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Bronx civil rights lawyerf you have suffered a constitutional rights violation at the hands of the police or any other branch of city or county government in New York, you may be eligible to file a claim for damages in federal court. The U.S. Constitution guarantees certain rights to each person, including:

  • The First Amendment right to freedom of speech and expression.
  • The Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure.
  • The Fourteenth Amendment protections that no state shall “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law ” nor “deny any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Filing a Section 1983 Claim Against a Local Government Entity 

Federal law 42 U.S.C. § 1983 provides that both a municipal government employee and the employing government body can be held liable for damages when said employee violates your constitutional rights while acting “under color of law” and in keeping with the “custom, practice, or policy” of the employer. You can make a claim for:

  • Compensatory damages to compensate you for actual financial losses incurred.  
  • Punitive damages to punish egregious wrongdoing and deter similar wrongful acts in the future.
  • Injunctive relief, which requires the defendant to take or refrain from certain actions.
  • Payment of attorney fees if you win your case.

If you believe your rights have been violated, it is critical to speak with an attorney very quickly. Although you will be filing a lawsuit in federal court, the statute of limitations for Section 1983 claims is set by each state. In New York, the statute of limitations is three years from the date of the incident in which your rights were violated. However, if you plan to bring a claim against any city agency, you must notify the city of your claim within 90 days of the incident.


Queens civil rights violation litigation lawyerThe use of physical force to control other people is part of the daily life of New York City police and corrections officers. They must break up fights, restrain arrestees, and handle people who are drunk, drugged, or violently resistant. In some cases, an officer must use extreme force, and the person being restrained may suffer serious injury. Such cases may result in a civil lawsuit arising from the claim that the police officer committed a federal civil rights violation by using excessive force.

However, the mere fact that an injury occurred is not, in itself, proof that an officer used excessive force. The difference between reasonable force and excessive force depends on the totality of the circumstances at the scene.

Consequences for Federal Civil Rights Violations

When a law enforcement or corrections officer is accused of using excessive force, the officer can face multiple consequences including:


Brooklyn assault charge defense attorneyIf you have been arrested on assault charges in New York City, you could be facing either a misdemeanor conviction for Third Degree Assault or a felony conviction for First or Second Degree Assault (NYPL 120.00 to 120.10). With the help of a good defense lawyer and some creative thinking, however, you may be able to beat these charges.

Here are five possible defense strategies to discuss with your criminal defense attorney:

  1. Lack of physical injury. If you can show that the victim exaggerated the effect of the assault and suffered no injury all, you may be able to have the charges dismissed. 
  2. Lack of serious physical injury. If you can show that the victim suffered only the most minor of injuries, your attorney may be able to get a felony charge reduced to a misdemeanor. A felony charge requires serious physical injury or, in the alternative, some kind of special circumstance, such as the use of a dangerous weapon. “Serious physical injury” means protracted impairment of health or of any bodily organ, or serious protracted disfigurement, or an injury that creates a substantial risk of death (NY Penal Law 10.00). 
  3. Lack of intent. For a felony assault charge to stick, you must have had intent to cause injury to the victim. If you can show that you did not have that intent, and this can be demonstrated through the corroboration of witnesses, you may be able to avoid a conviction. For misdemeanor assault, you must have caused injury by intent, recklessness, or criminal negligence. Again, if you can convincingly describe the encounter as accidental or unintentional, you may be able to avoid being convicted.
  4. Inaccurate identification. When a fight breaks out in a crowd, and multiple people are throwing punches, a victim may incorrectly identify the person who actually hit them. Your attorney may be able to find witnesses or video recordings that prove that someone else was the person who actually injured the victim.
  5. Lying victim. Completely false accusations are not unheard of. For example, one spouse might try to get the upper hand in a bitter divorce dispute by claiming that they or their children were assaulted by the other spouse. In one case which our attorneys successfully defended, the person making accusations of assault said he was attacked by the defendant, but the defendant claimed self-defense. Security video recordings proved that the man claiming to be the victim had actually been lying in wait to ambush the defendant. 

As you can see, there are a variety of ways to construct a defense when you have been charged with assault. A savvy criminal defense attorney will carefully examine the evidence in your case and recommend the best approach for your unique circumstances.


