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Don Murray
206 followers -
New York City Criminal Defense Attorney
New York City Criminal Defense Attorney

206 followers
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Launched updated Desk Appearance Ticket information site today.  Check it out at www.desk-appearance-ticket.com.  New adaptive site magically transforms to size of screen.  Have a look at it on a phone and see the cool little overlay at the bottom providing quick links to email, phone, map and such.  Updated the content a bit too, fixed some broken links...

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Always thought it would be fun to respond like this to a silly plea offer from the Government:

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Here is a link to an article with some thoughts about a recent experience I had with a robbery case where we were able to show my client's actual innocence in the face of an eyewitness identification.  Prosecutor dismissed case.

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Strange choice by prosecutors even to bring this case from what I know of it at least. Driving under the influence of Ambien? Really? Their theory was she took a sleeping pill on purpose before driving? I'm surprised then that they didn't charge her with attempted suicide. Unless there was something about case which hasn't made it public, which is doubtful, the person responsible for the decision to pursue the case owes an explanation to the community for devoting substantial government resources to such a case, not to mention requiring community members to entertain the case as jurors. Misdemeanor cases are almost never, ever tried to a jury in Westchester. Funny that USA today article writes that the defense had the choice to try the case to a judge. Why on earth would that choice have been made? We have a jury system for a reason. The more interesting question is why is it that all misdemeanor cases that are tried in Westchester are not jury trials. 

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Updated look to website with focus on misdemeanor cases in NewYork City. Just went live yesterday.

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Updated arraignments site has launched. 

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Here's a complete copy of the Stop and Frisk decision related to the NYPD.  As a criminal defense lawyer in New York City, I suppose it is tempting to trumpet this decision as a blow for the cause of justice.  Nevertheless, I can't help but think that the practical effect of this decision and even its remedial aspects will be barely noticeable.  No doubt there will be controversy.  No doubt there will be those who will complain about the runaway courts hampering the ability of the police to keep criminals at bay.  No doubt there will be those who raise their fists in the air in triumph.  But in terms of the day to day life of the City and the way the police interact with non-police, I can't say that anything about this decision is going to have much of an impact.  The decision at its heart seems less about a triumph of justice over injustice than it is about the ability to collect and objectively analyze data.  

The analysis of the police data kept on stops, for example, attempted to draw conclusions about the lawfulness of individual stops based on the depth of information kept on these reports.  Many of these reports were judged to be evidence of unconstitutional stops, when in fact, I suppose, at least some of them were simply not filled out by police officers with an impressive attention to detail.  In other words, if the police officers paid greater attention to the details of filling out these reports, I imagine that the conclusions about the stops' unconstitutionality might well have been different.  The big problem faced by the Judge was data in two respects: 1) the collection of data; and 2) the analysis of data.  The Judge herself was sensitive to the issue of the subjectivity of the analysis of the data, essentially suggesting at the beginning of the opinion that she did the best she could.

I think people overestimate how "difficult" it is for the police to engage people.  People tend to underestimate just how many things are illegal and would justify the police in engaging them.  Take driving, for example.  Want to make an army of enemies while driving anywhere in New York?  Easy.  Drive the speed limit or less.  Virtually everyone behind the wheel of a car in New York is subject to being engaged by the police at some level virtually every day.

Ride a bicycle on a sidewalk?  You can be stopped.  Set foot in a park after dark?  You can be stopped.  Smoking a cigarette in a park?  You can be stopped.  The list goes on and on.  We are buried in a sea of regulations, many of them more serious than most people know.  We are all offenders of some regulation just about every single day.

I'm all for the police being required to obey laws and constitutional principles.  But I don't think there is any guarantee that this decision is going to have any impact on the problems that it seems to have identified.  This decision is likely to be vilified by the Police as a disaster for law enforcement, in much the same way as the Miranda decision is vilified as a disaster for law enforcement.  The truth is, of course, that Miranda was probably the best thing that ever happened to the police as concerns interrogation rules, and has virtually no impact in the real world on the police.  I suspect that this decision will not result in much of a difference either.
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