The New York Criminal Law Blog

November 2012 Archives

No Murders, Shootings, Stabbings, or Slashings for an Entire Day in NYC!

Perhaps Hurricane Sandy washed away all of the bullets and knives...

For the first time in recent memory (perhaps ever?), New York City had zero shootings, zero stabbings, and zero slashings for an entire day, reports the New York Daily News. Triple zeros have never looked so good. Of course, that doesn't mean the city was free of old fashioned fisticuffs, domestic violence, or rape, but hey, there were no murders!

Rabbi Weberman's Sex Abuse Trial Starts, Sans Sex Tape

The accuser was described as a curious and free-spirited 12-year-old when the alleged abuse began. In the Hasidic Jewish community, where questions about the proper length of a skirt could lead to mandatory counseling, she was bound to run into some trouble at her religious school and in the community.

According to The New York Times, that trouble led to mandatory counseling sessions with Rabbi Nechemya Weberman, 54, of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. What happened in those sessions is the disputed matter that led to eighty-eight sex abuse charges.

Things We're Thankful For: the Fourth Amendment

Can you imagine a world where the police can stop you for no reason, ask you invasive questions, and then pat you down? Well, some of you can. It’s called stop and frisk. But even that is hopefully coming to a close.

Why are we so fortunate? It’s the Fourth Amendment. This glorious snippet of text, which bars unreasonable search and seizure, has been interpreted to mean that a police officer needs a reasonable reason to suspect that you are engaging in criminal behavior before they can do the old “grope and tickle.”

Pedro Hernandez's Attorney Will Fight to Have Confessions Tossed

The chess game continues. Yesterday, the District Attorney’s office put Etan Patz’s alleged killer, Pedro Hernandez, in check. He was indicted for the decades-old murder, largely on the basis of the four confessions that he made to authorities earlier this year. Yesterday, Hernandez made his first appearance in court and his legal team shed some light on the planned defense.

His attorney, Harvey Fishbein, first conceded that Hernandez was competent to stand trial. Hernandez then entered a plea of not guilty, reports the New York Times. Once the hearing ended, and Fishbein exited the courthouse, the real games began.

Hernandez Indicted for Etan Patz Murder Despite Lack of Evidence

Time's up. When a defendant is arrested for a crime in New York, he must be indicted within a few days or released. However, if the parties agree to an extension, the defendant can be held longer, and the indictment delayed, while the accusations and evidence is sorted through.

The deadline for indicting Pedro Hernandez, after multiple extensions, was today. Yesterday morning, he was indicted by a grand jury, reports the New York Post. We still can't help but wonder if they have the wrong guy.

'Cannibal Cop' Stays Jailed; Grounds for Denying Bail

Gilberto Valle is a terrifying individual. If you’ve missed his back story, he was dubbed the “Cannibal Cop” after his plans to kill and cook a list of 100 women were discovered by his wife, who turned him in after fleeing with their newborn infant.

At one point, on an instant message with an unindicted coconspirator (perhaps an FBI informant?), he discussed his plan to cook a woman slowly while keeping her alive. He also agreed to kidnap a second woman for a man that planned to rape and murder the victim.

Not surprisingly, after hearing about Valle’s extracurricular activities, a judge decided that he was a bit too dangerous to be released on bail, reports the New York Daily News.

UPDATES: Looting Okay, Maybe; Pizza Delivery Rapist Indicted

Our stellar news and information often leaves our readers wanting more. It’s understandable. Many times, you’ll read a post and wonder “what happened next?”

Well friends, today is the day for those updates.

It’s cold outside. Many in Gotham have no electricity or heat. We reported earlier this week that looting had already begun before the waters had drained from the streets. It’s generally understood that looting is illegal and immoral. But, are there cases where it is legally perfectly acceptable?

Men Are Pigs: Gas Shortage Leads to Offers to 'Fill Your Tank'

The storms came with a fury. Buildings were leveled, looters raided flooded pharmacies, and Breezy Point burned down. Gas shortages resulted in miles-long lines of people desperate to power their generators to survive the cold of an inbound Nor'easter.

Through storms and sunshine, one constant that we can depend on is that men will take advantage of any situation. Enter craigslist. Buzzfeed shares the ads of 13 people attempting to exchange gas for sexual favors. One man offers to generously "fill your tank." Others mention that they own the gas station. 

As I Lay Dying: Former St. John's Dean Fingered By Dying Husband?

Cecilia Chang, the former dean of St. John's University, may have been involved in more than alleged indentured servitude - she may have been behind the murder of her husband, reports the New York Daily News. Chang has recently made headlines for forcing St. John's students to work as servants in her home in exchange for scholarships and allegedly embezzling more than $1 million from the university.

In 1990, Chang's husband Ruey Fung Tsai, known as Johnson, was shot execution style by an unidentified Asian male. Shortly before his death in the hospital, he reportedly wrote on a piece of paper, "My wife did this."

Twelve years later, the murder remains unsolved. In the movies, a dying declaration guarantees a conviction. So what's the problem?

Troubled Teen's Suicide Followed Sex Tape, Bullying

When the train arrived, Felicia Garcia, 15, said, "Finally, it's here" before she fell backwards off of the platform at the Staten Island Railway station in Huguenot. The taunts, bullying, and constant harassment over the previous weekend's mistake had become too much.

To understand why Felicia ended her life, one must go beyond the previous weekend. Both Felicia and her brother were orphaned at a young age. She ran away from her aunt's house with an older man before bouncing around the foster system. She finally found a stable foster home and her life stabilized when she enrolled at Tottenville High School, reports the New York Times.