Simply put, no.
For individuals without a state-granted medicinal marijuana card, possessing pot, and use are prohibited both in New York State and New York City.
In the city, possession has been liberalized— but not sanctioned. Having up to 25 grams of pot can produce a $100 ticket for a first infraction. The second time around, the prize is a $200 penalty. Go for the third time, and the sanction jumps to $250 and a possibility of spending 15-days in jail.
“Burning” — public use — is a misdemeanor which brings a $250 hit and up to 90-days behind bars.
If you’re white with a tiny amount of pot, you probably won’t have any difficulties. If you’re any other shade, the story changes.
The growing and selling of marijuana has generated billions in the nine states where it is legal — but it is an industry that is overwhelmingly white.
Yes. The disparity is offensive and outrageous, but it’s a fact.
How Do New Yorkers Get Their Pot?
Same as they always did. Despite New York State licensing both clients and clinics, pot offerings are illicit for non-medical marijuana patients. There are thousands of persons working in the illegal pot market.
It’s not unheard of, for instance, for a bicycle livery person to sell an “eighth” for $50.
Jerome ran a bicycle delivery service out of his Lower East Side apartment for years. His clients included well-known corporate types who worked in media and the financial industries. Among his clientele it was an open secret Jerome was also selling pot. He moved pounds of the stuff.
When he was busted, it wasn’t for shoveling around lots of marijuana, but for hawking a single joint to a buddy in the street. His carelessness cost him, and he was caught. But, Jerome is a white guy with a flashy criminal defense lawyer in a Ralph Lauren suit, so he circumvented the charges and walked out of court with a $100 fine.
Legal Pot Supports 150,000 New Yorkers
A new report shows 150,000 Americans are working in the pot industry.
New York took a cocky step in the late 1970s when it passed the Oliveri Statute which authorized a plan to fund a study into the medical use of cannabis. Politicians’ interference undercut the program and left it without funding.
In 2014, New York crafted the Compassionate Care Act which, at first, had hardly any physicians, patients or products.
State officials made changes in 2017. They expanded and improved entree to medical marijuana. New York City attached restricting infirmities like persistent pain and PTSD as well as made it simpler for doctors to get licensed to certify patients. The city also awarded five permits to produce and distribute medical marijuana. The state still does not allow dispensaries to sell cannabis flower — just edibles, tinctures, and a few other modes are allowed.
In Governor Cuomo’s executive budget speech on January 16, the called for a state-funded study on marijuana’s impact in the health, economic and criminal justice arenas. The study will also look at the possible effect of legalization in the states surrounding New York. Calling for more research was bold — twenty-years ago. Today it is a stalling tactic.
When politicos don’t want to deal with marijuana legalization, they emerge as advocates for science and research.
The post Is Marijuana Legal In NYC Now? appeared first on New York Criminal Attorney: NY Criminal Defense - Bukh Law Firm.
The narcotics cops from New York’s 83rd Precinct didn’t get much for their effort when they opened a stake-out at J&C Mini Mart in Brooklyn four years ago.
The sun was setting that autumn afternoon when they moved in on what appeared to be a crack deal. Seizing what they thought were two packets, they ended up with just residue. The undercover cops arrested two men, the buyer, and the seller, but the charges against one of the individuals was dropped later.
The cops didn’t get an arrest. Instead, they ended up with twenty-hours overtime and took home an extra $1,400 in additional cash.
The officers involved in the arrests appeared in Federal District Court for the beginning of a civil-rights trial where they faced accusations they detained one of the men, Hector Cordero, merely to juice their income. If any of the four officers involved are found responsible, another trial will be scheduled and could be the most significant challenge to the city’s policing practices since stop-and-frisk.
Collars For Dollars
The drill, legendary as collars-for-dollars, has been around for decades. The 1994 Mollen Commission first detailed the variety of devious overtime cons used in the department’s history.
In one popular one, the cops would bring additional officers while securing an arrest thus leveraging the number of officers entitled to overtime. The extra officers would allege to have found evidence the defendant allegedly tried to hide. Sometimes, additional cops entered the case as “peripheral witnesses.” They made sure to be available to complete the paperwork or be ready to testify — all in exchange for overtime pay as well.
NYPD has also participated in ‘trading dollars’ where cops often directed arrests to the member of their team who was positioned to get the most overtime. Felony arrests are usually sent to a grand jury five days following the incident, but if a cop were scheduled to work on the anticipated date, he would defer to a colleague who was not.
The second cop would ‘take the rest,’ and get the overtime pay due for going to court on a day off. Even if that meant testifying about occurrences, the officer never saw.
If Cordero’s claims are upheld, then years of reform may have been marginally useful at best.
“The scheme of making arrests for overtime pay is longstanding,” said Harry G. Levine, a sociological professor at Queens College.
