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

Federal tax cases peculiar in that they tend to mean different things to different judges – unlike the rank and file federal criminal charges: wire and mail fraud, money laundering, RICO, extortion, narcotics offenses, child pornography charges, perjury, etc. – in all such cases judges are universally offended by the crimes and sentence accordingly.  Tax cases are a different animal and how your lawyer handles your particular judge will go a long way in determining whether you will receive a sentence which includes incarceration.   Continue reading

Chris-ChristieThe upcoming Bridgegate criminal trial in Newark, which will determine if Governor Christie’s former deputy chief of staff and his top executive appointee at the Port Authority ordered multiple access lanes closed at the George Washington Bridge on five mornings in September of 2013, promises to be a circus: were the closures done due to the traffic study as alleged by the defendants – or was it punishment for the Fort Lee Mayor who had not endorsed the governor’s 2013 re-election campaign?  Either way, the trial does not figure to help Governor Christie who is thought to be behind the closing of the lanes – and who already has historically low approval ratings among New Jersey voters.   Continue reading

The consequences of a conviction for a sex crime in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and elsewhere are staggering and makes sex crime charges (sexual assault, rape, etc.) some of the most difficult to defend due to the collateral penalties which can impact plea negotiations.  Beyond potentially lengthy prison sentences and probation, sex crime convictions require defendants to be included on a public sex offender registry; inclusion on this registry will impact where one lives, works and travels potentially for the rest of one’s life.  As any of the best New York criminal defense attorneys know, due to the extraordinary collateral consequences of sex crime convictions the best way to avoid them is to either win your case or reach a non-sex crime plea deal.  For these reasons, it is imperative to hire the best criminal defense attorney you can possibly find when charged with a sex crime: the choice could alter the rest of your life. Continue reading

BlogCourtIf you have just been charged with murder or a serious violent crime in New York, chances are the last thing you are initially thinking about is how to win the case. Instead, you’ve been brought to jail, about to face a judge who may or may not grant you bail and you’re facing possibly the rest of your life in prison.  Things are looking grim and hopeless; however, at this very early stage the case can often be won or lost, even if the trial is ultimately a year or further down the road.  From a lawyer who has won many cases in which violent crimes have been charged, here’s a checklist of what you need to do if you are charged with murder or a serious violent crime and you want to win your case.   Continue reading

International extradition is the process in which an individual arrested in one country is surrendered to the requesting country for prosecution or, alternately, to serve a previously-imposed sentence.  Extradition requests are usually authorized by extradition treaties between the two countries; even without such a treaty, the countries can still agree to assist each other depending on circumstances which include political considerations.  While the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and Evidence do not apply here, an extradition proceeding still retains characteristics of criminal proceedings.  For these reasons – and because the defendant may ultimately extradited to the United States to face criminal charges – the target of the international extradition request should hire the best criminal defense lawyer and international extradition attorney he or she can find, whether the case is in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut or anywhere in the United States. Continue reading

Today Judge Colleen McMahon of the Southern District of New York cut the sentence of Anthony Mangone, a politically-connected, Westchester County disbarred lawyer convicted of corruption charges whose testimony helped convict three New York state senators and a chief of staff, a Yonkers councilwoman, the chairman of the Yonkers Republican party and an attorney.  Today’s sentence of 12 months and one day follows the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit’s June 14 decision vacating Judge McMahon’s 18 month sentence due to the judge applying the wrong federal sentencing guidelines; in addition, the Court of Appeals had criticized Judge McMahon for going “beyond the entirely appropriate condemnation of a defendant’s criminal conduct.” Judge McMahon also eliminated her prior fine of $15,000 and reduced Mr. Mangone’s term of supervised release from three years to one.  Jeffrey Lichtman, representing Mr. Mangone on both the appeal and at today’s sentence, stated afterward “I’m not pleased when any client is sentenced to jail time, however, I’m very happy that Anthony’s sentence was cut by a third.”  Continue reading

If you have been sexually assaulted in New York – whether it be at the hands of a loved one, an acquaintance or a stranger – navigating the New York criminal and civil court systems can be difficult.  Considering what you’ve already been through, dealing with red tape and rushed prosecutors does not exactly make your struggle any easier.  As the best New York sexual assault victim lawyers know, there are a number of things you need do right away – and other things you need to think about going forward.   Continue reading

Plea bargains have become increasingly important to criminal defendants these days as reports have shown that 97% of all federal criminal cases and 94% of state cases end in guilty pleas.  As most defendants do not wish for the uncertainty of trials – where one’s fate is left in the hands of a jury and if convicted, the trial judge – plea bargains can offer a definitive promise of punishment by prosecutors and in the federal system a small range of potential punishment as determined by the judge.  Of course, as the top criminal defense attorneys in New York know, the quality of your plea bargain is largely a function of the effort your lawyer puts in prior to cutting the deal.

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Last week, the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman along with the Law Office of Marc Fernich filed a notice of claim against the New York City Police Department on behalf of the wife and mother of George Tillman, charging wrongful death and excessive force by the NYPD officers who gunned Mr. Tillman down after he was initially spotted drinking from an open container in Queens in April of this year.  Chasing Mr. Tillman down the street, multiple police officers opened fire when they claimed Mr. Tillman pulled a gun on them.  Not a single, non-police witness has claimed Mr. Tillman possessed a weapon that night and no one present at the scene heard officers scream at Mr. Tillman to drop any gun.  Instead, the officers opened fire, hitting him with more than 10 shots – without a single shot fired by Mr. Tillman.  Continue reading