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Raiser & Kenniff Files Lawsuit Against Nassau District Attorney

The Nassau County Sheriff has been slipping the DA’s office attorney-client privileged jailhouse phone calls — which prosecutors then unconstitutionally use to build their cases against the suspects, a new lawsuit charges.

Sheriff Michael Sposato is supposed to turn off the recording equipment at the Nassau County Correctional Facility during a privileged call between lawyer and client, the suit says.

Instead, the officers at the facility routinely tape the phone calls, which are then handed over to prosecutors without any subpoenas, the suit says.

Defense attorney Steven Raiser filed the suit on Monday against the DA and sheriff, saying that on at least one occasion a prosecutor tried to get a call with his client admitted into evidence, but it was shot down by a judge.

Raiser said the DA Kathleen Rice — a Congressional hopeful this year — has left defense attorneys completely in the dark when her office has the tapes, which can affect plea bargains.

“Maybe she doesn’t like something she heard on the recording and decided to offer him 4 years instead of 2,” Raiser said.

The privileged communications could also prompt Rice to investigate new charges against a defendant.

“A defendant may tell his attorney in confidence something and Rice could potentially use that information to launch a new investigation,” Raiser said.

Rice could also target a defense attorney’s witness list.

In April 2013, Raiser became aware of the problem while defending a client charged with tampering with a witness at a bench trial. The defendant was eventually acquitted.

“An assistant district attorney for the Nassau DA indicated, on the record, that she was in possession of recorded conversations between the client and Raiser’s office,” court papers state.

The ADA actually offered the recordings as evidence, but Raiser objected and the judge sided with him based on lack of proper authentication. The underlying issue of attorney client communications was never addressed.

Raiser, whose the president of the Nassau County Criminal Courts Bar Association, sent a letter to Rice expressing his concerns.

In a 2013 response to Raiser, Rice offered no solutions to the problem of having the chief prosecutor review the communications to determine which ones are privileged and which ones are not, the papers say.

“The response clearly indicated, not only would the DA continue to collect such communications, but would continue to use privileged communications contained therein as the Nassau DA’s office unilaterally deemed fit,” the papers say.

A Nassau County DA spokesman responded to the suit by citing the 2013 letter Rice sent to Raiser, insisting that prosecutors do not listen to jailhouse recordings of privileged phone calls.

What Not To Do After An Arrest

A suspect’s behavior during the arrest can have a lasting impact on his or her case, and it could mean the difference between a conviction and an acquittal. The process of being arrested is often jarring and can cause anxiety. It’s important to keep calm and remember to follow three rules, which are listed below.

1. Don’t Make Matters Worse

It’s easy to become upset during the arrest process—especially if you feel the charges are unfair, or you’ve been mistreated by police. However, an outburst will only make the situation worse and could lead to additional charges.

2. Don’t Try to Talk Your Way out of an Arrest

Many people try to negotiate or plead with police officers, but in most cases, this type of behavior won’t do you any good. It’s not officers’ jobs to determine whether or not you are guilty; all they are looking for is probable cause that you committed a crime. If they are putting handcuffs on you, it means they believe they have it, and nothing you say can change their minds.

3. Ask to Speak With a Lawyer

You never know what might incriminate you. It doesn’t matter whether you are innocent or not, because during an interrogation, investigators may be trying to get you to make a mistake and give them evidence they need to support the charges.

How Long Does A Criminal Record Last?

Criminal records can be hard to overcome. Whether the conviction is a felony or a misdemeanor, it has the potential to negatively impact the individual’s life for the rest of their life. However, there are some exceptions to that rule.

Under The Age Of 18

If the individual was under the age of 18 when he or she was convicted of a crime, those records are sealed, meaning only law enforcement will have access to the record. Employers and other individuals performing background checks will not receive the information, and it will not be available to the general public.

Sealing Or Expunging Adult Crimes

Unless the criminal record is legally sealed or expunged, there is no escaping it. Luckily, individuals who have been convicted of a crime and spent a number of years with the conviction on their record may be eligible to have the record sealed or expunged. A sealed adult record works the same way as a sealed juvenile record. Only law enforcement will be able to see the data.

Expungement, however, is the complete removal of the criminal record. To facilitate this process, the individual must petition the courts and request the record be expunged. The process differs from state to state. In general , the individual will have to obtain an Expungement form from their state’s Department of Corrections and fill out that form, and some states offer qualification worksheets so that qualification can be determined prior to applying.

To qualify and apply for an expungement, the individual will need their case number, arrest date, the name of the arresting law enforcement agency, filed charges, outcome and completion date. If the person was convicted of more than one crime, they will need the information from each conviction. Once filed, the expungement will either be granted or denied.

If denied some states offer an appeal process, and other require the individual to wait a specific number of years before they apply again, and in general, the new application must contain different crimes than the first form.

