I 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.
Why a New York Lawyer May Be the Best Lawyer For the Case, Regardless of Where it is
To begin, there are fine criminal lawyers all over the country – in small towns and large cities. That a top criminal defense attorney practices in a small town in Alabama may simply be due to his or her desire to live in the area they grew up in or attended school. That being said, there is a reason someone charged in a major criminal indictment in a small town in Alabama seeks a top New York criminal lawyer for representation: criminal attorneys in New York often defend the most serious and complex criminal cases in America. And a top New York criminal defense attorney often wins such cases. The rationale goes, therefore, that “if the best New York criminal lawyers can win those difficult cases in New York, they can handle my case here effectively too.”
There is something to that rationale: I have defended people all over the country to great success; I believe the reason has been due to the way a New York lawyer goes about his preparation in defending someone charged with a major crime in New York. No resources are spared – including the time and energy of the lawyer. Because the cases we regularly defend are so serious – with the media watching our every move – we have no choice but to turn over every rock in an investigation, legally research every possible avenue to challenge the indictment and treat every cross examination as if life or death is at stake – and oftentimes it is. And we regularly fight the best prosecutors in America. The more such cases we have and win, the more skilled we become. Taking such a skillset to a case outside of New York often leads to an overwhelming force that a local prosecutor has never before seen: handling relatively less serious cases and being opposed by local attorneys whose caseloads are often dominated by court appointed cases, the local prosecutor is suddenly faced with a criminal defense hurricane which will require more resources than they are able to commit to the case. The result? Very often a blockbuster defense win.
Clients Uneducated in the Criminal Defense System Often Make Uneducated Decisions
The opposing rationale is that hiring a seemingly “hired gun” from out of state, a so-called legal carpetbagger, will offend the local judge and the defendant will suffer for it. Or that if an out of state attorney is hired by the defendant that the prosecutor will take the case more seriously. Both of these ideas are ludicrous. My experience has been that judges outside of New York are thrilled to have a defense lawyer before him or her who is more prepared and skilled than perhaps what usually appears before the court. And that the local prosecutors are often dismayed at having to fight the energy, tenacity, skill and resources of a top New York criminal attorney. Also, prosecutor will not suddenly decide to work hard to convict a charged defendant due to his choice in counsel; they do so regardless of who is representing their targets.
The Proof is in the Pudding
Some of our recent, out of the area cases we have handled and their results:
– New Jersey: a client convicted of multiple counts of sexual assault had his 27 year sentence vacated following our motion and a hearing for a new trial based upon ineffective assistance of trial counsel.
– New Jersey: a complaint alleging sexual abuse allegations against our client – and an attempt to remove his children from their home – was dismissed following a bench trial, at which the state’s psychologist expert witness was thoroughly discredited and all scientific evidence concerning the defendant’s sexual interests was successfully suppressed.
– Alabama: a college student investigated on charges of first degree Rape, punishable by a possible life sentence, was not indicted by a grand jury after the results of our investigation were provided to the jurors.
– North Carolina: client charged federally with attempted murder, assault, firearm and narcotics charges received a sentence which included a recommendation of just six months in an intensive confinement center after our novel motion for preservation and discovery of prison telephone conversations of main government witness was granted.
– Massachusetts: a client federally charged with mail fraud in connection with the parent company of Dunkn’ Donuts received a probationary sentence.
– Albany, New York: Adult day healthcare center director facing 25 years in prison due to Medicaid fraud had her Grand Larceny charge dismissed upon our motion claiming insufficient evidence.
– Rochester, New York, Western District of New York: our client received a 48 month sentence, significantly lower than called for in his plea agreement and even lower than those who cooperated against him, following his conviction in federal court for possession with intent to distribute cocaine. In this non-cooperation case, the defendant was listed by President Bush as an “international drug kingpin” and was once on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list.
Hire the Best Lawyer You Can Find To Win Your Case
The criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman have successfully handled criminal cases all over the country – and even throughout the world – during our decades in practice. Using the tactics and strategies developed fighting and winning the most high profile and complex cases in New York, we will attack your case wherever it may be – because to you, your criminal case is the biggest case in the world. Call us at (212) 581-1001 to discuss your case today.