Articles Posted in Current Events in Criminal Law (New York)

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The Law Office of Matthew Galluzzo is now on Instagram! Follow the adventures of our attorneys and staff as they fight for their clients in state and federal court (and relax after hours).

The Instagram handle is "newyorkdefenselawyers" and we will be updating frequently.

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Defense attorney Matthew Galluzzo recently earned a stunning trial acquittal in a federal sexual abuse case that had been extensively covered in the press. The client, charged with one count each of sexual abuse on an airplane (18 U.S.C. 2244(b)) and assault on an airplane (18 U.S.C. 113(a)(5)), went to trial in Brooklyn federal court (the Eastern District of New York) before Judge Pamela Chen. The jury deliberated about a day and acquitted the client of all charges, accepting his defense that his touching of the complainant had been an involuntary act committed while asleep. Five eyewitnesses testified for the prosecution.

If you or a loved one have been accused of a sex crime, you should strongly consider contacting the experienced criminal defense attorneys at The Law Office of Matthew Galluzzo. In particular, Matthew Galluzzo is a former Manhattan sex crimes prosecutor and widely recognized expert on the investigation, prosecution, and defense of rape and sexual assault charges.

Some articles about the case from the press:

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Many professionals – especially those that work in the finance industry – are unpleasantly surprised when records of a prior case they believed to be sealed pursuant to an ACD have been discovered by prospective employers who conduct background checks. This is often accompanied by embarrassing and/or devastating consequences. How can this happen if the case was “sealed,” and what, if anything, can be done?

First, some background: When you are arrested for any state crime (such as misdemeanor shoplifting, theft of services, assault, or possession of drugs), you get fingerprinted by the police, which creates an “arrest event” in the system. If this is your first time being arrested, it also creates a New York State ID number (“NYSID”) which is associated with your fingerprints (some individuals who work in sensitive industries like law enforcement, finance/securities, and teaching may have already been issued a NYSID for certification). The arrest event not only contains your fingerprints, but also some details about your case – namely, the date, time, precinct of arrest, and the criminal charge(s) as designated by the arresting officer. The arrest event is then simultaneously sent to both the Division of Criminal Justice Services (the New York state agency responsible for the maintenance of criminal records) and the Federal Bureau of Investigations, which maintains a database of criminal records from across the country called the “Interstate Identification Index.”

An ACD (adjournment in contemplation of dismissal, as described by New York Criminal Procedure Law Sections 170.50 and 170.55) is typically a great result for a criminal defendant; all the defendant has to do is stay out of trouble for a measure of time and possibly perform some community service, then the case is dismissed and sealed pursuant to CPL Section 160.55. The problem is that the authority for this sealing provision is found in state law, and does not govern the conduct of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which maintains its own database of criminal records. Thus, when the state agency updates its records after ACD dismissal, there is no guarantee that the federal database will also be updated to reflect the sealing of the case. Certain individuals (like FINRA professionals) are screened by employment checks against this federal database, to which FINRA has access. Thus, unless affirmative steps are taken to ensure that the FBI database is updated to reflect the dismissal and sealing of the state law charges, there is no reason to have any confidence that a background check of a FINRA professional will be “safe” for a professional that has received an ACD.

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Matthew Galluzzo, a former Manhattan sex crimes prosecutor, recently appeared on MSNBC to talk about whether the women currently accusing Donald Trump of sexual assault should be discredited on account of the delay in their reporting.

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Matthew Galluzzo, a criminal defense attorney, after a six week trial in the Bronx, recently convinced a jury to acquit his defendant of the most serious murder charge on the indictment. The client was instead convicted of a lesser manslaughter charge, meaning that he will not be facing the life sentence that he would have faced upon a conviction for murder. Sentencing is scheduled for August 11, 2016.

A link to a news report about the case is available below. If you or your a loved one is facing homicide-related charges, you should seriously consider retaining the services of The Law Office of Matthew Galluzzo.

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On March 23, Matthew Galluzzo appeared on Fox 5 as an expert legal commentator to discuss the Brooklyn District Attorney’s decision to recommend a non-jail sentence for Peter Liang, a former police officer convicted of manslaughter for accidentally killing Akai Gurley in a Brooklyn housing project.

A link to the TV segment and interview is available here:

DA: No prison for Peter Liang in manslaughter of Akai Gurley

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One of the great things about New York City is that a fun night of partying can be had relatively safely because taxis are so readily available to drive residents home. The proliferation of Uber has also made it easier for people without cash on hand to get a ride home after a night of drinking. However, sometimes, people having a good time in the city get into taxis without realizing that they don’t have any way of paying for the taxi – either they don’t have enough cash on hand or they have forgotten their wallet at the bar. It is a common and honest mistake made time and again by law-abiding citizens and professionals in New York City. What is surprising to most people, however, is that this mistake routinely results in a criminal arrest that can have serious immigration and job consequences for the person that made the innocent mistake.