Manhattan criminal defense attorney assaultIn response to numerous assaults committed with ceramic blades by inmates at Rikers Island, local correctional facilities in the state of New York may again use low-dose ionizing radiation body scanners to search inmates for weapons, effective January 30, 2019.

These body scanners, which use the same type of radiation as medical X-ray machines but at lower doses, are able to detect small weapons such as ceramic blades that do not set off metal detectors. Prior to 2015, some New York corrections facilities used X-ray scanners to screen inmates for weapons. The practice was halted in 2015 due to the health risk posed by exposure to radiation.  

After weighing the risk of low-dose radiation exposure against the risk posed by undetected weapons in corrections facilities, New York state legislators decided in favor of allowing X-ray screening of inmates. They were swayed by reports of assaults in which inmates wielding ceramic blades caused severe slashing injuries to other inmates or corrections officers. In New York City alone, over 100 such assaults were reported in 2017, including 11 incidents in which a corrections officer was stabbed, slashed, or cut. 


Manhattan prescription drug charges lawyerNew Yorkers with leftover prescription drugs will now have safer options for discarding them, thanks to the state’s new Drug Take Back Act that went into effect on January 6, 2019. Lawmakers hope that one effect of this law will be to curtail drug possession crimes involving unlawful possession of prescription narcotics (e.g., oxycodone and fentanyl) or other prescription drugs that are commonly resold and misused (e.g., ADHD drugs like Ritalin and Adderall).

The Problems Created by Leftover Prescription Drugs

When someone is prescribed a powerful medication such as an opioid pain reliever, they are often left with extra pills that they did not need or preferred not to take. In some cases, these pills are flushed down the toilet by someone who does not realize the harm these drugs can do to freshwater supplies and aquatic life. In other cases, these pills find their way into new, unauthorized hands and contribute to the epidemic of opioid addiction and death by overdose that has plagued this nation over the past few years. 

Various efforts were made to deal with this problem on a piecemeal and voluntary basis, such as drug drop-off points at police stations, local “drug take back” days, and collection stations at some hospitals and pharmacies. However, many believe that much more could be and needed to be done. The New York state legislature addressed this problem with the passage of the Drug Take Back Act during its 2017-2018 session, which added Article 2-B sections 290-294 and amended section 3343-b of the Public Health Law.


Brooklyn DWI defense attorney out of state arrestIt is not uncommon for a New York resident to get arrested for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) while driving in another state. However, most people do not understand the consequences of an out-of-state DWI on their life in New York.

An out-of-state DWI conviction can affect many aspects of your life, including:

  • Your New York driver’s license
  • Your current and future employment, particularly in civil service jobs
  • Professional licensure, if you are a healthcare professional or work in another occupation that requires a state-issued license
  • Your auto insurance rates
  • A criminal record that will appear on background checks

For the purposes of this article, the term DWI includes driving while ability impaired by drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol. 


Brooklyn drug court attorneyDrug possession and use crimes remain a major problem for New York City. Some parks in the Bronx are so heavily strewn with used hypodermic needles that the grounds are unsafe for visitors. Heroin addicts can be seen shooting up inside Manhattan subway stations. Overdose deaths due to opioids such as heroin and fentanyl have skyrocketed to an estimated 1,500 per year in New York City.

As prison sentences have failed to stem illegal drug possession, alternative programs such as drug treatment courts have been created. Most of these programs have now been operating in NYC for 10 to 15 years.

How the NYC Drug Treatment Court Program Works

If you have been arrested for a non-violent crime in New York City and you have a substance use disorder (alcoholism or drug addiction), the first thing you should do is seek the advice of an experienced drug court lawyer. Your lawyer can explain your legal options and advise you as to whether a drug court program might be a good option for you.


