Raiser Kenniff

Toll Free888-504-2746


Why You Should Consider Speaking to a Lawyer

Being arrested can be a very stressful, terrifying and confusing experience. During the legal process, one of the options you might face is a plea bargain. While this might seem like a good way to get out of a tricky situation, you have to make sure that you talk to a criminal lawyer before you accept a plea bargain. Things can move very fast and you can end up making the wrong decisions. If you are facing criminal charges, it is important to avoid making mistakes that can turn out to be very costly.

Get the best advice

While it might be tempting to accept a plea deal right away, you need to know that this might not be in your best interest. When the prosecutor offers you a plea deal, you need to make sure that you are getting the best deal before you accept. It is not easy to know this if you have no legal background and this is where a good lawyer comes in. You can get the best advice, allowing you to make an informed decision. Talk to a criminal attorney who is familiar with the legal process to get the best advice.

Benefit from experience

An experienced attorney is likely to have handled many cases that are like yours. This means that the attorney has the relevant experience to analyze the evidence against you to decide if there is a better way to handle the case. Remember that the prosecution is more eager to offer a plea bargain if the case against you is not very strong. The lawyer will have a feel for possible sentences, current prosecution trends and other relevant information.

Getting a better deal

When you have a lawyer working for you, you are more likely to get a better deal. A defense attorney is out to get you the best deal and can effectively negotiate with the prosecution. It is important to note that prosecutors are out to get as many convictions as possible and they try to pass as many cases as possible through the system. If you have a lawyer, the prosecutor is more likely to offer a better deal to avoid a lengthy trial and the extra labor it entails.

Is the plea offer really a bargain? Just because the prosecutor is refers to it as such does not mean that you are getting a bargain. Your lawyer will have your best interests at heart and will be able to analyze whether the plea deal is offering you any bargain. Having an experienced negotiator on your side is always a good thing especially when it comes to legal matters.

Raiser & Kenniff Featured on LIBN.com


One year after sparring with Nassau prosecutors over a contested “policy” allowing the District Attorney’s Office to review privileged inmate phone calls, a Mineola attorney will get his day in court.

Steven Raiser, founding partner of the Raiser & Kenniff law firm, has filed suit against Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice’s office and the Nassau County Sheriff’s Department for listening to at least one recorded phone exchange between Raiser and a client incarcerated in East Meadow’s Nassau County Correctional Facility – an alleged violation of the attorney-client privilege.


Whether or not the suit holds water, it’s already having an effect: On Oct. 21, Nassau County Supreme Court Justice Robert Bruno issued a temporary restraining order barring the DA’s office from accessing privileged recordings – except by court order – until Nov. 21.


Bruno’s TRO also stipulates that Nassau Sheriff Michael Sposato and other representatives of his department can’t distribute inmate recordings to the DA’s office without a court order.

Shams Tarek, a spokesman for the District Attorney’s Office, said in a statement that although the DA’s office “never seeks to listen to privileged, confidential calls between attorneys and their clients,” prosecutors will “comply with the practical effect” of the restraining order.


The crux of the issue is an April 2013 felony witness tampering case in which a Nassau prosecutor attempted to enter into evidence a recorded phone call between the defendant, who was ultimately acquitted, and Raiser’s office.

According to Nassau Corrections Officer Joseph Rozzano’s April 5, 2013, testimony before Nassau County Supreme Court Justice George Peck, attorney-client privilege applies when the defendant is speaking with his attorney – but not with the office secretary.


“When counsel answers the phone, and he’s answering, at that point we don’t listen,” Rozzano said at the April 2013 hearing.

Skeptical of the DA’s practice of obtaining inmate recordings, Raiser – then the president of the Criminal Courts Bar of Nassau County – sent an October 2013 letter to Rice’s office accusing Nassau prosecutors of being complicit in a backdoor “policy” to listen to phone calls between inmates and their attorneys’ offices.


In Nassau County Chief Assistant District Attorney Madeline Singas’ Nov. 6, 2013, response to Raiser, the ADA argued that there are exceptions to attorney-client privilege – and because of those “limitations on privilege,” the office disputed Raiser’s “blanket statement that all inmate phone calls” made to attorney’s offices are privileged.

Singas further argued that the East Meadow corrections facility has a system in place in which attorneys can register their telephone numbers with the jail, all but ensuring inmate calls to their lawyers won’t be recorded.

The lawsuit, filed nearly one year to the day after Raiser’s October 2013 letter to the DA and the sheriff, states the policy creates a “chilling effect on all attorney-client phone conversations from the facility” and “stifles [clients’] ability to communicate freely with their attorneys.”


Michael Golio, investigator captain for the Nassau Sheriff’s Department Correctional Center, said Monday that all actions taken by the Sheriff’s Department with respect to both the monitoring and recording of inmate calls and the production of those materials to outside enforcement agencies “is completely respectful of the law in all respects.”


Raiser disagrees. The Mineola attorney contends that Rice and her staff review privileged inmate calls “in the darkness of her own office where nobody could know about it.”


Raiser’s multipronged lawsuit attempts not only to bar the DA’s office from accessing inmate recordings (except by court order), but tries to reform the county’s entire document-sharing system. The lawyer, who specializes in personal-injury cases, claims his intention is to “inject due process into the system.”


His solution: A judge or correctional center employee should review recordings requested by the DA’s office before they’re handed over to prosecutors.

“We tried to broach this issue with her [Rice] and the jail,” Raiser said. “We tried to come to an amicable conclusion so we wouldn’t have to litigate.

“She’s shown no interest in fixing the problem,” he added. “So we had to resort to filing a lawsuit.”

The Nassau DA and the Sheriff’s Department have until Nov. 21 to respond to the petition, according to the County Supreme Court.

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

Our Office Locations

New York

87 Walker Street
2nd Floor
New York, New York 10013

Phone: 212-274-0090

Get Directions


300 Old Country Road
Suite 351
Mineola, New York 11501

Phone: 516-742-7600

Get Directions


150 Motor Pkwy.
Suite 401
Hauppauge, New York 11588

Phone: 631-630-2295

Get Directions