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New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers - NYSACDL

New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers - NYSACDL
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“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.”

— Harper Lee  To Kill a Mockingbird

Member Successes

NYSACDL Board Member Wayne Bodden Successful in obtaining relief for prostitution convictions for victim of sex trafficking.

July 12, 2011 – In a decision issued yesterday, a New York  County Court has vacated the prostitution convictions of a defendant under the 2010 amendments to CPL 440.10 which allow for the vacating prostitution convictions where the defendant can show she was the victim of sex trafficking.  As demonstrated in this recent decision, the new law can be a powerful aid to those whose circumstances (youth, lack of education, poverty, immigration status to name a few) leave them vulnerable to abuse and enslavement as prostitutes.  Here, the defendant was a Brazilian immigrant who over stayed a tourist visa.  As her immigration status became murky, she was blackmailed into becoming a prostitute in order to avoid being reported to INS and deported.  NYSACDL board member Wayne Bodden represented the defendant and is commended for his excellent work – 87 convictions vacated and charges dismissed. People v. Gonzalez

NYSACDL First Vice President Benjamin Ostrer Succeeds in Getting Saratoga Murder Conviction Vacated

On June 27, 2011, NYSACDL First Vice President Benjamin Ostrer received a decision vacating a 20 – life sentence in a conviction obtained over 10 years ago.  The conviction was based on evidence falsified by Gary Veeder at the New York State Police Lab.  Veeder, who had passed ASCLAD Certifications at least twice, committed suicide after the falsifications came to light.  Ben’s dedication and efforts over the years in litigating the case and pursuing justice are to be commended.  People v. Seeber,  Ind. M 083-2000, M 160-2000v, Scarano, J., Saratoga County

Michael Arbeit finishes the Long Island Marathon in 3:05:19

Congratulations to Michael Arbeit for a race well run and an awesome time – good enough for 17th overall and second in his division!  Mike was featured recently in Runner’s World Extreme Makeover: Running Edition because although his suits are bespoke, he ran in old sweats with tube socks for gloves.  Run Like an Antelope.  And keep up the good work defending the accused.

Past President Craig Schlanger Moves to Mental Hygiene Legal Services

Craig Schlanger, 2009 NYSACDL Past President, has accepted a position as a Senior Attorney with Mental Hygiene Legal Service (MHLS), Fourth Judicial Department, effective April 14, 2011. Craig will turn his outstanding advocacy skills to the representation of individuals who find themselves embroiled in the mental hygiene system upon findings of incapacity or lack of responsibility, or upon conviction for sex offenses or confronting possible civil commitment under SOMTA.   NYSACDL wishes you  the greatest success in your new pursuit.

NYSACDL Vice President Andre Vitale Obtains No True Bill for Defendant in First Degree Rape Case

April 1, 2011: Andre Vitale, Special Assistant Public Defender and NVFO Supervisor in the Monroe County Public Defender’s Office, had his client testify before a grand jury this week on a first degree rape charge resulting in a No True Bill.  Congratulations on a job well done!

NYSACDL Vice President Michael Shapiro succeeds in exonerating rabbi of charges

In March 2010, a rabbi living in Phoenix was arrested, extradited to New York, and charged with unlawful conduct with a minor, the friend of his then seven year old daughter.  The arrest for the conduct, alleged to have occurred 10 years earlier, in 2000, was widely reported in the media.  Evidence and information compiled through thorough defense investigation and a successful polygraph by one of the nation’s foremost polygraphers was presented to the District Attorney who dismissed the charges.  Michael Shapiro of the firm Carter Ledyard & Milburn LLP spearheaded the defense and ensured that his client’s name was cleared by seeing that the dismissal of charges was as widely publicized as the arrest and false accusations.

