The New York Criminal Law Blog

January 2013 Archives

What Is First Degree Murder in New York?

Murder is the intentional killing of another. But it's not always so simple. The thing with murder and manslaughter is that there are multiple degrees and different types of killing.

The basic definition of murder is the unlawful killing of another with what lawyers call "malice aforethought." That term refers to the level of intent, which requires some degree of premeditation. By that, it doesn't necessarily mean that the murder was planned out. It just means that the murder was deliberate, or the product of a certain degree of recklessness.

At the highest level, a first degree murder charge is as bad as it gets. It's typically a murder with the highest level of intent and possibly other unfavorable circumstances.

Here's a look at first degree murder in New York:

The Status of the Legalization of Marijuana in New York

In his 2013 State of the State address, Gov. Andrew Cuomo talked about cannabis legislation, suggesting that perhaps it was time to loosen the laws a bit in New York.

But that won't be an easy step for the governor. New York has some stringent marijuana laws on the books. Since 1977, marijuana possession has been a misdemeanor in New York, subjecting offenders to a fine if the drug is not in public view.

That being said, possession of amounts under 25 grams won't typically amount to a criminal possession, but still falls under the "unlawful" category. It's a civil offense. Possession of up to 25 grams (0.88 ounces) is punishable by a fine of $100 for a first-time offender.

Our Readers' 10 Most-Read NY Crime Posts of 2012 (Part II of II)

Sex and murder. Though these two cardinal sins had a respectable showing in the Top 5 most-read posts of 2012, they make up the entire bottom half of that list.

We finish our review of our Top 10 crime stories of 2012 by looking at what you, our readers, read most:

Our Readers' 10 Most-Read NY Crime Posts of 2012 (Part I of II)

2012 was, in many ways, a banner year for New York crime. The murder rate hit record lows, including a homicide-free day, while iPhones and other expensive personal electronics were heisted in increasingly high numbers. What remained constant, however, is that New York has some of the most unique criminals out there. For fans of oddball cases, they need look no further than the Empire City.

Here are our the 10 most trafficked posts of 2012:

Cannibal Cop's Accomplice Arrested: He's Even More Depraved

We were wondering when Giberto Valle's accomplices would be identified. When the alleged NYPD "Cannibal Cop" was arrested, the FBI affidavit listed two co-conspirators. With one unidentified person, Valle allegedly discussed recipes for homemade chloroform and cooking a woman over a rotisserie-like device. With the other, he allegedly conspired to kidnap a woman and deliver her for the purposes of sexual assault.

Meet the alleged co-conspirator: Michael Van Hise. He was arrested last week and charged Monday with plotting a kidnapping, reports the New York Daily News.

Sounds ... almost normal in comparison to Valle, right?

Tracing the Steps of the Terrorist 'Hippy' Couple

Ahem, alleged terrorist hippies.

And "hippy" is not our descriptor, but the words of a neighbor who spoke to the Gothamist. He described Morgan Gliedman, 27, as "very friendly, very nice" and her boyfriend Aaron Greene, 31, as "kind of cold, not the type of person who encouraged politeness." The two hippies, who were expecting a child, were arrested after police discovered explosives and a sawed-off shotgun in their apartment, along with a bit of reading material labeled, "The Terrorist Encyclopedia."

Whoops. Greene was indicted today on multiple felony weapons charges. Gliedman will probably be arraigned later, as she gave birth to a baby girl at St. Luke's Hospital earlier this week, reports the New York Post. In hopes that lessons can be learned from their mistakes, let's retrace the steps that brought them here.