Brooklyn criminal lawyer arrest arraignmentIf you are arrested and charged with a crime in New York City, you are probably going to hear a lot of terms that you may not understand, such as court summons, desk appearance ticket, and arraignment. If you are facing a minor offense, such as unlawful possession of marijuana, you will typically get a court summons. If you are arrested for a theft offense, you might get a desk appearance ticket. If you are charged with a violent crime, such as rape or murder, you will face an arraignment. Let us explain each of these terms in more depth:

Criminal Court Summons

If the police catch you in possession of 25 grams or less of marijuana in New York City, you have broken a state law--at least until the state broadly legalizes marijuana. Because this is a minor offense, it is classified as a "violation" of the law, not a misdemeanor crime or a felony crime. For a violation, the police will not arrest you and take you to the police station. Instead, you will be issued a pink ticket--a criminal court summons--charging you with unlawful possession of marijuana. The NYPD will also issue a criminal court summons for a violation such as disorderly conduct, trespassing, or carrying an open container of alcohol.

Here are three things you need to know about a criminal court summons:


Bronx marijuana possession defense attorneyNew York City arrests for drug crimes involving cannabis will soon be a thing of the past. New York came close to legalizing marijuana use by all adults in 2018 and is expected to complete the process in 2019.

One of the first moves in favor of broadly legalizing adult marijuana use was taken by Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance on May 15, 2018. He announced that as of August 1, 2018, his office would no longer prosecute criminal cases where the only charge is minor marijuana possession or public smoking.

In June, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio issued an official statement that New York police would stop arresting and fingerprinting people for the sole offense of smoking marijuana in public. While public marijuana use is a class B misdemeanor crime under New York state law, as of September 1, 2018, offenders would receive a criminal court summons for unlawful possession of marijuana (25g or less). The summons requires a court appearance, but because the charge is only a violation, the maximum penalty is a fine of $100 for a first offense and $200 for a second offense. In addition, a violation does not leave the offender with a criminal drug conviction on their record.


NYC criminal defense lawyer police drone surveillanceAt least 910 law enforcement and fire/emergency agencies across the U.S. now use drones, a figure that more than doubled from 2016 to 2018. Among them is the New York Police Department, which announced the formation of a new group specifically to handle drones on December 4, 2018.

The NYPD’s Technical Assistance Response Unit (TARU) will oversee the new team of 29 specially-trained officers and 14 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). TARU’s primary job is to provide audiovisual surveillance technology and services to the entire NYPD, and their efforts will likely play a large role in many criminal defense cases.

Uses of Drones for Law Enforcement in New York City

The NYPD plans to use their drones for purposes such as:


NYC domestic violence charges defense attorneyIf you have been charged with a crime of domestic violence, one of your biggest concerns might be, "Will I end up in prison?" If you are incarcerated, you are not earning an income. You cannot care for your children and other family members. You could even lose your home and car if you cannot keep up the payments.

Fortunately, the state of New York has recognized that it has a vested interest in breaking the cycle of domestic violence. It is not enough to help victims of abuse after the fact. Alleged batterers must also be addressed. While everyone must be held accountable for their own actions, when people accused of domestic violence are incarcerated, they are not able to earn their own living, pay taxes, and meet other financial obligations, such as paying child support.

The Option of Interim Probation Supervision in NYC

If you have been charged with a domestic violence crime such as harassment, menacing, stalking, or assault of an intimate partner or family member, incarceration is one of the possible sentences. However, a skilled criminal defense attorney may be able to negotiate for you to receive interim probation supervision.


Tuesday has been a huge day in the history of our country and it will certainly be remembered that way. The White House took two seismic hits that could bring down the President of the United States. Paul Manafort was found guilty of eight felonies by a jury of his peers in Virginia, while the President's long-time fixer, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to eight felony offenses, admitting he acted "in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office." Make no mistake about it, he was talking about the now-President of the United States. Read More

(CNN) - A week that began with bad news closed with worse news for President Donald Trump. According to the New York Times, the Manhattan district attorney's office is currently investigating the Trump Organization. In particular, they are examining the source of the payment to porn star Stormy Daniels, and whether any laws were violated in the payout or reimbursement of Michael Cohen, who paid Daniels the $130,000 in question to buy her silence.\r\n\r\nEarlier this week, in a Virginia courtroom, Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign chairman, was convicted on eight felonies relating to fraud. Shockingly, the President's response to Manfort's conviction was to call him a "brave man" for whom he feels very "sad." Read More

