Big week for the firm of Robert L. Greenberg, P.C.
We convinced the Bronx District Attorney’s Office to decline to prosecute in a case involving possession of a controlled substance–our client’s own prescriptions, in his own home.
Later in the week the Brooklyn DA’s Office dismissed all the charges in another case. In that case, our client was arrested for Felony Burglary as a Domestic Violence charge, and now is a free man.
These are only possible with zealous advocacy. Let our firm do this for you too. We’re only a phone call away: (800) 3-RLG-LAW.
Four years ago, a Kansas man donated sperm, but now the courts want him to pay child support.
Another example of how technology is several steps ahead of law, because these questions have yet to be fully answered. If he is “just” a sperm donor, he is not on the hook—or so we thought.
Nearly four years ago, Marotta donated sperm in a plastic cup to a lesbian couple after responding to an ad they had placed on Craigslist.
Marotta and the women, Topekans Angela Bauer and Jennifer Schreiner, signed an agreement holding him harmless for support of the child, a daughter Schreiner bore after being artificially inseminated.
But the Kansas Department for Children and Families is now trying to have Marotta declared the 3-year-old girl’s father and forced to pay child support. The case is scheduled for a Jan. 8 hearing in Shawnee County District Court.
If Marotta were declared the father, would that eliminate Bauer’s obligations to the child? This will be an interesting case to follow, but is also an important lesson for future donors. If it is held that the donors are liable for the child’s costs, then donations will necessarily plummet. Another example of basic economic incentives at work: If the costs of donations increase, then donations will decrease.
The U.S. Marine Corps will now be conducting regular, random breath alcohol tests. Marines will be required to submit to a breathalyzer test and those who register a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .01 or greater will receive counseling. Greater than .04 and a medical exam will be ordered.
In most states, the (BAC) to be considered “drunk” for DWI or DUI is .08.
The military has been conducting regular, random urine drug testing for years. These measures help to ensure the safety of those in the combat zone. A soldier, sailor, airman, marine, or coast guardsman who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a danger to those around him or her.
Regular, random testing of those in safety-sensitive positions ensures a drug-free workplace.
New Jersey has finally opened its first medical marijuana clinic in Montclair. The Greenleaf Compassion Center (great name) opened its doors to the first twenty patients on December 6, 2012.
The legal wrangling between the federal and state laws around marijuana continues on, but people can now legally—under NJ law—get a remedy recommended by their physicians.
This is why all defendants are innocent until proven guilty:
Police said Lynette Lee admitted to a Clarksville detective last week the rape claim she had made earlier in the month was false. She said she had only made the claim because she did not enjoy the date.
Without a capable and competent attorney, these cases get lost in the system and innocent people are railroaded into guilty pleas to crimes they did not commit.
We at Robert L. Greenberg, P.C. are able to handle your case 24/7/365. Call us toll free at (800) 3-RLG-LAW.
The DOT has announced that marijuana is still not allowed for truck drivers and others in safety-sensitive positions. This is not a surprise, but the DOT felt that it was important to reinforce the message in light of recent state-level marijuana legalization efforts.
Just as alcohol is legal, those in trucking, bus driving, and commercial driving know that consuming alcohol will get you a DWI or DUI arrest. Even in states that have legal marijuana, driving high will get you in trouble with the authorities, and DOT testing will continue to test for marijuana.
The Bronx District Attorney’s Office has declined to prosecute more cases than the other New York City District Attorney’s Offices. Declining to prosecute cases that cannot be proven, where witnesses are uncooperative, or where the cases are almost certain to be dismissed at a later date is a good policy.
Declining to prosecute these cases means that an arrest has been made, but the cases are not docketed with the court and that the defendants are set free immediately. By comparison, a dismissal happens after a case is docketed and the defendant is brought to court.
Rights of the Accused Come First
The Anglo-American criminal justice system is designed to protect the rights of the accused. The victim does have certain rights in the system, but the priority is the it is better for 10 guilty men go free than for one guilty one to go to jail.