Gabriel Harvis, Cordero’s attorney, has pointed out the second case would be the biggest challenge to the unconstitutional policing habits in New York since the 2013 federal trial which ended the stop-and-frisk routine.
“A rational jury may determine this exercise is not limited to a few ‘bad apples,’ Judge Jack B. Weinstein wrote. “If they find this is endemic, that NYPD managers are aware of this pattern, then steps would need to be taken to intercede and implement proper supervision.”
The post New York Busts Arrests For Overtime Pay appeared first on New York Criminal Attorney: NY Criminal Defense - Bukh Law Firm.
The recent Florida shooting has triggered the inevitable calls for bans as politicians and pundits shout no one needs an AR15. That’s nothing new. Just hours after the Orlando attack in June 2016, Alan Grayson, a Democrat from Florida, goofed.
In New York, design modifications are giving gun makers room to bypass constraints the state passed after the 2012 Newtown massacre in Connecticut, urging some analysts to declare the rules were only smokescreen.
New York legislators enacted the SAFE Act and announced it efficiently forbade the selling of “assault weapons.” But AR-15s, the common type of weaponry mentioned as ‘assault weapons,’ are marketed by Empire State firearms dealers, openly, easily and legitimately. The rifle is sold by Stag Arms as a “New York-amenable AR15,” and boasts a slightly altered stock with no frills. The piece lacks a handgrip, for example, a characteristic barred by the law.
Despite many differences, such as detachable magazines, using intermediate cartridges, the main difference is selective fire — the ability to flip a switch and move from semi-automatic to fully automatic and back. Gas powered, semi-automatic, one squeeze of the trigger sends one round down the muzzle. The American military uses weapons similar in appearance to the AR-15, but give auto-fire and three-round burst-fire. Neither can be done with an AR-15.
The AR-15 appears to be a twin to the M16 and M4 carbine assault rifles. The military spent millions to come up with an ideal gun which featured great ergonomics. But looking past the ergonomics, persons are attracted to the AR-15 because it is customizable. Users can add lasers, scopes, slings and a variety of grips. The lower portion of the weapon can be swapped out as well.
Notwithstanding similar appearances, the civilian version, the AR15, misses a critical military function.
Not A Weapon For Hunting
The AR15 is not a ‘high-powered’ rifle. Like all rifles it does have more oomph than a pistol or handgun — all rifles do. When it comes to weaponry, the ammunition used is so low powered it has been banned from hunting game like deer and elk. The weapon can’t humanely take animals down in one shot like other weapons. In Washington, and some other rural states, all bigger game must be hunted with larger caliber ammo. That leaves the AR15 appropriate to plunk squirrels, rabbits and demotes the weapon to varmint duty.
Politicians and the news media, exaggerate the AR15’s power. They enjoy telling the public that it is almost impossible to rapid-fire an AR15.
Remember Grayson? He told CNN’s audience, “If the gunman had not been able to purchase a weapon that fires 700 rounds a minute, many of those people would not be dead.”
Grayson’s comments, on national television, were so far out in left field, a conservative commentator, Conrad Close, offered a reward of sorts.
“I’ll donate $50,000 to the charity of Grayson’s choosing if he can fire an AR15 700 times in 60-seconds,” Close tweeted on June 13, 2016.
The weapon can’t fire anywhere near 700 rounds per minute. One trigger squeeze equals one round fired.
AR Does Not Mean Assault Rifle
People who should know better assert the ‘AR’ stands for ‘assault rifle.’ No, it stands for ‘Armalite Rifle,’ named for the firm which designed the gun in the 1950s.
Save This Article
Seventeen innocent people in Florida were killed. People in favor of a gun ban will pull out all of the rhetorical stops to convince Americans that the carnage was possible only because of the AR15. History shows otherwise. Anyone engrossed in killing will find a way to kill.
Another look at gun control in America is needed. But proponents need to make sure their terminology is correct, and their facts are straight if their credibility is worth anything.
The post Just What Is An Ar15? appeared first on New York Criminal Attorney: NY Criminal Defense - Bukh Law Firm.
Looking for a grand gesture to both protect possible deportees and thumb its nose at the Trump administration’s draconian measure, New York City rejected over 1,500 calls from federal law enforcement to restrain immigrants.
The total number, 1,526, was 20 times more than the 80 calls received by NYPD in 2016 according to legal affairs manager Oleg Chernyavsky.
Of the petitions to hand over undocumented immigrants in 2016, New York City’s law enforcement complied with two. State law won’t allow the city to turn detainees over to ICE unless the individual has been sentenced for one of 170 severe crimes — AND the feds show up with a warrant.
Speaking to NYC Council, Chernyavsky said, “That says volumes about what we are as a city. It is vital for victims, regardless of their standing, to rely on the police and come forward.”
ICE blasted the city’s law enforcement in a string of tweets.