(CNN) - Yet another black man dead, and yet another police officer exonerated for killing him. Seems a lot like deja vu. Haven't we seen this tragic movie before - all over the country? When investigated, the police are not indicted. And when indicted, they are not convicted. The venue this time -- Minnesota; the victim, motorist Philando Castile.\r\n\r\nSo what did Castile do that led to this tragic fate? He was driving with a broken tail light while supposedly fitting the description of a robbery suspect. His girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, was in the passenger seat while her 4-year-old daughter was in the back. Upon being stopped, he reported to Officer Jeronimo Yanez that he had a firearm on him. Thereafter, when attempting to produce his driver's license as instructed, and trying to unbuckle his seat belt to do so, he was shot dead in a hail of seven bullets. ..Read More

Almost a decade after the apparent suicide of "DC Madam" Deborah Jeane Palfrey, her story finally gets its own docuseries episode on HLN. As part of the network’s series How It Really Happened with Hill Harper, HLN premieres the episode "DC Madam: The Woman Who Knew Too Much" Friday at 9 p.m. The hour-long episode will delve into the controversial life and mysterious death of Palfrey, who ran an escort service that catered to DC’s elite. Before her death, she threatened to expose the names on her client list, which some suspect may have included more than 10,000 names. Criminal defense attorney and CNN/HLN legal analyst Joey Jackson, who is featured in the episode, spoke to Washingtonian about what makes this such a compelling story. Read More

(CNN) - Yet another seismic shift has occurred at Fox News, as conservative talk show host Bill O'Reilly is officially out amid a sea of sexual harassment allegations. And people are asking some important questions, like: Why did it take so long for the company to act on allegations of harassment that had been developing for years? And why did Fox pay O'Reilly tens of millions of dollars to leave?

This follows Roger Ailes' exit this past July, with allegations that sound eerily similar. It is said that one reaps what they sow. And given the seeds that were apparently planted by both Ailes and O'Reilly, it was just a matter of time before their positions became untenable -- and a new day dawned. A day when hard-working and professional woman would be respected, honored and valued for their talents - and not objectified and ogled over their looks. Read More

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(CNN) - Succumbing to mounting public pressure and common sense, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-California, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, announced that he will no longer be overseeing his committee's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. In doing so, he released a statement noting that "several left-wing activist groups have filed accusations against me with the Office of Congressional Ethics." He then blamed these groups for his exit, saying "the charges are entirely false and politically motivated and are being leveled just as the American people are beginning to learn the truth about the improper unmasking of the identities of U.S. citizens and other abuses of power." Read More

(CNN) - We learned this past weekend about the existence of a surveillance video in the Michael Brown case that was previously undisclosed to the public. It was revealed at the debut of Jason Pollock's film "Stranger Fruit" at the SXSW festival.

Michael Brown died on the afternoon of August 9, 2014 after being shot multiple times by Ferguson, Missouri, Police Officer Darren Wilson. It was a highly controversial case which sparked civil unrest across the country. Outraged members of the Ferguson community marched with purpose, as did a contingent of concerned citizens in cities throughout the country. They did so to protest the seemingly endless string of black men shot dead by the police. Read More

(CNN) - There's a new sheriff in town: President Donald J. Trump has made clear that in matters of immigration, particularly from Mexico, a seismic shift is underway. Only five days after being sworn in, Trump signed a sweeping executive order seeking to both prevent illegal immigration and remove undocumented immigrants.

Among other things, the order seeks the construction of a wall, terminates the "catch and release" procedure whereby undocumented immigrants are detained and released, adds 5,000 border patrol agents, calls for a report quantifying all foreign aid provided by the United States to Mexico annually during the past five years, and makes provisions for greater coordination between federal, state and local governments in implementing immigration policy. Read More

Eleven people were charged on Thursday in an enormous fraud scheme in which hundreds of Long Island Rail Road workers falsely claimed to have disabling injuries, with some of them collecting tens of thousands of dollars in annual pensions while spending time playing golf, law enforcement officials said.\r\n

The fraudulent payouts in the scheme, officials estimate, could end up costing a federal pension agency more than $1 billion if fully disbursed.




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