The New York Criminal Law Blog

August 2012 Archives

Gangster Granny Admits Role in Million Dollar Drug Ring

Would this make a better movie than Frank Lucas’ tale? A local grandmother, Doris ‘Mama Dot’ Smith, admitted in court to her role in a family-run drug ring that did over a million dollars per year in business, reports the Daily News. The 72-year-old was caught on wiretaps warning her son-in-law Lamont Moultrie, 42, about the cops’ presence and advising him on how to best escape the building.

Mama Dot was the co-op board president of her apartment building, which gave her access to a vacant unit, as well as the basement, to use for storing and preparing drugs for sale. The family allegedly stored baggies of heroin and crack in the basement. They used the spare apartment as a facility for dipping spearmint leaves in PCP, which were then sold for $10 apiece.

Mama's Boy Bigot Faces Hate Crime for Alleged Fork Stabbing

Nicholas Melo, 34, was on his way to a job interview when he was pulled over. According to the New York Post, the police stopped him for making an illegal U-turn, talking on a cell phone while driving, and then discovered that his license was suspended.

It also turned out that he was wanted for a hate crime that he allegedly committed in November of last year. He tried to avoid the arrest by telling the officer that he was on the way to a job interview that his mom had set up. Instead, he was cuffed and brought in for a line-up that reportedly identified him as the attacker.

State Senator Shirley Huntley Faces Felony Charges for Corruption

She should've seen this coming. Late last year, four associates of Queens State Senator Shirley Huntley were indicted for swiping $30,000 worth of state aid from a nonprofit meant to help parents navigate the inner workings of New York City's school system. According to The New York Times, one of those charged with the theft worked on Huntley's staff. Another lived at Huntley's residence.

The nonprofit that prosecutors say never helped a soul, Parents Workshop, was set up by Huntley. Funding came from earmarks funneled by her from the state's member item fund. Despite the ties to the alleged criminal enterprise and perpetrators, State Senator Huntley was not charged back in December.

Thug Wearing Charlie Sheen Shirt Punches, Robs 79-Year-Old

We'll give him this: what he lacks in human decency, he makes up for in wardrobe. An unidentified man, estimated at 5-foot-7 and 170 pounds, is wanted by Brooklyn cops after he allegedly assaulted and robbed a senior citizen, reports the New York Daily News.

The 79-year-old man was waiting for the C train when he was punched in the face. The assailant then nabbed the victim's wallet and took off.

Man Gropes Sleeping Woman on a Plane, Says She Started It

Note to self: unless you are in the mood for the gentle touch of a stranger, do not fall asleep on a plane.

It seems like just last month that we were discussing the case of a man that awoke to find another man’s hand reaching up his shorts and touching his genitals.

Oh wait. It was.

In a case of déjà vu that only differs in the gender of the victim, a man was arrested for sexually assaulting a woman sleeping in the seat next to him on a United Airlines flight from Phoenix to Newark, reports NBC New York.

Rounders: Fed Judge Rules Poker is a Skill, Not Gambling

A Federal Judge has finally verified what Matt Damon's character argued back in 1998, reports The Associated Press.

"Why does this still seem like gambling to you? I mean, why do you think the same five guys make it to the final table of the World Series of Poker every single year? What, are they the luckiest guys in Las Vegas? It's a skill game, Jo."

Judge Jack Weinstein overturned a conviction for a New Jersey man that had been running card games in Staten Island. Lawrence Dicristina faced a lengthy sentence after a jury convicted him of running an illegal gambling operation under the 1970 Illegal Gambling Business Act. Judge Weinstein overruled the jury, as he reasoned that Texas Hold 'Em was more skill than chance.

Matt Damon, a.k.a. Mike McDermott was wise beyond his years.

Magnan's Alleged Crime Spree Leaves One Dead, Multiple Wounded

Ninteen-year-old Michael Magnan is has been charged with one attempted murder charge ... so far. Once the evidence is processed, he could be facing dozens more. Magnan allegedly went on a shooting spree across multiple venues early Saturday morning. The motive for much of the violence seems to have been robbery, reports the Daily News.

The shooting began at a house party in Queens. An unidentified gunman, presumed to be Magnan, approached 10 people gathered on a porch on E. 54th St. He fired one shot, paused, and then let loose with more bullets. One victim was shot in the stomach and thigh. Three others were also wounded. All are expected to survive.

Rule's 2 Da game of Hoez!!!: Long Island Prostitution Ring Busted

Every man has to live by a certain set of principles. For 50 Cent, his rules were outlined in the pre-fame track “I’m a Hustler.” For the Notorious B.I.G., his “Ten Crack Commandments” guided both drug dealers through the business of retail sales of illicit drugs and many children through junior high school.