“The release of criminals back on city streets poses risks to our communities,” said one Tweet.
“ICE will dedicate more resources to conduct arrests to ensure safety of the citizens of the community,” ICE field officer director Thomas Decker said.
Bitta Mostofi, the acting commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, disagrees. “We’re seeing a spike in overzealous enforcement from ICE,” she said. “There has been a 40% increase in immigration arrests of people with no criminal history.”
Chernyavsky told City Council members, “If an individual commits a crime, that person would be arrested, prosecuted and processed by New York authorities for violating the law. Where the detention law comes into effect is the method used to cooperate beyond the crime.”
Brad Lander, Brooklyn’s Councilman, stands by New York City’s cops as they reject ICE’s requests.
“There’s every reason to believe the vast majority of individuals requested by ICE have done nothing serious,” Lander said.
NYPD Commissioner Speaks Out
NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill earned social media brownie points for his comments about Trump’s anti-immigrant policy.
O’Neill appreciated the president for celebrating the offspring of an NYPD officer who is following her father’s footsteps — and let Trump know about the NYPD’s diversity.
Trump gave up a little cheering for Brittney Roy, a twenty-two-year-old NYPD cadet saying, “Thanks and congratulations!”
O’Neill responded: “Thanks! Her dad’s a hero. By the way, her 473 fellow cadets come from 43 nations and speak 26 languages.”
The burn got its praise from Twitter.
“POW! Great response Commissioner!” wrote Reverent Marcos Miranda, the New York State Chaplain Task Force President.
O’Neill has a point. Brittney is entering an agency which includes over 900 Muslim cops.
The post New York City Law Refuses To Honor 1500 Ice Requests appeared first on New York Criminal Attorney: NY Criminal Defense - Bukh Law Firm.
Agencies within the United States law enforcement have been clandestinely assisting local, and state law enforcement authorities find, investigate and arrest suspects. The daily activities are performed in ways which are raising basic issues around defendants’ civil rights.
A current study by the Human Rights Watch indicates federal-level law enforcers are hiding the sources of proof and Mossad-like gather of evidence in criminal cases — particularly drug arrests. The intelligence often includes National Security Agency surveillance programs, wiretaps and phone and surveillance.
Often the defendants have no clue about the investigative tactics which have been utilized in garnering evidence to be used in court against them.
“There could be communication between the state prosecutors and intelligence community which prevents this stuff from seeing the light of day,” St. Vincent said. “Persons could be locked up without ever knowing to challenge the possibly rights-violating actions behind the case against them.”
Cops and prosecutors often manufacture alternative — or parallel — stories to explain how information was uncovered. The concealment practice, called ‘parallel construction,’ frequently includes traffic stops and vehicle searches.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decided this week the government must be more transparent through the Freedom of Information Act about location-monitoring technology, such as surveillance methodologies, used in criminal investigations.
In a statement to the court, the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California called the ruling “a victory for accountability and transparency.” The ruling ‘prevents the government from maintaining surveillance policies in secrecy,” said Ms. St. Vincent.
Fruit Of The Poisonous Tree
Fruit of the poisonous tree is a juridical trope in the United States used to describe evidence that is gathered illegally. The philosophy behind the language is that if the source (the “tree”) of the evidence or evidence itself is corrupted, then anything gained (the “fruit”) from it is tainted as well.
The report indicates that evidentiary assessment is based on the government’s own lawyers’ interpretation of cases. This tendency gives way to what is called “the fruit of the poisonous tree,” where a judge bars the prosecution from introducing evidence obtained by the government through illegal actions. Essentially, the government could be concealing some investigative activities based on its determination that the evidence isn’t tainted by illicit conduct.
St. Vincent argues it’s up to judges and defense lawyers to begin challenging the origins of evidence. She would like to see defense lawyers using the report to show judges, “my concerns are genuine. The government engages in this practice, and I want to get information from the prosecution.”
“It’s on everyone, including prosecutors,” said Arkady Bukh, a noted New York defense lawyer. “Everyone needs to be asking how agents obtained the evidence.”
According to a story published by The New York Times, people living in Brooklyn’s 73rd Precinct were the most likely to be stopped and frisked by police. Over six years, tens of thousands of people were detained and questioned without legal justification.
In hundreds of thousands of additional cases, city cops didn’t provide, on official forms, essential details and reasoning to show if the stop was justified.
Naturally, the NYPD denies the charges revealed in a study by the Center for Constitutional Rights, the plaintiff in a widespread pattern of unneeded stops and racial profiling.
Then-Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly rejected the accusation of profiling and said the stops meshed with the racial breakdown of criminal suspects. Prof. Jeffrey A. Fagan of Columbia Law School, found cops lacked the sort of suspicion to make a stop in 30% of the instances.