Daniel Parker obtains an acquittal in Manhattan:

Not Guilty Murder 2, Man 1, CPW 3 w/intent; guilty of Criminal Possession of a Weapon outside the home or place of business, a charge which Danny conceded in voir dire, opening and summation.  Congratulations!  The Defendant who claimed he was being robbed, shot the deceased once with a 357 magnum in front of the Westin hotel on 43rd Street off 8th Avenue in Manhattan at 5:20 a.m.  Most of incident captured on hotel security video but not the critical moments right before shooting. Two eyewitnesses called by the People did not see any robbery or confrontation though the video shows deceased acting aggressively. Defendant fled the scene and was arrested the next day.  The gun was recovered. Defendant testified in his own behalf admitting to the shooting with an illegally possessed gun.  Lots of cross examination was based on consultation with various experts including ballistics, toxicology, and accuracy of digital video. The jury got case Monday afternoon (January 31) and returned the not guilty verdict Tuesday @ noon.

 

Congratulations Manny Ortega for an acquittal on first and second degree kidnapping

In a case tried in Richmond County Supreme Court before Justice Stephen Rooney, former NYSACDL board member Manny Ortega obtained not guilty verdicts on two counts of kidnapping, first and second degrees.  The defendant and a female co-defendant allegedly kidnapped a lady over a debt owed to victim’s husband.  The victim was found bound and gagged in the rear of a car.  The co-defendant gave 4 page statement admitting aspects of the crime but not naming Manny’s client who himself made no admissions.    Initially, the victim named the co-defendant as having done everything but later changed to implicate Manny’s client.  The arresting officer was shown to have lied both in the criminal court complaint and in his grand jury testimony placing Manny’s client inside the car at the time of arrest when he was actually arrested on the street and down the block.  In acquitting on the top counts, the jury did not believe the arresting officer or the victim about Ortega’s participation.  The client did testify at trial.  He was convicted of possession of a gun in a car (connection established through the defendant’s DNA) and faces 3 1/2 to 15 range which is far less than the 25-life he would have faced if convicted on the top count.

The co-defendant, represented by Greg Clarke, also a former NYSACDL board member, Secretary, and CLE Chair was granted a severance and will be tried later this year.

 

NYSACDL congratulates Vice President Ben Ostrer on his recent acquittal.

Ben’s client, 23 year old Jill Giunta, was charged with illegally leaking information she had obtained while serving on a special grand jury to a target of the narcotics conspiracy which the grand jury was investigating.  The jury deliberated for 8 hours after the two week trial returning not guilty verdicts on all counts.  The case was prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force.  The case was tried in December, 2010 in Orange County.

 

NYSACDL Congratulates Jill Paperno on being awarded the Jeffrey A. Jacobs Memorial Award.

The Jeffrey A. Jacobs Award was established in 2010 by the Monroe County Public Defender’s Office and was bestowed on Jill Paperno,  Second Assistant Public Defender with the Office in recognition of her outstanding trial work.  During her 22 year tenure with the Office, Ms. Paperno has tried numerous cases including violent felonies, murders, and sex offense.  She supervises felony staff attorneys, has participated in developing training programs and serves as a CLE lecturer.     The Award was established in honor of Jeffrey Jacobs, who tried over 100 felony cases during his career with the Monroe County Public Defender’s Office.  Mr. Jacobs died of brain cancer in November 2006.   The Award was presented at the Monroe County PD’s Defense Community Dinner on December 3, 2010 which was held in conjunction with the Defending Against DNA and Other Scientific Evidence which NYSACDL and the Monroe County PD’s Office sponsored at SUNY Brockport.

 

We invite members to share their success.

Not only do our victories deserve to be acknowledged and celebrated, we can all learn from them.  No success is too small to notice, whether it is overcoming the presumption for detention to obtain pre-trial release of a federal defendant, winning a suppression motion, an acquittal, a reversal on appeal, or negotiating a favorable plea under seemingly impossible circumstances, pass on the news of work well done and a client well represented.  Contact Executive Director Jennifer Van Ort: jlvanort@nysacdl.org.