When the cellphone video was released in 2015 of former North Charleston, S.C. police officer Michael Slager shooting an apparently unarmed man named Walter Scott, while Scott ran away from the officer after a routine traffic stop, the country reacted in horror.  That Slager is white and Scott an African American only exacerbated the current simmering topic of race relations in this country as well as the national debate of how police officers use deadly force – which oftentimes ends with a dead black man.  Slager was charged with murder in South Carolina and also indicted federally on civil rights charges and obstruction of justice for lying to a grand jury when he testified that Scott approached him with a Taser.  Now, over a year later inside a South Carolina courtroom, the jury appears deadlocked with one holdout who refuses to convict the jury – and the nation wonders how could this happen?  Continue reading

If you are being investigated for theft of funds from your place of work, how you immediately respond will go a long way in determining whether you end up convicted of a crime, imprisoned or merely forced to leave your job.  Because only in the most extreme circumstances will you first learn of this investigation at the time you are arrested, you will have ample opportunity to shape how the investigation ends.  For this reason, it is important to hire the best criminal defense attorney you can find whether you work in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut or anywhere else and get the appropriate advice to ensure that your future is not destroyed.   Continue reading

atticusI often receive calls from out of state individuals seeking representation for their criminal cases; sometimes I am even contacted by people outside of the United States seeking the best New York defense attorney they can find. There are a number of reasons why those charged with crimes all over the country want a New York criminal attorney to represent them – and there are reasons why out of state criminal defendants shy away from New York lawyers.  In this entry, I will examine both sides of the issue and dispel some myths.  At bottom, it is clear to anyone who actually works in the criminal justice system that when charged with a crime, one should simply hire the best lawyer he can find – wherever that lawyer may be, assuming he is either a member of that state or district’s Bar or can be admitted pro hac vice or for that one case only.   Continue reading

While hazing was once solely an issue confined to disciplinary or honor boards of colleges or universities, today prosecutors in New York are regularly enforcing anti-hazing laws in criminal courts – with devastating, long-term effects on college students.  News headlines today are filled with hazing offenses sometimes even leading to the death of students.  If you or a loved one are being investigated for hazing at NYU, Columbia, Fordham, Cornell or any other college or university in New York, you will need to hire a top New York school discipline attorney who also specializes in criminal defense work in order to avoid being expelled or even convicted and jailed for a crime.  Continue reading

prison callWith the average length of time served by federal inmates more than doubling from 1998 to 2012 (from 17.9 to 37.5 months) it should not be surprising that approximately 10,000 federal inmates per year receive substantial assistance departures from judges at sentencing – meaning these inmates receive a break from sentencing judges due to their cooperation with the government.  This figure does not take into account the countless thousands of inmates who are desperately attempting to cooperate with the government but simply are not in a position to substantially assist in the “investigation or prosecution” of another individual – but that certainly is not for lack of trying.  U.S.S.G. §5k1.1.  For these reasons, criminal defendants who are detained prior to their trials face a dangerous reality having nothing to do with dangerous prison conditions: they are surrounded by inmates who will do all that they can to help the government convict them or, in the alternative, assist in bringing additional charges against the ignorant detainee.  It is imperative, therefore, that after hiring the best criminal defense attorney possible for their case in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut or elsewhere, defendants do the second most important thing: not make their case worse while incarcerated.   Continue reading

The question of whether a criminal defendant should take the stand in his own defense is one of the more nettlesome ones for a defense lawyer – and his client – to decide.  Oftentimes the decision can only be made during the heat of the trial itself where objective, clear heads are hard to find, and preparation time scarce.  For these reasons, and the enormous risks and stakes at hand, a criminal defendant truly needs the best and most experienced criminal attorney he or she can afford if a trial is in the offing, because the decision to put a client on the stand can be the sole determining factor in winning or losing a trial. Continue reading

Yuval Marshak, an Israeli national extradited from Bulgaria and charged with allegations of schemes to defraud a multi-billion United States foreign aid program – the Foreign Military Financing program (“FMF”) – has retained Jeffrey Lichtman to defend him in the United States District Court of Connecticut.  Mr. Marshak is alleged to be a former owner and executive of an Israel-based defense contractor and carried out multiple schemes to defraud the FMF from 2009 through 2013.  Continue reading

RhoRobert Rho, a Queens gynecologist, has retained Jeffrey Lichtman to defend him against a single charge of Manslaughter in the Second Degree brought against him by the Queens County District Attorney three months after a patient died following a second trimester abortion procedure.  Charged with a violation of New York Penal Law § 125.15 – and facing 0-15 years in prison – it is alleged that Dr. Rho recklessly caused the death of his patient after complications arose following the completion of the abortion and a corrective procedure thereafter.  Despite performing over 40,000 abortions in his 23 year career – which includes more than 900 higher risk abortions per year – this is the first and only time a patient has died while under Dr. Rho’s care.  Despite performing so many abortions and high risk procedures over the years without any significant complications, and despite having a spotless medical disciplinary record, Dr. Rho becomes the first New York abortion doctor in decades to face criminal charges due to the unforseen complications which caused the death of his patient in July.  Continue reading

Short of going to trial and getting an acquittal, short of getting a criminal case dismissed on a motion or dropped by the prosecutor due to faulty evidence, the next best result for the criminal defendant in New York is an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal of his case.  The adjournment in contemplation of dismissal – or ACD as it is known by those who practice in the justice system – provides for a full dismissal of the charges in the interest of justice following a period of time, usually six months, as long as the defendant does not get rearrested during the adjourned period.  Any of the best criminal defense attorneys in New York will tell you that fighting for an ACD can be crucial as the result makes even the arrest a nullity – and will have no impact on any future job or educational possibilities.  Continue reading

When individuals convicted of a crime in New York wish to expunge or seal their records, they find that this mechanism is permitted under very limited circumstances.  Instead, the more prevalent method to retain employability and restore lost civil rights is a request for a Certificate of Relief from Civil Disability made either to the sentencing judge or state parole office. Many individuals convicted of crimes in the New York state system avail themselves of this opportunity.  What is rarely discussed – and almost never done – is a request for a Certificate of Relief from Civil Disability in the federal system.  Continue reading