Articles Posted in Appeals

In a recent blog post, I discussed the topic of ineffective assistance of counsel claims and the opportunity to vacate a conviction due to trial counsel’s representation which falls “below an objective standard of reasonableness” and, “but for counsel’s unprofessional errors, the result in the proceeding would have been different.”  Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 688, 694 (1984).  This week inside a Manhattan courtroom we will conduct a hearing for a decorated, former NYPD detective who was strongly advised by his attorney to plead guilty to a crime in connection with a bid to house retired horses from the NYPD Mounted Unit.  People v. Depamphilis, Docket No. 2010 NY 019168 (NY Co.). Continue reading

The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees the accused the right to effective assistance of counsel. In practice, however, a defendant who wishes to prove that he had incompetent or ineffective counsel at trial does not have an easy road to hoe in convincing the trial judge – or appellate court – to vacate a conviction.  As any of the top New York criminal appeals lawyers know, courts do not routinely grant motions for a new trial due to ineffective assistance of counsel as the result puts the defendant back to where he was prior to trial – without a conviction and out of jail.  That being said, if your lawyer works hard enough, a conviction after trial can be opened up due to counsel’s poor lawyering, no matter how bad the case is, no matter how long the sentence is – I know because we’ve done it.  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

On Monday, June 13, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit vacated the 18 month sentence of Anthony Mangone, a disbarred Westchester County 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.  In vacating the sentence, the panel criticized Manhattan federal judge Colleen McMahon, stating that she had gone “beyond the entirely appropriate condemnation of a defendant’s criminal conduct” when she commented that she “take[s] it very personally when a lawyer commits crimes,” because members of the judge’s family and most of her personal friends are attorneys.  The Court went on: “The comments that were made could be taken to indicate that the judge considered herself personally invested in the outcome, as if she or her friends were individually aggrieved by the defendant’s crimes.”  In addition, Judge McMahon relied on a mistaken sentencing guidelines calculation when sentencing Mr. Mangone. The Court of Appeals noted that because Judge McMahon said nothing to suggest she would have imposed the same sentence regardless of the correct guidelines range, the sentence was vacated.   Continue reading

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Last week, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the Constitution’s Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial does not extend post-conviction to protect defendants from lengthy sentencing delays.  The case, Betterman v. Montana, 578 U.S. __ (2016), involved a defendant who pleaded guilty to jumping bail in 2012 and languished in a Montana jail for 14 months until sentencing; in the summer of 2013 he received a seven year sentence with four years suspended.  Appearing before the judge, Betterman complained that the delay had put him on an “emotional roller coaster due to the anxiety and depression caused by uncertainty.”  Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing for the Court, rejected this argument, holding that “[a]s a measure protecting the presumptively innocent, the speedy trial right — like other similarly aimed measures — loses force upon conviction” and that “the sole remedy for a violation of the speedy trial right” is dismissal of all charges, “which would be an unjustified windfall … to remedy sentencing delay by vacating validly obtained convictions.”   Continue reading

Today Anthony Mangone, a Westchester County lawyer convicted of corruption charges who helped the government convict three dirty New York state senators, a chief of staff to one of the senators, a lawyer, a Yonkers councilwoman and the chairman of the Yonkers Republican party, and who was described by prosecutors as one of the most important “cooperators in recent memory” appeals his 18 month sentence handed down last December by SDNY Judge Colleen McMahon in Manhattan due to numerous errors which occurred at sentencing.   Continue reading