New York residents would never want someone to be convicted of a crime he or she didn't commit. Unfortunately, some experts say it happens much more than it should.
Being convicted for a crime one didn't commit is a nightmare scenario most New Yorkers wouldn't care to contemplate. However, that nightmare could be a reality for up to 6 percent of prisoners nationwide according to a new study. The study was published in the Journal of Quantitative Criminology in April.
People from all walks of life in New York get caught driving while intoxicated, but, in Broome County, first-time offenders have an opportunity to avoid a criminal record. The district attorney's office has started an alternative program that involves an ankle or wrist monitor that checks defendants for alcohol consumption for 90 days. In addition to monitoring, people would receive alcohol counseling and attend victim impact panels.
New Yorkers accused of crimes could be more likely to plead guilty despite the potential strength of their defense due to a system that tends to keep people who are poor or economically marginalized locked up for longer. The system of cash bail means that numerous people who are not convicted remain in jail prior to trial, and the desire to bring an end to pretrial detention can impel indigent defendants to accept plea bargains.
A recent report by the U.S. Sentencing Commission indicates that black men serve longer sentences than white men convicted of the same crimes. The commission is an independent and bipartisan agency of the judicial branch of the federal government. It is tasked with issuing sentencing guidelines and monitoring how closely these guidelines are followed by federal judges in New York and across the country.
Criminal case defendants in New York may be more likely to be offered favorable plea deals if they are white. A study of over 30,000 misdemeanors in Wisconsin found that white defendants had more than a 70 percent higher chance of being offered a dismissal, reduction or dropping of charges than black defendants.
A New York dentist pleaded guilty to drug and child pornography charges on Oct. 10, according to federal prosecutors. He was arrested and charged with the crimes two years ago.
Drug charges can result from a number of different incidents. A sting, a routine traffic stop or an investigation may lead you to be charged with possession or another drug-related crime. Typically, to file such charges, law enforcement will perform a search and seizure to collect evidence against you. This practice, though typical, is controversial--and it may be unfairly performed. According to the United States Commission on Civil Rights, police in New York City perform thousands of stop and frisk or search and seizure procedures every year. The legality of such interactions is worth questioning, though, and there are a few things you should know if you have been subject to a search.
If a New York resident tries to conceal or alter evidence, that may constitute tampering. Evidence is roughly defined as anything that may be useful to a criminal investigation such as a document or a physical object. To provide tampering, it is first necessary to show that an individual intended to do so. Accidentally destroying or losing evidence is not necessarily tampering.
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".