14% of all crime in New York City is tied to iPhones

The iPhone has been around for many years, one would think that most people have simply “had their fill,” of it. But this is not so, it appears that demand for this smartphone is only increasing. Recent statistics, suggest that 14% of all crime in New York City, is tied to iPhone theft.

It’s scary, when you think about it, that 14% of all crimes, would drop, if iPhones no longer existed!

iPhones are so popular, that organized criminal gangs go out of their way in order to steal them, and resell them. It appears that even the NYPD has taken notice: it has recently started partnering up with pawn shops to track each iPhone they buy.

The NYPD announced that there were 16,000 Apple-products-related thefts, in 2012. 45 percent of all 2013 robberies in NYC involved cell phones. More than half involved iPhones. Depending on whether or not the victim decides to fight back, the theft, can escalate to more harsh crimes, such as assault, or even murder.

If you’d like to read more about this, feel free to visit an article posted on Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/26/new-york-city-murder-rate-2012-nypd-homicides-historic-low_n_2366852.html

Google Glass Used In Personal Injury Lawsuits

The Google Glass has literally changed the way we look at technology. With “wearables,” being more and more prevalent, whether it be the Android watch, or Google Glass, it’s becoming clear people are finding more and more creative uses. We never thought we’d be writing this blog post, but it seems the legal system is getting a “tech” upgrade, above and beyond what anyone could predict.

The law firm of Fennemore Craig, a personal injury law firm from Phoenix, is letting clients communicate with their lawyers via Glass. Clients are able to document, via the Google glass, how their injuries impact their daily lives. Fennemore Craig hopes that this documentation, via Google Glass, will act as evidence. Fennemore Craig received the Google Glass units as a part of the Explorer Program.

It’s fascinating that something which was a novelty item, is now going to be potentially alter the way juries hear/see evidence. If the recordings from Google Glass are admitted into court as evidence, it redefines the future of litigation.

 “Jurors will now be able to see the nuances of a victim’s daily challenges firsthand,” Goodnow said.


Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Gov. Chris Christie could be held criminally liable for the death of a 91-year-old woman

Gov. Chris Christie could be held criminally liable for the death of a 91-year-old woman, who was a victim of the closure of two lanes on the George Washington Bridge in 2013, this coming from Lawyer and Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz. Professor Dershowitz appeared on CNN, Thursday, where he insisted prosecutors could hold Christie liable for “willful negligence.” In addition, he recommended that he be prosecuted in New York, due to the governor’s history of taking revenge.

Professor Dershowitz, had this to say, “The people who originated the traffic jams and approved them are guilty and probably guilty of crimes,” Dershowitz asserted. “Their actions led directly to very significant harms, particularly if they can demonstrate that the woman died as a result of the traffic jam.”

There is a paper trail connecting staff members, who were aware of the traffic jam, and let it transpire. The plan was crafted and executed by members of Christie’s inner circle, and also Port Authority employees. Professor Dershowitz argues that those who are culpable may “save themselves,” and seek a deal with prosecutors in exchange for testimony implicating Christie. Implication could arise from something as vague as creating the atmosphere in which staffers presumed that the governor would approve of revenge against the mayor of Fort Lee.

“There is a concept known as willful blindness,” he continued. “It depends on the evidence and whether the two people he fired decide to get revenge and say, ‘Wait a minute, we are not taking the fall for this whole thing.’”

Here are some great links to other article surrounding this controversy.





Court Weighs Severity of Impersonation On The Internet

On Tuesday, the state Court of Appeals listened to a case that will likely create waves, and set a precedent, regarding the anonymous nature of posts made on the internet.

Raphael Golb, son of a Dead Sea Scroll Scholar, assumed a false identity online, in order to discredit scholars who were in a professional dispute against the man’s father, regarding the origin of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Raphael’s lawyer, Ronald Kuby, argues that the actions taken are not criminal. He argues, “Since 1965, the law has been that these types of repetitional harms are beyond the scope of criminal law.”

Kuby argued that in People V. Golb, 72, that the Manhattan DA’s office overreached by charging Golb with 2 felonies, and 28 misdemeanors, for his activities between 2006 and 2009. Golb used aliases on the Internet to discredit scholars who disagreed with his father.

Arguments are being made that Golb’s First Amendment rights to freedom of speech were not protected. Golb maintains his actions were an attempt at satire.

While legal arguments can be made that Golb’s actions were aimed at being satirical, the conversation cannot end there. His actions had some rumination of criminal activity, to say the least. One could argue, had he not been caught, his actions could have ended the career of the individual whom he was impersonating.

To learn more about this interesting criminal case here are some great links:


New York Law Journal

5 Things to Do If You Are Wrongfully Accused of a Crime

There’s few things in the world worse than being accused of a crime. Unfortunately, it happens far too often. Even in our technologically advanced world, people are still wrongfully imprisoned for crimes they did not come. If you find yourself in such a situation, here’s a list of things you should do.

