New York Civil Rights And Criminal Defense Lawyers

Sivin & Miller, LLP Attorneys at Law

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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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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Body camera concerns point out flaws with NYPD

Police misconduct is a horrifying thing to think about. Whether it's an officer harassing someone or brutalizing someone they're arresting for no good reason, the reality is that they aren't doing their job and are violating the law. One thing that has helped in these cases is the use of police body cameras. One problem, though, is how slowly the New York Police Department, or NYPD, has been turning over the tapes. Since the body camera program began, the Civilian Complaint Review Board has asked for body camera footage over 4,000 times. This footage could help substantiate claims made about...

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Class-action law suit challenges ICE no-release policy

Imagine an immigrant family in which the father has been arrested and incarcerated by federal immigration authorities for alleged immigration violations. Prior to the beginning of the Trump administration, most immigrants detained by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office were released if they posed no threat to the community. For example, from 2013 to 2017, 47% of detainees who were deemed to be low risk were released automatically. Following June 2017, the percentage of detainees released without a trial dropped to 3%. That change has caught the attention of the New York Civil...

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Man spends 25 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit

Can you imagine being accused of a crime, convicted and then serving the longest possible sentence? It would be a miserable situation, and you'd probably fight to prove that you were innocent the entire time. That's what happened in this case. Freedom is in the air for a man from the Bronx who spent 25 years of his life behind bars for a crime that he did not commit. According to the news from Jan. 28, the 60-year-old man cried out of joy as he left the courtroom after having a rape conviction vacated. The man had been accused of a rape that took place in 1984 in East Harlem. If he pleaded...

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Consider this when accused of health care fraud

Merely riding your bike or driving your car shouldn’t be a nerve-wracking experience. Yet, in New York, law enforcement has made it just that. Have you been the subject of racial profiling or excessive force perpetrated by New York’s law enforcement officials? If so, you’re not alone. The sad reality is that the NYPD and other law enforcement agencies continue to violate the civil rights of everyday citizens, thereby subjecting them to physical and emotional suffering. Police brutality is the focus on one recently filed lawsuit against a New York police department. There,...

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Police misconduct a growing concern in New York

Residents and tourists of New York rely on the police force to keep them safe. Whether it is during the day or night, at home or at a hotel, on the subway or walking on the street, police officers are looked at as a means to address crime in the city and create a safe place to live or visit. With this task comes much power, and with power comes responsibility. In some cases, this power is not used appropriately, resulting in an officer overstepping legal lines. This could give rise to false arrests, police brutality, police shootings and other civil rights violations by a police officer....

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Hurt by a defective product? You deserve support

When a product is defective and causes injuries to yourself or others, you have every right to ask that the designer, manufacturer or seller is held responsible. For example, if you buy a bicycle from a local shop and are told it's new, you would be shocked if the middle bars snapped from rust. You could be thrown, cut and badly injured by that kind of defect, and you would deserve the right to file a complaint and to seek compensation. No matter what kind of item is defective, you can seek compensation if you're hurt. From medications that were not manufactured properly to toys for children...

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