and also challenge the daughter to a fight. Fueled by the social media website, several children showed up at the school yard to gawk at the fight.

Facebook Fight Mom Daphne Melin Faces Charges

Parents are supposed to be the voice of reason. But that wasn't the case with one Facebook fight mom, who drove her daughter to a fight, egged it on, and then joined the fight.

Daphne Melin, a 32-year-old Suffolk County mom, drove her 12-year-old daughter to William Floyd Elementary School over the weekend to participate in a Facebook-induced fight, reports the New York Post.

HS Basketball Star Tayshana Murphy Murdered

High school basketball star Tayshana Murphy was murdered in a sad case of mistaken identity. Murphy was one of the city's top rated female players and was fatally shot by a thug in the Harlem projects where she lived.

A guard at Murry Bergtraum High School, Murphy, nicknamed "Chicken," was hanging out with family and friends outside the Grant Houses around four in the morning, reports the New York Post. Two men approached Murphy and mistakenly identified her as a male rival when they whipped out guns, chased her through the projects, and fatally shot her.

Lenny Dykstra Indecent Exposure, Pleads Not Guilty

Lenny Dykstra indecent exposure; the former New York Met has pleaded not guilty to two misdemeanor counts. If convicted, Dykstra could be sent to prison for six months and face a $1,000 fine.

Dykstra is accused of posting a classified ad on Craigslist in Los Angeles for a housekeeper or personal assistant, reports Reuters. However, when prospective employees arrived, Dykstra allegedly mentioned something about a massage and then would drop his clothes. Starting in 2009, at least six women say they were exposed to the "Dude" in all his glory while believing they were interviewing for a job.

Kathryn Erbe Stalker Gets 5 Years Probation

Charles Nagel, a television and movie memorabilia collector, was convicted of stalking “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” actress Kathryn Erbe. The Kathryn Erbe stalker will be on probation for the next five years and will have to pay $42,000 in restitution for frightening the actress.

Nagel is a self-proclaimed “Law & Order” aficionado who took his fan-dome way too far, reports the New York Post. Nagel’s obsession started off with wanting to strike a friendship with Erbe. Nagel reportedly sent messages to Erbe proclaiming to be her biggest fan. Nagel, who is from Philadelphia, even took his wife and children to New York to watch a filming of the TV show and had his photo taken with the actress.

Fake Bomb Threat To Get Electricity for Grandma?

A felony for the good of all? Rajiv Pandey dialed in a fake bomb threat to News 12 Long Island setting off a frantic search for an explosive at 30 Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) sites. Pandey says that he committed the felony to restore power to his grandmother’s home following the LIPA’s slow response to Hurricane Irene.

Pandey, a 33-year-old IT consultant from Central Islap, was fed up with the LIPA after the power company continually delayed restoring power to his grandmother’s home, reports the New York Daily News. Pandey says that his octogenarian grandma was dying from the heat, and every time Pandey called LIPA, he was hung up on.

Columbia Cartel Harrison David Begins Jail Term

The biggest catch from the undercover NYPD drug investigation at Columbia University will begin serving his three-and-a-half-month prison sentence this week. Twenty-year-old Harrison David pleaded guilty to a felony charge of dealing cocaine from his frat house last month and agreed to six months in jail at Rikers Island. However, the former student can be released after a little over three months for good behavior and time served.

The undercover police investigation conducted at the university revealed that several students, dubbed the “Columbia Cartel,” engaged in heavy drug dealing of marijuana, cocaine, and prescription medication, reports the New York Post. Five students were arrested, including David. David was accused of the most serious charges and he was the first to be sentenced. Charges are still pending against the remaining members of the cartel.