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Nassau County Criminal Defense Lawyers
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Nassau County Criminal Law Blog

Staten Island woman accused of leaving son at playground

Sometimes, a crime story in the media is so sensational, that the first instinct for many readers is that authorities should automatically lock up the suspect and throw away the key. Certain crimes appear to be so terrible, at least on the surface, that it may seem unfair for the defendant to be accorded due process rights.

But New York’s criminal justice system could not make any claims of fairness if it treated those accused of particularly disturbing behavior differently than others. Either justice works the same way for everybody who is arrested, or it doesn’t work at all. Every defendant is entitled to a fair trial.

New York judge cites double jeopardy in dismissing fraud charge

Readers may have heard the term “double jeopardy” before. In the legal world, the double jeopardy protection means that one cannot be tried for the same crime twice, with certain exceptions. It is a rule that protects people from having to repeatedly defend themselves from criminal charges based on the same accusations.

A New York woman serving eight months in jail for fraud will not face charges in the Bronx based on the same case, after a judge dismissed the indictment against her. The judge found that the crime with which she was charged in Supreme Court was not substantially different than the one she pleaded guilty to in a federal case.

Woman says New York man was true drug dealer

Sometimes, a person is charged with a drug offense when he or she is completely innocent. In other cases, the person is guilty of a relatively minor crime like misdemeanor possession, but prosecutors charge them with a more serious felony, like distribution. This raises the stakes of the outcome of the case, because it raises the possibility of harsher penalties.

A woman who had a New York man living in her home says that he was the one selling drugs, not her. Nevertheless, police arrested the woman earlier this year on suspicion of possession with intent to distribute.

Criminal prosecutions based on hip-hop lyrics on the rise

Many people believe that art is a reflection of the human experience, without necessarily being a literal interpretation of it. But can art also be used as evidence in a criminal investigation into the artist? How reliable would such evidence be, given how subjective and prone to exaggeration art often is?

Police and prosecutors in many states are increasingly using lyrics from hip-hop songs as evidence in felony criminal charges against the composers. Though only about three dozen criminal cases have relied in large part on rap lyrics, it appears to be a growing trend, raising questions of free expression and the nature of rap.

New York man to be freed 25 years after wrongful conviction

On March 31, we shared a story of a wrongful conviction being overturned after the defendant spent seven years in prison for a crime she did not commit. Unfortunately, the criminal justice system puts more innocent people behind bars than some would like to admit. Sometimes, people spend decades unjustly locked up, as in the case of a New York man who is expected to be set free on or around April 8 after nearly 25 years in prison.

The man was convicted in 1989 of shooting another man outside a Brooklyn housing project. The investigation was conducted by police at a precinct that at the time employed a-now notorious detective. Dozens of the cases he worked in his career have since been reopened due to questions about his methods. The detective did not work on this case, but it is possible that his methods were used by other detectives at the precinct.

Long Island man charged with being head of oxycodone conspiracy

A Long Island man is being held without bail after being charged with operating a multi-state oxycodone ring. The charges against him include conspiracy to distribute, which could mean more than 20 in prison if he is convicted.

The man pleaded not guilty at his recent arraignment. Prosecutors largely base their claims against him on an investigation by agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration. They accuse the defendant, 46, of leading a ring that used doctors’ prescription pads to forge prescriptions for oxycodone. Once the fake prescriptions were filled, the pills were sold along the East Coast, according to the charges.

New York women exonerated, 7 years after false felony convictions

The unfortunate reality is, innocent people sometimes go to prison in New York. Our criminal justice system was established, at least in part, on the principle that nobody should be incarcerated for a crime he or she did not commit. But as cases like the following prove, that system is far from perfect.

A woman was riding the subway with a friend when they were detained by police, allegedly for playing music too loudly. It turned out that the friend was wanted for questioning in connection with a home invasion, in which the resident was shot in the chest and stomach.

Ronkonkoma woman arrested after call-in from off-duty officer

Witness testimony is a factor in many criminal cases. People claim to have seen something that was allegedly illegal, and prosecutors use witness statements to bring charges against a defendant. One problem with witness testimony is that it isn't always reliable. Among other factors, people's preconceived notions tend to affect their ability to accurately assess particular situations.

With these issues in mind, let's consider the recent arrest of a woman from Ronkonkoma. The outcome of her case remains to be seen, but the circumstances of her arrest remind us of important questions that need to be asked in the defense of anyone accused of a crime.

Long Island brothers plead not guilty to knockoff brand charges

A pair of brothers who live on Long Island are facing serious trademark counterfeiting charges after police raided several storage facilities belonging to their business. Authorities accuse the men of putting brand names on baby oil, sanitary pads and cold medicine, and selling the items to retail stores as if they were genuine.

There was a fire at one of the defendants’ facilities in 2013 that required the attention of firefighters. The firefighters, suspecting that the products in the warehouse were counterfeit, reported to the Nassau County Fire Marshals, which contacted several medical products companies, such as Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer.

Athletes not more prone to commit weapons crimes than average

We discussed New York Knicks’ player Raymond Felton’s recent arrest on weapons charges in our Feb. 25 blog post. To provide a brief recap, Felton turned himself in after police received a report that he was in illegal possession of a firearm. Felton had registered the gun in another state, but allegedly had not done so in New York. In New York, possessing a gun that is not registered in the state can be a felony; the state has some of the toughest gun laws in the country.

Incidents like this one create the impression in the minds of many New Yorkers, sports fans and non-fans alike, that professional athletes are dangerous. Because these arrests tend to make headlines, it may seem like professional football, basketball, hockey and baseball players are more likely than society at large to get into trouble involving guns.