Miranda warnings come from the seminal Miranda v. Arizona case. We often hear these warnings on television series, such as Cops. The right to remain silent and to speak with an attorney should always be exercised. Here, “Tony Pritchette is charged in a one-count indictment with Hobbs Act robbery under 18 U.S.C. § 1951, in connection with a March 2016 air-rifle robbery of a MetroPCS store in the Bronx.” It is alleged that there were two interrogations, one where the client confessed and one where, subsequently, he was read his rights as documented by the government and gave incriminating statements. The Court delves into an interesting situation, the two-step interrogation, and suppresses the statements obtained in violation of Mr. Pritchette’s 5th Amendment Rights.

The 5th Amendment Right against Self-Incrimination has been cited often, from television series to, here, the Southern District Court of New York, United States District Court: more

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New York Criminal Defense Attorneys know that the criminal justice system is coercive, often resulting in people who are afraid of the consequences or stuck in jail to plead guilty to things that may not have actually occurred. Plea bargains must be entered into voluntarily. A plea cannot be coerced from a defendant by improper means, whether physically coerced or coerced by the threat of punishment for taking the case to trial and obtaining a guilty verdict on a lesser charge. Not a television drama, criminal defense attorneys advise their clients of their options, weighing the evidence and the people’s ability to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. While being found guilty of a lesser included charge may result in jail time (or an alternative sentence), a judge cannot comment that the defendant will have a certain fixed sentence after jury trial as opposed to a range of sentence for a crime of which he or she has not been convicted.

While we do not know the facts and circumstances of this case, the Fourth Department allowed a defendant to withdraw his guilty plea:

During discussions over the plea offer, the court addressed the possibility of a jury convicting defendant of the lesser included offense of manslaughter in the first degree by stating: “[Y]ou wouldn’t get any better than 25 [years] if you get a manslaughter. That’s a big ‘if.'”…”[T]he court’s statements do not amount to a description of the range of potential sentences but, rather, they constitute impermissible coercion, rendering the plea involuntary and requiring its vacatur” (People v. Kelley, 114 AD3d 1229, 1230 [internal quotation marks omitted]; see People v. Boyde, 122 AD3d 1302, 1302-1303).

Do not be forced to enter a guilty plea. Contact a criminal defense attorney and evaluate your options. Call the Law Offices of Cory H. Morris: 631-450-2515.

People v. Williams, KA 14-00717, NYLJ 1202772393196, at *1 (App. Div., 4th, Decided November 10, 2016)

In the Matter of Jamal S, ” Officer Leo and his partner were on patrol when they observed respondent Jamal S. and his companion riding their bicycles against the flow of traffic on a one-way street.” As so many others in New York City, the juvenile was stopped, he was questioned and, because he did not have identification (and likely due to his suspected age), he was taken to the police precinct. While “Officer Leo intended to issue respondent a summons for disorderly conduct (Penal Law § 240.20 [7]),” an exercise in discretion results in “the officers patt[ing] him down, plac[ing] him in handcuffs and transport[ing] him to the precinct. When he arrived at the precinct at approximately 11:00 p.m., he was searched a second time.” He was searched and searched again. The Court of Appeals defines the issue  as “whether the police had the authority to arrest respondent and whether the subsequent search of his shoes was reasonable.” more

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In People v. Joseph, the Court of Appeals holds that Defendant’s Burglary Conviction cannot Stand because the Residential Area of the Building could not be accessed from where he entered.

The Defendant was charged “with one count each of burglary in the second degree (Penal Law § 140.25 [2]), burglary in the third degree (Penal Law § 140.20), resisting arrest (Penal Law § 205.30) and attempted escape in the second degree (Penal Law §§ 110; 205.10 [2]).” Here, the Court of Appeals grapples with whether the Defendant actually committed a burglary as defined by the Penal Law.

The facts are recited by the Court as follows:

On the evening of June 28, 2010, defendant entered the basement of the Greenleaf Deli in Manhattan. The deli was located on the ground floor of a seven-story building, with six floors of residential apartments above it. The basement, which was only accessible through two cellar doors located on the public sidewalk adjacent to the deli, was used to store deli merchandise. There was no access from the basement to any part of the residential units of the building, or to the deli itself. The apartment residents did not have access to the basement and only deli employees were permitted to enter the basement. An employee observed defendant on the deli’s surveillance monitor enter the open doors to the deli basement and walk around the basement with a flashlight. The employee went outside, closed and locked the basement doors and called 911. The police arrived, asked defendant to climb out of the basement, and, after a struggle, arrested him.

The argument put forward, before and during trial, by his defense attorney was that the deli basement was not a dwelling as the law defined it. Indeed, longstanding law holds that “if a building contains a dwelling, a burglary committed in any part of that building is the burglary of a dwelling; but an exception exists where the building is large and the crime is committed in a place so remote and inaccessible from the living quarters that the special dangers inherent in the burglary of a dwelling do not exist.” People v McCray (23 NY3d 621, 625 [2014]).   more

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In People v. Clark, the New York Court of Appeals throw out a first degree murder charges because the People, the prosecutor, did not act diligently in obtaining evidence.

The issue was ” whether the Appellate Division erred in holding that the People were chargeable with the period of delay of 161 days for DNA testing after having failed to exercise due diligence in seeking defendant’s DNA exemplar in order to conduct comparative testing with the DNA obtained by the Office of Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) from the gun that was the subject of weapons offenses charged in the indictment.” Id. at 1

In the end, the Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of the attempted first degree murder indictment on speedy trial grounds. While DNA had been recovered from the gun involved, a swab of the Defendant’s DNA was not taken until nine months after indictment:

CPL 30.30, the “so-called ‘speedy trial’ statute,” is a longstanding fixture in our State’s prosecution of criminal actions and was specifically intended “to address delays occasioned by prosecutorial inaction” (People v McKenna, 76 NY2d 59, 63 [1990]). In 1972, when the legislature enacted CPL 30.30, it was accompanied by a memorandum of the State Executive Department, Crime Control Counsel which declared “the purpose of the bill [is to] ‘promote prompt trials for defendants in criminal cases,'” noting “that ‘[t]he public, defendants and the victims of crimes all have a strong interest in the prompt trial of criminal cases'” (People v Anderson, 66 NY2d 529, 535 n 1 [1985], quoting 1972 McKinney’s Session Laws of NY, at 3259).

“Pursuant to CPL 30.30 (1)(a), the People must be ready for trial within six months of the commencement of a criminal action accusing a defendant of a felony offense” (People v Carter, 91 NY2d 795, 798 [1998]). “CPL 30.30 (4) lists the periods which are to be excluded from the computation of time within which the People are required to be ready” (McKenna, 76 NY2d at 62). CPL 30.30 (4) (g), the statutory provision at issue here, allows the exclusion of “periods of delay occasioned by exceptional circumstances” in obtaining unavailable evidence “material to the people’s case, when the district attorney has exercised due diligence to obtain such evidence” (CPL 30.30 [4] [g]).

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