New York Civil Rights And Criminal Defense Lawyers

Firm News

Rivera’s Implications: Examination of an Open Case

Written by Kate Belsito, Legal Intern at Sivin, Miller & Roche, LLP In November 2019, the New York State Court of Appeals handed down its decision in Rivera v. State of New York, effectively setting forth a major hurdle for recovery under the theory of respondeat superior liability: the decision’s “so egregious” standard. In its 4-3 decision, the Court concluded that the actions of three corrections officers—actions which resulted in permanent and serious injuries to an inmate—fell outside the scope of their employment, thus shielding New York State from liability. The majority reached...

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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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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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For Families of Incarcerated Clients: Resources for Tracking the Latest News on Government and Prison Responses to COVID-19

Blog by Jake Ethé, on behalf of Sivin, Miller & Roche LLP: As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic in what ways we can, Sivin, Miller & Roche LLP recognizes the anxiety that many of the families of our incarcerated clients--and, indeed, the families of all incarcerated persons--must feel during this difficult and rapidly-evolving time.  We are committed to providing you with the best resources that the nation's legal professionals have to offer, so that you can remain up to date with how governments and prisons are responding to COVID-19 and how it may affect your loved one....

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VIDEO ARRAIGNMENTS IN RESPONSE TO COVID-19: A CONCERN

Blog by David Roche, on behalf of Sivin, Miller & Roche LLP: Like every other institution and organization, the criminal courts of New York City are figuring out how to adapt and function in the drastically changed world of the Coronavirus pandemic. The criminal courts with which we have long been accustomed - with crowded courtrooms full of lawyers, court officers, clerks, and audience members - are dangerous breeding grounds for spread of the virus; and, needless to say, cramped holding pens and jail cells full of people are a nightmare for those who have been arrested and for their...

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Historic Victory for Legal Aid Society

Just this past week, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Legal Aid Society of New York, for the first known time in New York state history, won habeas relief in response to conditions-of-confinement claims, which were brought for certain medically vulnerable pretrial detainees and folks on parole holds being held on Rikers Island.  Read Judge Mark Dwyer's decision on the matter below: http://nycourts.gov/reporter/3dseries/2020/2020_20081.htm?fbclid=IwAR0Mm8QwYpQUIqwIrsc1RwrtoAszv2jA-9OUanvhcQqcGSdBZIsaXSRfPp4

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