For Steven Mcdaniel and his accomplice, Sandra Russell, the “Rule’s 2 Da Game of Hoez!!!” was their mantra, reports the Port Jefferson Patch. These ten rules, prescribed by Mr. Mcdaniel while in a jail cell, and passed along to his disciple, Ms. Russell, outline the ten most basic things one should know when supervising a stable of strumpets.

Man's Naivete, Blunder Allow Thieves to Steal Maserati

It was bright and early on a typical Manhattan morning when Chadwick Lange (with a name like that, you know he’s got a Maserati) spotted a friend in Times Square. Lange was apparently so excited to see this friend that he pulled over and left his 2008 black Maserati GranTurismo running.

According to the Daily News, a pair of gawkers approached the vehicle and asked to take pictures with the car. Lange consented. Seconds later, one of the men took off in the vehicle. He stopped down the block, long enough for his friend to join him. The devious duo then fled the scene in perhaps the world’s greatest automobile.

Yes, Chadwick just lost his Maserati.

Guy Breaches $100 Mill JFK Security, Charged With Trespassing

Barbed wire fence? No problem. Motion detectors? You can't detect a ninja! Surveillance cameras? Please. He's too fast to be seen by an ordinary camera.

Daniel Casillo, 31, was having an evening most gentlemen would enjoy, at least at first. He had a few drinks with friends and then they all decided to race jet skis. So far, so good, right? Unfortunately, his jet ski broke down in the middle of Jamaica Bay at around 7:45pm. His friends had already left him in the dust. He was sitting on a slowly sinking, disabled watercraft, reports the New York Post.

Levi Aron Takes Plea Deal for Murder of 8-Year-Old Leiby Kletzky

Levi Aron, 36, will be sentenced to 40 years to life for the kidnapping and murder of 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky, reports the New York Times. The plea bargain was offered by the Brooklyn District Attorney's office at the victim's family's request. Aron had previously faced a life sentence.

On July 11, 2011, Leiby walked home alone from day camp for the first time. His parents had previously walked him home and practiced the route. Leiby made a wrong turn and asked Aron for help. According to the Times, Aron told police that he promised to help the young boy find his way home.

Geek Stalks his Stolen Laptop; Watches Dude Watch Porn

Tell me who's watching
Who's watching me?

The lyrics of "Somebody's Watching Me" have never been more apt than now, when Big Brother can see anything and everything we do. A local construction worker found that out the hard way when the true owner of his street-purchased laptop accessed the web cam and watched him watch porn, reports the New York Post.

I always feel like somebody's watching me
And I have no privacy...

NYPD Subpoenas Twitter For Identity of Aurora Copycat Threat

The NYPD is on alert after a Twitter user made numerous threats to shoot up the Longacre Theatre, where the Mike Tyson/Spike Lee show is currently being performed. The tweets made reference to the Aurora, Colorado "Dark Knight Rises" shooting, reports NBC New York.

In addition to dispatching officers to secure the theatre, the NYPD is also trying to determine the identity of the Twitter threat-maker. They made an emergency request to Twitter for identity of the user, but that request was denied, as the threat was not deemed to fall within Twitter's emergency disclosure guidelines.

The NYPD is thinking credible threat; Twitter is thinking terrible troll.

Mt. Sinai Urologist Could Face More Charges

It takes a pretty unusual occurrence to attract the attention of the entire City of New York. Last week, the eyes of New York were focused on a prestigious Mount Sinai physician, who was caught using a pen camera to allegedly film up the skirt of a woman on the subway.

According to CBS, Dr. Adam Levinson, who trained at Berkeley, Georgetown and New York Medical College, and who has multiple awards and publications to his name, might now be facing multiple felony charges for the peeping-tom photography.

What a waste of decades of education and accomplishment.

NYPD Off-Duty Cop Arrested for Raping Ex-Girlfriend

Officer Arthur Roldan, a 28-year-old NYPD Officer, is out on $20,000 bail after being charged with raping his ex-girlfriend at gunpoint, reports the New York Daily News. He was arrested on Wednesday night and charged with rape, menacing, and assault.

Roldan and the victim reportedly met up on Staten Island on Tuesday weeks after the couple ended their relationship. According to authorities, the victim got into the NYPD cop’s car, where he sexually assaulted her at gunpoint. He also allegedly held a knife to her face and struck her in the face with a closed fist.

Sleeping Man Gets Unwanted Package Inspection by Seatmate

A very unique individual, 29-year-old Othniel Polanco, was arrested upon his arrival at JFK for his behavior on JetBlue's Dominican Republic-originating flight. Was he arrested for causing a disturbance? Kinda. Did he attack a flight crew member? Not exactly.

Polanco was arrested for groping the genitals of the slumbering man seated next to him on the plane, reports the New York Daily News.