IN THE NEWS


Jury selection, in my opinion, is the probably most important part of any trial because it’s the process of selecting the 12 people who will ultimately decide whether your client is guilty or not guilty. It’s also your first and only opportunity to have a direct conversation with jurors during an extremely brief period of time.


In a felony case you’re usually only given at most 30 minutes to talk to 21 prospective jurors, so you have to make that very valuable time count by developing an effective plan to address a whole host of issues.


First, you need to educate the jurors about your case.


Second, you need to address the strengths and weaknesses of your case.


Third, and perhaps most important, you have to make a connection with each juror. Jurors are more willing to listen to you and accept your message during the course of a trial if they like you and if they feel that you’re being up front with them.


The ability to do all of this successfully can only be learned over time. It can only be acquired through experience, and it can only be obtained as the result of selecting a lot juries and trying all types of cases.


Sometimes cases are won or lost based on the jury you select. If your case is going to trial, you need an attorney with both extensive courtroom and jury trial experience who’s able to develop an effective plan, convey an effective message, and help you achieve a winning outcome.

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Most criminal cases never go to trial. Between 90-95 percent of criminal cases end up in what are referred to as “plea bargains”.


A plea bargain is simply a negotiation or an agreement between a defense attorney, the defendant, the prosecutor, and the court as to how a case is going to be resolved without going to trial.


As part of that negotiation process, an experienced attorney presents equities or “favorable” information to the prosecution as well as to the court in an effort to obtain the best possible outcome for the client. Those equities can include for example a factual assessment regarding the strengths and weakness of the people’s case or the client’s personal background such as the client’s age, lack of criminal history, and possible motivation for committing the crime, or the attorney’s ability to conduct their own independent investigation to gather possible favorable information.


In addition, and perhaps more importantly, an experienced attorney possesses the ability to effectively advocate for their client and effectively present those equities to obtain a favorable outcome.


Every case is different however, and sometimes, a case can’t be favorably negotiated, and it has to go to trial. It's therefore extremely important that you have an attorney who not only has the experience, knowledge and ability to negotiate a case, but also an attorney who has the experience, knowledge and ability to walk into a court room and take your case to trial.

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One of the more gratifying parts of my practice is that I get to represent clients who own dogs.


Sometimes even the most responsible of dog owners find themselves in a situation where their dog breaks a leash, or sneaks out of the back yard and is found running loose in the neighborhood, or maybe their dog breaks loose and gets into a fight with another dog, or god forbid, their dog breaks loose, becomes confused or frightened and ends up biting someone. And now the responsible owner is issued a ticket and finds themselves in court charged with having an “unleashed dog” or what the law refers to as a “dangerous dog”.


These types of cases are governed by local city, town or village ordinances as well as the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law.


Probably the worst thing that an owner can do is to walk into the courtroom by themselves on their first appearance and enter a guilty plea. A guilty plea can detrimentally affect both you and your dog. You’re entitled to a hearing and you’re entitled to defend yourself.


Your dog is member of your family. If you ever find yourself in this situation, your dog would most certainly appreciate it if you consult with an attorney who handles these types of cases.


It’s important to talk with an attorney and learn how you can defend yourself against these types of charges, and more importantly, how you can defend your dog.

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