Anything you say, can be used against you. It’s best not to say anything at all when you’re arrested. Anything you say can be used against you. If you’re not careful, you might say something that hurts your case later. Do not disobey the police officer, and blatantly disregard his/her authority. But, by the same token, don’t feel the need to say “extra things,” that are irrelevant, such as admitting guilt.

Get a respectable lawyer immediately. This is one of the very first things that you should do. In fact, you should do this before speaking to any authorities. After you are read your rights, you need to request an attorney right away. Choose one wisely. This person may be the only person who will be able to help you get out of this scary situation quickly, so it is better to hire one or accept one as soon as possible.

Speak to the lawyer about what has happened and follow his or her advice as closely as possible. This is a person who will know how the court system works and how you and the legal team should proceed. If he or she does not seem like he or she is interested or wants to listen to you, then you should find someone else right away.

Secure any evidence quickly. Tell your legal team about any evidence that can be used to point the authorities to the person who committed the crime if you know. If there is any evidence that supports your alibi, then you must tell your legal team right away. Anything you can think of, even if it seems insignificant, could be the key that will let you out of the grip and sight of the authorities.

Think of any witnesses relevant to the situation. Is there anyone that saw you who can verify your alibi or support the fact that you did not commit a crime? Even if you do not know a person’s name, you should give a good description of your encounter with someone else when you were where you say you were. The person may be able to be tracked down to verify your story.

Any details that you can remember about a person can be helpful. In addition to his or her appearance, think about the type of vehicle the person was driving, who the person may have been with, or where you have encountered the person before. Write down everything you know about the person as soon as you can so you do not forget.

Do not talk to your accusers, if possible. These are people who want you to be punished for a crime that you did not commit. You do not want to tell them something that they will try to turn around on you and make you look guilty. The best thing to do is stay away from the people that have accused you of a crime. If those people are the authorities, remember your rights. Cooperate as much as possible, but do not be afraid to have a legal team present to support you.


Law Offices of Raiser & Kenniff, PC, Respond To Allegations By Nassau County District Attorney Regarding Client Susan Odery


The law offices of Raiser & Kenniff, PC, have released a statement in response to allegations by Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice, regarding client Susan Odery.(link)

On 3/19/2014, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced the arrest of Lido Beach attorney, with allegations of stealing more than $16,000.

“Due to Hurricane Irene, Mrs. Odery and her family were forced out of their home in Lido Beach. They were then hit with Super-Storm Sandy. Due to the terrible conditions her family had to live in, her mother in-law tragically died of pneumonia. Her then 8 year old daughter also contracted pneumonia twice. Mrs. Odery also contracted Chronic Bronchitis. To add to her stress both her 84 year old mother and 88 year old father had been diagnosed with cancer. Throughout all this chaos she tried her best to continue working and while the allegations leveled against her during this trying time may be sufficient to demonstrate negligence they do not rise to the level of any criminal liability.”

About Raiser & Kenniff, PC
At Raiser and Kenniff, PC, we help real people with real problems. Our firm exists solely to provide clients in NYC with professional criminal defense guidance. We understand the system and know when to push, when to hold back, when to negotiate, and when to fight. Tenacious and unyielding, we are prepared to take on the toughest cases.


Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/1803719#ixzz2wcVCmgxU

Personal Crimes Vs Property Crimes

Types of crimes come in two categories, personal crimes and property crimes. Although there are just two major categories, different states may have laws that deal with variations of the offenses that fall under the two types of crimes. In addition to this, some crimes may fall into both categories. For instance, there may be a violent robbery that not only includes a theft of property, but also involves injury of an individual while the crime is being committed. The types of crimes under each category can sometimes also be divided into sub-categories as well.

Personal crimes are crimes that are perpetrated against an individual. These can include assault, battery, false imprisonment, kidnapping, homicide, and rape. Homicide also covers a range of categories, which include first degree murder, second degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, and vehicular homicide. Rape also involves a number of categories, which can include statutory rape, sexual assault and many other types of sexual offenses. Personal crimes can also be further divided into violent and non-violent crimes.
Property crimes are crimes that are categorized as offenses against property. This includes theft, robbery, burglary, arson, embezzlement, forgery, false pretenses, and receipt of stolen goods. It should be noted that there is a difference between theft and robbery. Theft, also known as larceny, covers stealing of an item or items. For instance, someone that steals clothing from a retail store. Robbery on the other hand covers theft of an item or items that uses force in the undertaking of the crime. For instance, someone stealing clothing from a retail store while holding the workers at gunpoint. Property crimes can also be divided into crimes against “real” property such as a house, or crimes against the habitation. A crime against a residence is considered a crime against property because a house has monetary value. On the other hand, a habitation is considered a home, not simply a house. Basically, this is broken down into the use of the structure. There is a difference between a house that is uninhabited, a home where people live, and a summer residence that is hardly used.

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