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When authorities have probable cause to arrest a person

When a New York resident is being questioned by police, he or she is free to walk away as a formal arrest has not been made. However, once a police officer prevents a resident from walking away, he or she has been detained and is now under arrest. In order for an arrest to be legal, the officer must have had "probable cause".

Report on law enforcement hacking released

New York residents may be aware that federal agencies including the National Security Agency have been accused of monitoring the electronic communications of millions of Americans, but they may not know about a new technique being used by law enforcement that places malware on the computers of people who have been suspected of being involved in illegal activity. Civil rights groups are especially concerned about this development because it allows federal agents to monitor the online activates of large numbers of internet users after obtaining a single search warrant.

Prosecutors must reveal favorable evidence

A New York prosecutor in the high-profile murder trial of an 11-year-old boy has revealed that a witness saw someone who was not the accused entering the boy's home minutes before he was murdered. On trial for the murder is the boyfriend of the boy's mother despite no forensic evidence tying him to the case. The man allegedly seen entering the house was an ex-boyfriend of the mother.

Passenger carjacks livery cab with BBQ fork and knife

In New York, a BBQ fork- and knife-wielding man is facing harassment, robbery and grand larceny charges after allegedly robbing a livery driver in Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood on Aug. 31. According to prosecutors, the 19-year-old passenger relieved the cabbie of his debit card, cell phone and keys before allegedly carjacking the 41-year-old man's 2006 Lincoln Town Car. Sources indicate that the incident took place in the vicinity of an apartment building on Stagg Walk shortly after 5:30 a.m.

Aiding and abetting as a crime

New York residents who provide assistance or encouragement to individuals or groups who go on to commit crimes sometimes face prosecution on aiding and abetting charges. Accomplices sometimes face penalties as severe as those faced by the individuals who actually committed the crimes in question, but prosecutors must establish certain elements in aiding and abetting cases. The most significant hurdle that prosecutors must clear in these situations is proving that the assistance or encouragement provided to the perpetrator was given knowingly and willingly by the accomplice.

Criminal appeals based on Sixth Amendment violations

Criminal defendants in New York and around the country are guaranteed a number of very important rights by the U.S. Constitution. The Fifth Amendment gives suspects the right to remain silent and the Fourth Amendment limits the search and seizure power of the authorities, but perhaps the most important protections enjoyed by criminal defendants are provided by the Sixth Amendment. The Sixth Amendments guarantees the right to a fair trial and states that even indigent defendants have the right to adequate legal representation.

Judges and prosecutors motivated to create plea bargains

Courts and prosecutors' offices in New York face a constant flow of criminal defendants. Because judges want to process cases as quickly as possible and avoid burdensome backlogs and long waits for trial dates, they generally approve of plea deals. Prosecutors desire to focus time and resources on serious crimes instead of cases that involve relatively minor offenses.

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