Articles Posted in RICO

FullSizeRender-294x300(In last week’s post on winning high profile criminal trials (part II), I discussed the importance of thinking outside the box and creating an atmosphere in the courtroom wherein the government is fighting to keep up with the defense lawyer instead of the other way around: fighting the safe, conservative fight in a high profile case will result in a safe, conservative loss.)

A Defense Lawyer in a High Profile Criminal Trial Must Be Quick-Witted and Quick-Thinking

A sense of humor and ability to think on one’s feet are crucial hallmarks for any top criminal defense attorney.  Any of the best New York criminal trial lawyers I have known have had one thing in common: incredible senses of humor and ability to think quickly – and oftentimes hilariously – on their feet.  And there’s a good reason for this: when you’re defending a very difficult case with a tremendous amount of evidence against your client, the jury is ready to convict before the opening statements are completed.  The default position at the start of the case oftentimes includes a bored jury, disgusted with your client and just biding its time until they can convict and go home to their lives.  So what can a defense lawyer do to stop that runaway train to disaster?  Entertain the jury.  Connect with the jury.  Make the jury laugh.  It’s like anything else in life: make the jury like you enough that they’re willing to listen to what you have to say, willing to give you – and your client – the benefit of the doubt.  And there’s not much competition in the humor or likability department when going up against a prosecutor: first, prosecutors are by their definition required to play it much straighter than a defense lawyer can as they are representatives of the government; second, prosecutors are notoriously stiff and less entertaining than defense lawyers (though I have experienced some very rare exceptions).  Bottom line: if your lawyer can’t entertain you, the client, he’s certainly not going to have the presence during a high profile criminal trial to cause the jurors to follow him over the mountain to an acquittal.

GottiSep21-228x300(In my prior post on winning high profile criminal trials, I discussed the complete and total dedication to the task at hand as well as the needed confidence of the defense lawyer, born from over-preparation, which allows him to take the chances necessary to win a case all observers presume is a lost cause.)

Creativity and Courage Are Crucial If You Want to Win a Big Media Case

Many defense lawyers are afraid to take chances in a high profile case.  The reasoning goes ‘why take a chance of making a fool out of yourself when a good fight is all that anyone expects of you – and you’ll still get good publicity.’  Well, the main reason a great defense attorney will take chances is very simple: he actually wants to win, not just appear like he fought a good fight.  An example: during the Gotti case I decided early on that we would be using a very novel defense, namely that the defendant had actually left the mafia while serving a prior federal prison sentence and, because five years had passed since his withdrawal, the pending federal charges were brought beyond the statute of limitations.  Simply put, even if the defendant had committed the charged acts, if the jury believed the withdrawal defense, he would be acquitted. Continue reading

NewsdayTeflonJohn-219x300How do you win a high profile criminal case that the entire world is watching, you ask?  Many of the necessary concepts can be applied to the defense of any criminal trial, whether it be a federal RICO murder case or a state Assault case, but there are some additional challenges – and opportunities – that are particular to cases which have heavy media coverage.  In the end, when looking for the best New York criminal defense lawyer you can hire to defend you in what you believe is an impossible-to-win case, try to find a lawyer who embodies the concepts I will discuss below: complete and total dedication, confidence, creativity, courage, sense of humor, quick-wittedness under pressure, and lastly, ego.  Added all together, these traits in your lawyer will give you your best chance to win a publicly reported trial.  Remember: any trial can be won, no matter how dismal your chances appear at the start – as long as you find the right lawyer to fight for you. Continue reading

The art of cross-examination has become somewhat of a lost art today, with a record number of cases pleading out before trial and with scores of young, former state prosecutors becoming defense lawyers, having never had the chance to develop complex cross-examination skills before setting out to defend people charged with crimes.  But make no mistake: if your lawyer cannot cross examine effectively, whether it be at a pretrial or post-trial hearing or during a trial, you are basically hiring a glorified clerk to defend you in one of the biggest moments of your life which will affect your career, your future and the future of your family.  Because a lawyer who cannot cross-examine will either lose your case or push you into a plea deal you may not want.  A lawyer who can, on the other hand, destroy a witness’s credibility on the stand, destroys the government’s credibility, its evidence and the chances of you being convicted of a crime.

Top New York criminal defense attorneys and federal criminal lawyers know that developing a killer cross-examination requires much more than simply challenging the witness’s prior statements supplied by the prosecutor; instead, the best defense lawyers get creative, find materials that the government could not possibly have known about – or prepare their witnesses for.  Because in order to even have the opportunity to truly neutralize a prosecution witness a top defense lawyer must put him in a situation in which he has to actually think on his feet.  Once taken out of his comfort zone, once the government playbook is taken away from the witness – all hell can break loose.  As I have said in my opening statements during trials about cross-examinations of government witnesses, “The evidence is not just what comes out on direct examination by the government; the cross examinations count too – and unlike the direct examinations, as you’ll learn during this case, the cross examinations are not carefully scripted endeavors that come from prepared outlines.  They are spontaneous.  They test the witnesses by making them think on their feet.  They are the crucible of truth.”   Continue reading

There are many ways to skin a cat – and many ways to win a criminal case without going to trial. Any of the best criminal attorneys in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut will recognize that multiple opportunities exist during the pendency of a client’s case in which to damage the government’s leverage and position beyond repair.  One such way is to suppress damning evidence against the defendant which has been seized by the government.  With the devastating loss of their evidence no longer part of their case in chief, the government is usually amenable to extending a much more favorable plea offer than ever anticipated. Three examples of such winning suppression motions by our firm are explained below. Continue reading

Sutton DismissIn 25 years of practice as a New York criminal attorney, the biggest change I’ve noticed is the failure of attorneys today to do the extensive investigation and research necessary to not only win cases at trial but to get them dismissed before the trial even starts.   Defenses are slapped together quickly or rely solely on challenging the evidence turned over by the government.  Clients are usually too trusting of their criminal attorney and often do not realize how much more can be done to help their efforts to avoid conviction — or even a trial.  When criminal lawyers rely solely on the government’s discovery to prepare a defense, they’re simply following the government’s gameplan toward conviction. This is true in federal cases in the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York and in state courts in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Westchester and throughout Connecticut.  If you want to win your case, the best New York criminal attorneys know that you need to find the impeachment material which has NOT been turned over. Continue reading

Gotti CoverBeing charged with assault, murder or attempted murder in New York, Brooklyn, Queens, Connecticut, New Jersey or in federal courts all over the country does not mean your life is over – far from it. Just because the penalties for such crimes can be extreme does not mean that a top criminal lawyer cannot achieve a great result with an acquittal after trial, a dismissal of the charges or a non-custodial plea deal. The best defense attorneys all over the country know that in order to achieve such a result a massive effort needs to be made investigating both the crime and the witnesses. Armed with the fruits of that investigation, a strong cross-examiner can destroy a witness’s story and reveal to the jury biases and motives to lie.  As the witness falls apart on the stand so does the case against the defendant.

We have had tremendous documented success in federal assault, conspiracy to murder and murder cases, RICO, as well as in state assault, attempted murder and murder cases. We don’t just get hired on serious cases like this which are often in the media — we win them.   Continue reading