Worrying about the victim must be secondary to the concern about prosecuting individuals who cannot be proven guilty. Without cooperating witnesses, there is no way the cases can be proven. To argue that these cases, which will be thrown out later, should be prosecuted anyway only displays the ignorance of the criminal justice system. What purpose does it serve to take a person who cannot be proven guilty, and drag them through court, cost them lost work hours, and make them bear the expense of a defense attorney (or the taxpayer expense of a public defender or assigned counsel)?
It is a Waste of Judicial Resources
It is a waste of judicial resources and prosecutorial resources to prosecute cases that go nowhere.
Cases that are “put through” are docketed by the court, arraigned, and require the accused to be housed and fed by the police and court officers pending the arraignment. After arraignment—if bail is set—the accused may be imprisoned in the city jails at Riker’s Island, and all defendants must come back to court several times until their cases get dismissed. The DA’s offices, public defenders, and courts are swamped with too many cases. Adding more cases, all of which will be eventually dismissed, is a waste of limited judicial resources.
Waste of Police Resources?
Much of Ailsa Chang’s argument is that it is a waste of police resources to throw out these arrests. That is not true. Firstly, it is the responsibility of the prosecutors to ensure justice, not to worry about whether the police money is being properly spent. Secondly, wasting judicial resources would be throwing good money after bad.
It is, however, a waste of police resources to make bad arrests. It is a waste to make arrests, but not do proper investigations and not be able to bring an alleged victim to the district attorney within 24 hours of an arrest. The NYPD, despite the hard work of their officers, does not train their officers how to properly conduct these investigations and work with the DA’s offices to ensure that these cases “stick.” The prevailing culture of the NYPD is such that once an arrest is made, the police officer is done. Investigations are not done as a matter of course, the cooperation of the witnesses is never taken into account when making arrests.
The article quotes Eugene O’Donnell, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, saying that “with the limited resources this city has . . . the police can’t afford to make so many arrests that go nowhere.” That is true, but the answer to this is better policing and full investigations before arrest.
These Cases are Bad
The truth is that because the victims are uncooperative, these arrests can go nowhere.
The article quotes:
WNYC first asked [Chief ADA Odalys] Alonso in late 2011 why her office has the highest decline-to-prosecute rate in the city. She said it’s because her office is just more careful in the beginning about weeding out cases that don’t fly – such as an improper arrest, sloppy police paperwork or weak evidence. . . . Almost half of all the cases dropped by her office were thrown out because the victim didn’t cooperate.
The article focuses on the 24-hour rule and how that is not enough time. What matters is the level of cooperation of the witnesses. No rule is written in stone and prosecutor discretion allows the office to wait longer if the need arises. Prosecutorial discretion also allows the cases to be brought back later if circumstances arise.
The second part of the article, focuses on the “stop snitchin’” attitude prevalent in places like the Bronx, but it does not change the DA’s responsibility to prosecute only those cases with merit. Even those cases mentioned in the article have victims that are not cooperating. Chang argues that since other DA’s press charges that they know will eventually be dismissed, the Bronx should do it as well. If the charges cannot “stick,” they should not be brought in the first place.
District Attorney Robert Johnson is right to focus on the cases that can be proven. It is only be trying those cases that the office can demonstrate its commitment to justice. It is that commitment and its demonstration that can end the stop snitchin’ culture. When the guilty get punished with the help of the community, the community sees that the district attorney’s offices, the police, and the people are all on the same side.
Prosecuting bad cases only undermines the authority of the law. The interests of justice demand that prosecutors exercise their discretion and decline or dismiss those cases that cannot be proven.
Who will inherit your digital content? Your iTunes library, your Amazon Kindle and Nook e-books, etc.?
MarketWatch has an article describing how people must consider these things when doing their estate planning. Last year I wrote about passwords living on after one’s passing, but now there may be ways to pass on your libraries directly.
New York has updated its Assault 2 law to include a new class of worker: Sanitation. This means that an assault on a sanitation worker, bus driver, etc. is an automatic felony. An assault on a regular “civilian” is still an assault 3, and thus an A misdemeanor. While I do not condone assaults on sanitation workers, creating special classes of people is a dangerous slippery slope.
Of course, one group of New York State and New York City employees missing from the list of “special” groups in the Assault 2 statute? Assistant District Attorneys. Assaulting them is still just a misdemeanor. I always had that in the back of my mind when I worked night duty at the DA’s Office.