BLOG from our #ABKLaw Partner Michael Jaccarino, Esq.: “NOT GUILTY” Verdict on all Felony charges after a jury trial in Manhattan Supreme Court
Our Aidala, Bertuna & Kamins client was facing a mandatory sentence of 7 years incarceration if convicted, and was found NOT GUILTY of all felony charges after a jury trial in Manhattan Supreme Court.
Client: 39 year-old married father of an 8 year-old girl
Initial Accusation: Client was arrested for a physical assault that resulted in significant injuries to the alleged victim.
Key Problem: The victim had significant injuries, he knows our client, and there was an independent eyewitness.
Result: “NOT GUILTY” Verdict on all Felony charges after a jury trial in Manhattan Supreme Court
New York District Attorney’s Initial Position:
The client was charged with misdemeanor assault by the NYPD and given a Desk Appearance Ticket to return to appear in court to be arraigned. However, in our opinion, the District Attorney’s Office saw our client’s record and elevated misdemeanor assault charges to the charge of Attempted Gang Assault in the 1 st Degree. Our client, although having only been arrested once in the last 8 years, had a prior violent felony conviction from his mid-20’s, making him a violent predicate offender. When he appeared on his misdemeanor DAT, he was informed he had been indicted and that he would be held in jail unless bail could be Posted.
Charge – Attempted Gang Assault in the 1st Degree – Requires an attempt to cause Serious Physical Injury and being aided by 2 or more people.
First, we had to convince the Judge to lower bail, which we were able to do, allowing our client to get released from Riker’s Island and assist us in preparing a defense. After a thorough review of the facts, it was apparent that the evidence against our client was strong.
The alleged victim and our client were known to each other, and there was an independent eyewitness who saw the assault and called 911. Plus, our client made statements to the police admitting to some of the accusations. Because of our client’s prior felony conviction, and because the current charge was a C Felony, the minimum amount of jail time was 7 years and the maximum amount was 15. We chose to attempt to negotiate a plea, submitting a biography of our client that detailed his difficult childhood and his more recent successes, including being a tremendous father and moving upstate with his young family. We also submitted dozens of letters as well as a mitigation letter, detailing the circumstances of the incident. Despite this, the District Attorney’s Office refused to offer our client less than 7 years in jail, which seemed outrageous and unfair to both our firm and the client. We had nothing to lose by going to trial.
We transitioned from attempting to negotiate a plea to intensely preparing for a successful trial.
Successful Result “Not Guilty” on all felony charges after a week long trial in New York Supreme Court.
In this case, a successful result for this client could only be obtained by forcing a trial and asking the jury to do justice. First we were able to get our client’s admissions to the police suppressed. Next, we carefully selected a jury that we believed would be fair and open-minded and who would carefully evaluate the testimony and credibility of the alleged victim.
Then, we were able to show through cross-examination that the alleged victim was untruthful about how the fight/assault began, who instigated it, who threw the first punch, and whether there were really 2 other people involved, or whether they were breaking up the fight. By successfully cross-examining the alleged victim and the eyewitness, we were able to show a bias and a motive to lie that raised legitimate credibility concerns about whether this was a gang assault, or a fight between two people. The not guilty verdict on the felony charges that was returned was appropriate and mandated by the facts. In all respects, a wonderful result for the client and his family, who was incredibly relieved, and thrilled to get back the next 7 years of his life.
Contact our office today if you have a specific case to discuss. 212-486-0011
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