Update: The Yatyu Yam Case   

This past spring I wrote about the case of NYPD detective Yatyu Yam, accused by prosecutors of bribery and official misconduct charges relating to allegations he tipped off the owners of karaoke bars in Queens in exchange for cash bribes.  NYPL § 200.11, NYPL § 105.10(1), NYPL § 200.25, NYPL § 195.00(1), NYPL § 195.05 and NYPL § 105.00.  What was particularly odious about this case was what occurred upon Detective Yam’s arrest: instead of being processed and brought before a judge to be arraigned, Detective Yam was taken to a secret hotel room where he was interrogated for hours without counsel present, in violation of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 444 (1966).  When he did ask for an attorney – his union lawyer – he was told to instead hire a private lawyer out of the Yellow Pages, as an NYPD sergeant and captain told him that they were concerned Yam’s union lawyer would steer him away from cooperating in the case.  This order came, as tapes of the interrogation revealed – from the very Assistant District Attorney who was prosecuting Detective Yam.

As I have written previously, and as the top criminal defense attorneys in New York know, there are many ways to win a case: sometimes by taking the case to trial and getting an acquittal – or in other instances, fighting the case through investigation and motion work in order to get the government to give you an acceptable plea offer which they previously had refused.  And that is exactly what occurred here: for months we had been attempting to get a misdemeanor plea offer in this case with a conditional discharge – i.e. no probation, no jail time.  The prosecutors refused our demand and the case trudged towards what appeared to be an inevitable trial which came with some major risk: my client was facing 15 years in prison should he be convicted.  By the time the smoke cleared yesterday, Detective Yam was permitted to plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge and received the conditional discharge we had requested.  How did it occur?  By putting the prosecution in a position where they had no realistic choice but to give in to our demands. Continue reading

pharma-bro-300x166Today I picked up the newspaper and read about the difficult jury selection in the Martin Shkreli federal trial.  Shkreli, known as the “Pharma Bro” is one of the most despised people in America, in large part due to his raising the price of Daraprim – a drug primarily used to treat newborns and HIV patients – from $13.50 to $750 a pill while he was the chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals a few years back. When challenged by a journalist about this outrageous move, Shkreli smugly called the journalist a “moron.”  During jury selection for his Securities Fraud trial in federal court in Brooklyn, his attorney moved for a mistrial, decrying the inability to find a single prospective juror to be seated at Shkreli’s trial due to claims they could not be impartial: Shkreli is simply too hated by everyone who knows anything about him.  I was drawn back to a high profile trial of mine from years ago when we also were seemingly unable to find a jurors who didn’t believe the defendant was guilty – before even hearing opening statements.  As in the Gotti, Jr. trial from 2005 and in Martin Shkreli’s today, well, just because the jury hates your client and has prejudged the evidence, a fair trial can still be had.  Twenty-three days after John’s trial began, he walked out of prison, acquitted on two charges, hung on the rest, despite the seeming impossible task to find one, let alone 12 impartial jurors.  I have empathy for Shkreli’s attorney but remember how such juror pool animus against a defendant could be turned around and used to one’s advantage.  Continue reading

fata-300x203Time and time again, clients have hired us due to false accusations of rape or assault by people they know: an angry ex, a soon to be former wife, a college date feeling remorseful after a night of sex – or just some stalker hoping to extort our client out of some money with the threat of going to the police with a tall tale.  Traditionally, we have investigated the cases immediately and gotten the cases tossed out, cases as serious as Assault in the First Degree (New York Penal Law § 120.10) and Rape in the First Degree (New York Penal Law § 130.35), both punishable by up to decades in prison.  But lately we have done more than simply get the cases tossed out: we have gone after the accusers both civilly and criminally.  In some instances, additionally, we have gotten the accusers arrested before they could even make good on their threat to bring a false accusation to law enforcement if an extortion payment was not made by our client.  Such serious, but false, accusations are deeply hurtful, damaging – and potentially life-altering.  They require more than fighting off the prosecutor’s criminal charge since the accuser, despite making a false accusation, will otherwise suffer no harm once the case is dismissed.  By getting the complainant arrested or sued for damages, you can be sure that your accuser will never be heard from again – which is exactly what you want and need.  Continue reading

The Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman has sued a man who knowingly exposed and infected our client with HSV Type 2 (genital herpes) as well as the HPV virus.  Filed in Supreme Court in Richmond County, New York, we seek damages for fraud, negligence, battery, negligent infliction of emotional distress and for future medical expenses caused by the defendant’s tortious actions.  As the evidence will come out at trial, our client was dating a man who knew he had genital herpes and had been taking medication for it — and knowingly transmitted the disease to our client, even going so far as to lie about the reason he had a bandage on his penis (to cover up a herpes breakout) prior to engaging in unprotected sex.  Despite being asked if he was disease-free, the defendant continued the charade up until our client tested positive for genital herpes and the HPV virus; when confronted about not telling our client about his various venereal disease, the defendant simply claimed that he “thought [he] did.”   Continue reading

sig-300x257In New York, a charge of Criminal Possession of a Weapon, pursuant to New York Penal Law § 265.03, can land you up to 15 years in prison – with a minimum sentence of 3.5 years.  This is an onerous punishment as it is, but becomes incredibly draconian when a defendant is not even alleged to have had the gun on his person, or even been in the same car, room or building at the time of the discovery of the weapons. But arrests under such circumstances routinely occur in New York under the doctrine of constructive possession – where a defendant is held responsible for possessing weapons (or other contraband) where they had ready access to and control of the weapon/contraband or to the storage place where it was found – even if they did not physically possess the weapon at the time of arrest.  People v. Manini, 79 N.Y.2d 561 (N.Y. 1992).   Continue reading

We receive many phone calls from individuals in New York with criminal records who wish to have their convictions sealed or expunged. In a huge change of the existing law, the governor recently signed into law (effective October 2017) a change in the criminal sealing law pursuant to Criminal Procedure Law § 160.59 which allows judges to seal up to two eligible convictions, but just one felony.  While most offenses are now eligible for sealing, not all are: DWI offense are eligible, but many serious violent felonies including sex offenses, Homicide, Assault and Robbery offenses are not (along with most class A felony convictions).   Continue reading

Sexual harassment in the workplace is bad enough if it comes from a coworker; but what if it comes from a supervisor or even the CEO of your company?  A victim of unwanted sexual innuendo and advances from a coworker can easily deflect and reject – and even report – this illegal behavior.  But what if the offender is the CEO of your company, and you know full well that coming forward and making a report of his behavior to Human Resources will get you nowhere — and may cost you your livelihood?  Instead of presuming you need to just suffer the abusive behavior in order to keep your job, you should hire the best New York Sexual Harassment attorney you can find and enforce your legal rights not to be abused in the workplace.  As we have learned recently from Gretchen Carlson’s $20 million settlement with Fox News due to the alleged sexual harassment by Fox chairman Roger Ailes, you can stand up for yourself and fight this sort of illegal and demeaning behavior, even if it means you have to challenge the CEO of your company.  Continue reading

Hostile work environment sexual harassment exists occurs where an employee is subject to offensive comments, discrimination, bullying or sexually verbal behavior in the workplace.  Anytime an employee in the workplace feels intimidated, scared or uncomfortable due to the actions or words of a coworker, a hostile work environment can be alleged.  A hostile work environment can include conduct sexual in nature which is severe enough to create an offensive working environment and fulfill a claim for hostile workplace sexual harassment.  In order for a legal claim to exist on the basis of a hostile work environment, the offending conduct need be severe or pervasive in the workplace.  One offensive comment will not suffice; the environment need be intimidating, hostile, or offensive to reasonable people.  Continue reading

A couple weeks ago I wrote about the importance of the pre-pleading memorandum in getting better plea offers from stubborn prosecutors, or a lower promised sentence from New York State judges.  Just 10 days later, the verdict is in: despite strong opposition by the prosecutors in the case of a celebrity restaurateur accused of Grand Larceny of nearly $850,000 of investor and employee funds, the judge offered a sentence of 4 months in prison (defendant to serve 3 1/2 months beginning in late June), significantly lower than the 1-3 years prison sentence offered by the prosecutors.  The deal was accepted yesterday in Kings County Supreme Court.  Continue reading

Quid pro quo sexual harassment (translated from Latin as “this for that”) occurs when an employer or supervisor asks or suggests through physical conduct that an employee perform sexual favors in return for some benefit at work, such as favorable performance reviews, desirable work shifts or promotions.  The suggestion of sexual favors in exchange for avoiding an adverse employment action, such as a poor performance review or even termination, is also an example of quid pro quo sexual harassment.  In any case, quid pro quo sexual harassment is illegal under both federal and many state laws.  Legal remedies include compensatory damages to recover lost wages, benefits or opportunities; reinstatement to the victim’s former position if they were terminated; and monetary damages due to pain and suffering or emotional distress.  Contact a top New York sexual harassment attorney if you believe you are a victim of quid pro quo sexual harassment. Continue reading