Roughly 150,000, 6.7% of the stops, were made by an officer based on his discretion instead of responding to a radio call where some data had been collected. Stops were labeled unjustified if cops provided no primary reason which would justify ‘reasonable suspicion’ and lead to a stop.
The Supreme Court of The United States ruled a cop must be able to verbalize suspicion of a crime to stop someone. The officer must have a belief the person is armed and dangerous to justifying frisking.
Speaking of the study, Kelly admitted, “We haven’t had the opportunity to review it.” Instead, he pointed to an earlier study by the Rand Corporation which found no racial profiling by police. That study, commissioned by the NPD indicated stops reflected crime.
In February 1999, Amadou Diallo, a 22-year-old immigrant from New Guinea was shot and killed in the small lobby of the building where he lived in The Bronx. Four white officers fired 41 bullets and hit Diallo 19 times. The four officers were members of the NYPD Street Crimes United which operated under the slogan, “We Own the Night.”
A NY State report of the unit found blacks were stopped ten-times more than white and 35% of those stops failed to have a reasonable cause.
Thousands went to Diallo’s funeral, and more than 1,200 were arrested in civil disobedience.
The four cops who killed Diallo were acquitted.
What Is Racial Profiling
Racial profiling is the prejudicial procedure by law enforcement when individuals are suspected of a crime centered on race, ethnicity, national origin or religion. Law enforcement often relies on a subgroup of traits believed to be linked to a crime.
Examples often provided include using color to identify which motorists to check for trivial traffic infractions or using race to decide which people to examine for contraband. Another instance is the frequently targeting of Arabs, Muslims and South Asians for detainment for minor immigrant infractions.
Racial profiling does not apply to a cop’s pursuit of a culprit in which the precise report includes race or ethnicity.
Any workable meaning of racial profiling has to include discriminatory commissions by law enforcement. Instances of lynching in America’s south during the civil rights action, southern sheriffs would watch while the KKK intimidated African Americans.
A recent case, from Maryland, is the accusation by an African American man who moved into an all-white community and attacked. Local police didn’t respond until they busted him for firing his rifle into the air as he tried to scatter a hostile mob.
The post Racial Profiling In New York City appeared first on New York Criminal Attorney: NY Criminal Defense - Bukh Law Firm.
Andrea Ritchie was with two male friends as they drove through a park in New York City. Two cops from the Brooklyn South precinct pulled them over for being in a public park past dark. The cops search found marijuana and Klonopin. Andrea was arrested, put in the back of police van — which was unmarked — handcuffed her and demanded her two friends not follow.
Arrested and indicted for 50-counts which included rape, kidnapping, and misconduct, the two cops wait. Ther lawyers still worked to undermine Andrea’s account of the night she was made to perform oral sex on both and was raped by one. Andrea was threatened with arrest and criminal charges if she didn’t go along.
In October 2017, the story broke. The young woman’s experience didn’t surprise activists. Advocates for reform say the case is representative of national patterns of sexual violence by officers.
Studies of ‘police sexual misconduct’ show it as a systemic problem. In 2015, the Buffalo News reviewed a decade’s worth of court records and found an officer is accused of sexual misconduct every five days. The majority of those incidents involve motorists, students, and victims of domestic violence. Over 60% of the cases studied, a cop was convicted of a crime and faced consequences.
Research shows police officers targeting young women like Andrea. A 2000 review of 1,000 New York City youth found 2 out of 5 women reported sexual harassment by cops — almost half of the victims were black, Latino or Asian.
Cops target women whom they don’t think would be believed. Women of color, transgender women, drug abusers and women involved in sex work are the victim of choice by rogue police officers. Daniel Holtzclaw, a former Oklahoma City cop, was sentenced to 263 years for sexual assault. His victims were black women and young girls and women who used drugs or whom he believed to be ‘working girls.’
Why aren’t agencies doing more to stop officers? Most law enforcement departments lack policies or training which would make it clear sexual misconduct on-duty is prohibited. At a minimum, agencies should enact and enforce policies preventing sexual violence. While that should change, departments haven’t been asked to explicitly tell officers that sexual assault is unacceptable and will result in being fired and prosecuted.
Most individuals know by now that the police can’t be depended on to police themselves. But that leaves a conundrum. Where can a woman who has been sexually assaulted go to report it? If she goes to the district attorney, she’s referred to the police department.
Intimidation by law enforcement is familiar. Tk said at least eight cops came to her room in the hospital to discourage her from following through with a rape kit. Cities can make it easier for victims to come forward and the U.S. Justice Department recommends civilian investigators be found, hired and trained.
Survivors deserve solutions that pound at the problem’s root. Instead, the public expresses outrage, the protests make the news and then everything is back to business-as-usual.
No survivor of sexual violence should be ignored based on her perpetrator being a cop.
The post When The Sexual Predator Is A Cop appeared first on New York Criminal Attorney: NY Criminal Defense - Bukh Law Firm.