New York Civil Rights And Criminal Defense Lawyers

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Scope of Employment After Rivera: A Case Study

The New York Court of Appeals, in deciding Rivera v. State, 34 N.Y.3d 383 (2019), altered how pro se litigants and attorneys approach the “scope of employment” issue in prison cases.  The following case examines the impact of the Rivera decision. In March of 2020, an inmate (our client: I’ll call him John Doe 2) housed in a New York State correctional facility alleged that correctional officers took him to an area without video surveillance and brutally assaulted him. Mr. Doe was slammed into a wall, punched multiple times across the face, choked, kicked, and pepper sprayed.  During this...

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“Frolic or Detour?”: Rivera’s implications for victims of excessive use of force at the hands of Correctional Officers

By: Brendan Gilmartin   Correctional facilities are stressful environments where tensions often run high. These facilities create situations that often lead to the use of excessive force by correctional officers for myriad reasons.  When excessive force is used, correctional officers may violate an inmate’s Eighth Amendment right to be free from “cruel and unusual punishment”. When a correction officer uses excessive force on an inmate, oftentimes the State of New York (State) is also sued for the actions of the correction officer. Holding the State liable for the actions of the...

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Life After Rivera: Narrowing the Scope

Written by Edwin C. Torres, Legal Intern at Sivin, Miller & Roche, LLP This is the first in a series of blogs addressing the issues raised in Rivera v. State of New York.  There will be a number of blogs following this that discuss, in depth, cases that the firm is currently handling and the issues that are present because of the Rivera decision. Before the end of 2019, the highest court in the State, the New York Court of Appeals, handed down its decision on a case that has likely remained under the radar for most.  The case is Rivera v. State of New York, 142 N.E.3d 641 (2019), and I...

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Police misconduct continues to plague New York City

Police brutality and misconduct has become an all too common occurrence across our country, but it is just now getting the attention it deserves. For years, innocent New Yorkers have been subjected to unfair, discriminatory, and hurtful practices that jeopardize their rights. One would think that the magnifying glass that is currently hovering over the issue of police brutality would deter officers from acting in an unjustifiably violent fashion, but this sadly isn't the case. You don't need to look outside of our city for an example. Mere weeks ago, two New York City police officers took...

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Chief judge orders racial inequality probe of union leader

The national turmoil sparked by the apparently racist killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers has resulted in a number of inquiries into alleged racism by municipal and police department officials across the country. One such inquiry has erupted inside the New York state court system. An e-mail to Chief Judge Janet DiFiore has caused the Judge to order an investigation into alleged “racial inequality and brutality” against black court officers. According to a report in the New York Post, Judge DiFiore received an e-mail signed by three black police officers accusing James...

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NYPD disciplinary records will no longer remain in the dark

The New York Police Department will no longer be able to hide records of officer misconduct from the public. The state’s governor recently signed into law a bill repealing 50-a, a decades-old policy that let police departments keep discipline and misconduct records secret. This repeal was effective immediately upon its signing on June 12, 2020, and was brought forward as part of a larger law enforcement reform package. “We know this isn’t a cure,” said one of the state senators behind the repeal bill. “We know that this is the beginning, but it’s a move to bring justice to a system that has...

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What are the kinds of credit fraud, and how serious are they?

Credit card fraud is a significant problem in the United States, which is why it's taken so seriously by the government. It's a federal crime, and you can face time in prison or other harsh penalties if you get caught stealing another person's credit cards or identity. The United States has the most cases of credit fraud in the world based on the fact that cases in this county make up 38.6% of all cases worldwide. Most fraud in the U.S. starts with telephone or email fraud. What is credit card fraud? Credit card fraud includes several different acts. These may include: Taking the account...

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What are your rights when stopped by the police?

Being stopped by the police can be overwhelming and alarming which is why it is essential for anyone stopped by police officers to be familiar with their rights. By being familiar with  their rights, those who have been stopped by police will have the knowledge they need to  protect themselves in a difficult situation. Citizens in New York have important protections and rights when encountered by police including: The right not to speak to police officers – when an individual has been stopped by police, they are not required to answer questions the police ask them and in New York are not...

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New York State Repeals Civil Rights Law 50-a

On June 9, 2020, New York State lawmakers moved history forward by voting to repeal Sec. 50-a of the New York Civil Rights law, a state law that enabled police departments to withhold officers’ disciplinary records from public view. The vote came in response to the horrific death of George Floyd, a nationwide movement for police reform and accountability, and the general sentiment that systemic change is necessary to redress a systemic problem – namely, the violence perpetrated against minority communities and people of color. The repeal of 50-a was among numerous other calls for change as...

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George Floyd case sheds light on need for police reform

The case of George Floyd has drawn the attention of the entire world in recent weeks. We all watched in horror this past Memorial Day, as Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin placed his knee on the neck of George Floyd and, over nine agonizing minutes, pressed the life out of him. Meanwhile, three other officers on the scene stood by and did nothing to intervene. What happened to George Floyd should never happen to anyone in the Land of the Free – especially from law enforcement officers who have a sworn duty to protect and serve the community. Unfortunately, though, stories of police...

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