New York Civil Rights And Criminal Defense Lawyers

New York Civil Rights And Criminal Law Blog

What is an Indictment?

The word “indictment” appears very frequently in crime dramas and television shows. However, many people do not know exactly what indictment involves. In reality, the concept of an indictment is rather simple. Essentially, it is a formal accusation against an individual who may have committed a very serious federal (and sometimes state, but this is rare) crime. According to FindLaw, indictments always come after the finalization of a grand jury investigation. What is a grand jury? A grand jury is not the same thing as the jury that decides whether or not an individual is guilty of committing...

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When are warrants required for a police search?

The fourth amendment protects citizens from unlawful search and seizure. This means that government officials and police cannot search your belongings without certain conditions. It is essential to understand how this amendment protects your rights, and what exclusions exist. When are search warrants needed? According to FindLaw, police officers must have a warrant to search your private property in most cases. There are exclusions to this rule, however, such as the following: You consent to the search Criminal evidence is within plain view An emergency requires an immediate search without a...

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Facing federal charges in New York

Facing federal charges can be intimidating, but it is a myth that they are always more serious than state or local charges. Federal charges and sentences can be much more severe than those at the state or local level, but the opposite can also be true. Both New York and New York City differ from US law in the way they classify, treat and prosecute crimes. How is the process different for federal charges? As the Offices of the United States Attorneys explain, federal law enforcement officials may arrest someone if they have a warrant or criminal complaint for an alleged federal offense. State...

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What does the law consider excessive force while incarcerated?

A person serving a prison sentence has the right to do so in humane conditions and free from abuse. However, in New York prisons, this is not always the case. Instances of physical force throughout the prison system seem to rise over the years. Excessive force is a term many are familiar with when it comes to police misconduct. It also refers to the unnecessary physical force exerted upon anyone held in a prison or jail. Discover some examples of excessive force and what may result if not stopped. What makes the force appropriate? Controlling the movements and behavior of prisoners and...

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Police officer conduct, civil rights claims and Section 1983

While it is true that law enforcement officers have significant latitude to discharge their duties, they sometimes overstep their authority. Victims of potential law enforcement misconduct may rely on Section 1983, a statute that addresses the protection of their civil rights under the Constitution. About Section 1983 The history of Section 1983 begins in the 19th century. Originally, the statute was part of the Civil Rights Act of 1871, which sought to eliminate oppressive conduct by the Ku Klux Klan and other vigilante groups. It is now included within Title 42 of the United States Code....

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What rights do I have when stopped by the police?

The role of the police is to protect and serve citizens. While many officers take their role seriously, many others do not. Too often law enforcement oversteps their boundaries, which leads to civil rights violations, injuries and loss of life.  As explained by the ACLU, law enforcement must respect your rights in all situations.  When police arrive at your home The police must show a signed warrant with your exact name and address listed before entering your home. It is permissible to ask to see the warrant, as well as officer identification. While you must allow entry when given a signed...

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What is the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act?

In New York, people like you who end up incarcerated within the system are not fully stripped of all rights. While it is true that incarcerated individuals suffer from a loss of many rights, you still have certain protections.  Acts and laws like the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act work toward ensuring that goal. But what do acts like this accomplish? What do they protect?  What does CRIPA protect? The United States Department of Justice lays out the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act, or CRIPA. First and foremost, note that private facilities do not fall under the...

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What happens when a person dies in prison?

Having a loved one die in prison is a heart-wrenching experience. The harsh realities and administrative hurdles of the prison system only compound ordinary feelings of grief. In some cases, family members attempt to learn the circumstances surrounding the inmate’s death as a means of finding closure. Too often, they may face a long uphill battle. Whom does the prison notify? During the prison intake process, inmates usually create a list of designated contacts, including whom to contact if the inmate dies in custody. Prison staff attempt to contact the designated contact first. If that is...

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Criminal record sealing in New York

Many individuals are unaware that they may qualify for criminal record sealing. With this process, New York prevents access to records about eligible convictions, allowing former offenders to pass background checks and qualify for school and work opportunities.  Review the eligibility requirements and other details about record sealing in New York to determine whether it is an option.  Qualification for record sealing When the state seals a conviction, it removes those records from public view. Individuals can apply if they have no more than two past criminal convictions and no more than one...

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What are common examples of police misconduct?

As a resident of New York, you have rights that protect you from the misconduct of police officers. But police misconduct covers a wide variety of potential behaviors, actions and situations.  Thus, it is important for you to understand what police misconduct is. This way, if you come across it, you know that you can fight back.  What is police misconduct? The United States Department of Justice defines police misconduct. Situations involving police misconduct also involve allegations of Constitutional violations. In other words, you are claiming an officer broke a law or violated the...

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