Though it seems like a simple and small matter that ought to be handled civilly, taxi drivers typically will call police or drive their passengers to police precincts for arrest. There, police officers will typically arrest the passengers and fingerprint them and give them Desk Appearance Tickets charging them with one count of Theft of Services, a class A misdemeanor in violation of Penal Law Section 165.15 (PL 165.15). Recently, the stepdaughter of Attorney General Loretta Lynch was arrested for this mistake (though the arrest was ultimately voided when her boyfriend came to the precinct and paid her fare), and the attorneys at the Law Office of Matthew Galluzzo have represented dozens of people charged criminally under this scenario.

A conviction for a misdemeanor gives a person a permanent criminal record and potentially carries a maximum jail sentence of one year. However, this is not a typical result for most individuals arrested and charged with Theft of Services (PL 165.15). It should be noted that a person is only guilty of this crime if he or she intends to withhold payment for taxi services – in most of these cases, the failure to pay is an accident, and not intentional. That being said, the arrest itself can have serious consequences for some professionals and non-citizens.

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Bill Cosby was arrested and arraigned on December 30, 2015 for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman in his home in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania in 2004. The arrest comes just days before the 12-year statute of limitation was set to expire for the crime. This case represents probably the only criminal prosecution that Bill Cosby is likely to ever face, despite the dozens of women that have come forward in the past fourteen months to claim that they were sexually assaulted by the famous actor/comedian.

The complainant, Andrea Constand (she has chosen to public identify herself), is a Canadian and former Temple University basketball player. In 2004, she was a Temple University employee that had sought out Bill Cosby’s mentorship. He allegedly made a couple of sexual advance on Ms. Constand that were rejected; indeed, it has been asserted that Ms. Constant is gay and was in a relationship with a woman at that time. Eventually, Ms. Constand went to Mr. Cosby’s home in Montgomery County, PA, and there, it is alleged that he gave her what he claimed were “herbal pills” that caused her to become incapacitated. Then, he allegedly sexually assaulted her.

Ms. Constand complained to a prosecutor in the ensuing year, but the prosecutor declined to press charges against Mr. Cosby, citing, among other things, that her accounts of the incident were allegedly inconsistent. Ms. Constand subsequently sued Mr. Cosby in civil court, and the matter eventually settled for an undisclosed amount.

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Recently, we have encountered several people wrongfully arrested by the police for allegedly groping or grinding people in the Times Square area. Typical charges for these types of arrests include the Class A misdemeanor Forcible Touching (PL 130.52) and Class B misdemeanor Sexual Abuse in the Third Degree (PL 130.55). Sometimes individuals arrested for these charges receive Desk Appearance Tickets and are told to come back to court on a later date, and sometimes they spend a night in jail before seeing a judge for their arraignment.

Times Square is obviously very crowded with pedestrian traffic, and individuals often bump into each other accidentally. This is especially so near the “kiss-cams” and associated video screens in Times Square, as people often clamor and jockey for position so that they can see themselves on the giant screens up above. Police officers monitor these areas in view of the cameras and have seemingly made several wrongful arrests of individuals who were simply trying to see themselves on the screen and inadvertently brushed into someone else. Fortunately, these cases can be defended at trial, as there is frequently no videotape to corroborate police officer observations, and the crowds make clear viewing angles almost impossible.

These charges can be extremely serious, however. As much as one year of jail time is a possible result, as is potential registration as a sex offender. Moreover, these charges can have very serious negative consequences or non-citizens, such as deportation.

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Appeals (440.10) for Sex Offenders that were Civilly Committed without Being Advised by their Attorneys of That Possibility

Under CPL 440.10, a defendant can ask the trial court that accepted the guilty plea to vacate the conviction if the defendant did not receive the effective assistance of counsel in some way that was not apparent from the trial record. Typical claims of this sort tend to focus on attorney conflicts of interest, failure to advise clients on the immigration consequences of their pleas, failure to interview witnesses or investigate leads, or failing to communicate plea bargain offers.

Article 10 of the New York Mental Health and Hygiene Law gives the state the power to seek the civil commitment of certain convicted sex offenders following their release from prison. In short, a sex offender can serve his sentence for his sex crime but still be kept in custody against his will if it is proven, by a preponderance of the evidence, that he has a “congenital or acquired condition, disease or disorder that affects the emotional, cognitive, or volitional capacity of a person in a manner that predisposes him or her to the commission of conduct constituting a sex offense and that results in that person having serious difficulty in controlling such conduct.”

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