CAL in the Courts

The postings below present recent noteworthy CAL court appearances and case outcomes. Please use the Contact Us inquiry form if you'd like further information about any of these cases.

Client's Sentence Reduced by 20 Years
On April 25, 2017, the Appellate Division, First Department, ordered that CAL client C.F.’s sentence be reduced by 20 years. Originally sentenced to consecutive terms of 25-life and 20-life for separate robberies, C.F. asked the court to order the sentences to run concurrently in the interest of justice. The court agreed, reducing the sentence from an aggregate term of 45-life to one of 25-life. It also dismissed as an inclusory, concurrent count a third-degree robbery conviction. Our client was represented by Kate Skolnick.
Client's SORA Level Reduced
On April 21st, a Manhattan judge, at a SORA registration hearing, granted a downward departure to Level 1 for our client TA after the Board of Examiners of Sex Offenders had recommended a Level 2. The judge agreed that Mr. A did not intentionally target someone who was underage  and that his risk of re-offense was low. Mr. A was represented by Molly Schindler.
First Department Rules in Client's Favor
On April 13, 2017, the Appellate Division, First Department held that our client FD did not have to register in New York State as a sex offender. Mr. D was convicted in Virginia of murdering his young half-sister and served 25 years in prison. The crime did not involve any sexual motivation or conduct. As a result of the conviction, he was registered on Virginia’s “Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry.” Upon his release from prison, he moved to New York City to live with his father. The SORA registration statute requires individuals who move to New York to register as sex offenders if they have a felony conviction  that requires them to register as a sex offender in another state.  As recognized by the appellate court, “[u]nder these particular circumstances, requiring defendant to register as a sex offender is not rationally related to the protection of the public from sex offenders, or to any other legitimate governmental purpose, and the application of [the SORA registration law] to defendant violates his rights to substantive due process.” Our client was represented by Abigail Everett and Natasha Chokani.
Client's Conviction Reversed, Accusatory Instrument Dismissed
On April 10, 2017, the Appellate Term, First Department, reversed the conviction of CAL client DB and dismissed the accusatory instrument. DB had been accused of fifth-degree possession of stolen property and petit larceny for clocking out a co-worker from work on a single date. However, there was no allegation that he had clocked in the co-worker. On that set of facts, there was no basis for finding reasonable cause to believe that he had committed an act aimed at depriving his employer of any wages. Kate Skolnick represented DB.
Client's Conviction Reversed on Speedy Trial Grounds
On March 29, 2017, the Appellate Term, First Department, reversed the conviction of CAL client DO and dismissed the accusatory instrument.  DO had been accused of driving while intoxicated.  However, a 43-month delay between DO’s arrest and his plea of guilty was found to be excessive, in violation of DO’s constitutional right of a speedy trial, on account of the simple nature of the charges and the lack of a good reason for the delay.  Hunter Haney represented DO.  
Client's SORA Level Reduced
The Appellate Division, First Department granted CAL client AW a rare downward departure in his SORA level on appeal, from the recommended level 3 to a level 2. The court cited, among other reasons, our client's extraordinary demonstrated rehabiliation and educational accomplishments that he achieved while incarcerated, including multiple college degrees and many succesful rehabilitative programs. Our client was represented by Abigail Everett. 
Client's Conviction Reversed and Dismissed
On March 15, 2017, the Appellate Division, First Department, reversed and dismissed CAL client H.F.’s harassment conviction. The court held that the complainant’s testimony that “defendant apparently mistook her for someone else, and ‘grazed’ her arm, from her mid-shoulder to her hand, after which she walked away, did not support an inference that defendant intended to harass, annoy, or alarm her.” Brittany Francis represented our client. 
Client's Conviction Reversed, New Trial Ordered
On March 15, 2017, the Appellate Division, First Department, reversed CAL client TT’s second-degree robbery conviction. The four-judge majority held that the court’s supplemental instructions on the interplay between accomplice liability and two different theories of robbery failed to cure the confusion that the jury expressed in repeatedly submitting notes requesting clarification on “shared state of mind.” Because of the faulty charge conflating the questions of whether each defendant separately had the intent to forcibly steal property, there could be no assurance that the jury did not find TT guilty of no more than simple assault and his co-defendant guilty of no more than petit larceny. It thus found the trial unfair and ordered a new one. Kate Skolnick and Sharmeen Mazumder represented TT.
Client's Marijuana Conviction Thrown Out
On Feb. 10, 2017, the Appellate Term reversed and dismissed the marijuana possession conviction for CAL client JD. The court agreed with JD’s argument that the complaint did not establish the “public place” element of fifth-degree marijuana possession where all that was pleaded was that Mr. D was “across from” an address. Rather than remand for further proceedings on the remaining count, unlawful possession of marijuana, the court dismissed the entire accusatory instrument. Kate Skolnick represented JD.”
Client's Conviction Reversed
On February 7, 2017, the Appellate Division, First Department reversed EB’s first-degree assault conviction due to a jury charge error. EB, who was charged with both attempted murder and first-degree assault, asserted self-defense at trial. The jury acquitted EB of attempted murder and convicted him of assault; however, the lower court never told the jury that if it acquitted EB of the top count because he was justified, it must not consider the lesser count. The Appellate Division agreed that because the jury may have acquitted EB of attempted murder based on justification, the assault conviction must be reversed in the interest of justice. Rachel T. Goldberg represented our client.