CAL in the Courts

The postings below present recent noteworthy CAL court appearances and case outcomes. Please use the Contact Us inquiry form if you'd like further information about any of these cases.

Client Granted Peque Hearing
On June 14, 2018, the Appellate Division, First Department remanded our client R.D.’s case for a hearing to afford him the opportunity to move to vacate his plea pursuant to People v. Peque, 22 N.Y.3d 168 (2013).  The Appellate Division held that the trial court had failed to provide the proper warning pursuant to Peque because at the plea proceeding the court only asked counsel whether counsel had discussed the immigration consequences with his client and counsel responded with incorrect advice.  The Appellate Division held that R.D. is entitled to the opportunity to demonstrate prejudice resulting from this failure.  R.D. is represented by Allison Kahl.
Client's Conviction Vacated Based on Immigration Misadvice
On May 18, 2018, the Supreme Court, Bronx County, vacated our client E.G.’s conviction, finding that he was deprived of his right to constitutionally effective representation.  After E.G. was arrested and incarcerated at Rikers Island for 42 months awaiting trial, he agreed to plead guilty to second-degree assault because his attorney assured him that the promised 364-day sentence might give him a basis to defend himself from deportation because he was a lawful permanent resident.  This was clearly expressed and repeatedly referenced throughout the plea proceeding.  Unfortunately, counsel was wrong and the plea subjected E.G. to mandatory deportation.  The Supreme Court vacated the conviction and ordered that the case be restored to the court’s calendar for new proceedings.  E.G. was represented by David Bernstein.
AD1 Unanimously Reverses Conviction and Dismisses Indictment
On May 10, 2018, the Appellate Division, First Department unanimously reversed our client M.V.'s conviction and dismissed the indictment against him. The court held that criminal contempt for violating a stay-away order repeatedly, over nearly two months, could not be charged as a single crime. Each violation was a distinct crime and had to be charged separately. The indictment's defect was apparent "in the language of the indictment itself, and it did not depend on the trial evidence or the court's charge." M.V. was represented by Scott Henney and Matthew Bova.
Appellate Division Rules That Expectation of Privacy Extends to Public Restrooms
On May 10, 2018, the Appellate Division, First Department held that our client T.V. had a reasonable expectation of privacy in a public single-use restroom, such that police officers needed probable cause to justify their entry into the restroom. The suppression court had ruled both that no expectation of privacy existed because T.V. had left the door unlocked, and that the officers could enter the restroom without probable cause. The First Department rejected this conclusion, explaining that the unlocked door did not forfeit the expectation of privacy that T.V. created by shutting the restroom door. Since the lower court did not reach probable cause in denying suppression, the First Department held the appeal in abeyance and remitted the case to the lower court for a determination on that issue. T.V. was represented by Jacqueline Meese-Martinez.
AD1 Orders New Proceedings after CAL Proves Trial Counsel Error
On April 26, 2018, the Appellate Division, First Department held that our client T.C.’s trial counsel took a position adverse to him when she told the trial court there was no “basis” for T.C.’s plea withdrawal motion after the court asked whether she had anything to say “on behalf of the motion.”  The Court therefore remitted T.C.’s case for further proceedings on the motion with new counsel assigned.  T.C. was represented by Megan Byrne.
CAL Client Wins Reduction in Post-Release Supervision
On April 26, 2018, the Supreme Court, Bronx County reduced our client A.R.’s post-release supervision sentence from two years to one year, upon a C.P.L. 440.20 motion challenging A.R.’s adjudication as a second felony offender. On the date of the hearing, A.R. had already served nearly eleven months of post-release supervision. As such, this win means that A.R. is scheduled to be discharged from post-release supervision by the end of May 2018. A.R. was represented by Jacqueline Meese-Martinez.
Appellate Term Vacates Clients' Illegal Pleas
On April 19, the Appellate Term, First Department vacated the pleas and dismissed the accusatory instruments for CAL clients A.G. and J.J. These cases came to us from New York County Summons Court, and both had significant plea errors including a complete failure to ensure the clients were informed of and intelligently waived their Boykin rights. Because of the blatant plea issue, the NYPD Law Bureau consented to the requested remedies of plea vacatur and outright dismissal. Our clients were represented by Alexandra Ferlise. 
Client Earns Lowest SORA Level After Successful Challenge
On April 17, CAL client L. I. received a SORA Level 1 after a successful points challenge to both the Board and the ADA’s risk assessment instruments, which deemed him a Level 2. The court found that the Board had erroneously assessed points for the nature of the underlying offense, and it also found that L. I. did not abuse alcohol or cause physical injury at the time of the offense, factors that would have added additional points to L. I.’s assessment. As a result, L. I.’s name was removed from the public sex offender registry, allowing him to rebuild his life and reintegrate into his community without the stigma that being on the registry brings. L. I. was represented by Christina Wong.  
Juvenile CAL Client Wins Plea Vacatur and Case Dismissal
You cannot threaten to send a 15-year-old to state prison for up to 25 years, said the First Department in a seven-page decision issued April 17.  Fifteen year olds are consider “juvenile offenders” under the Penal Law, and their sentencing exposure for a class B violent felony is capped at three-and-a-third to ten years in juvenile detention – not state prison.  In Y.J.’s case, Justice Stephen, in order to induce her to plead guilty, threatened her with a two-and-a-half decade term.  The Appellate Division vacated that plea as unknowing and involuntary due to that improper threat and also dismissed the superior court information.  Because of that resolution, the court did not address the other errors in the case – the illegal sentence, the improper resentence, the failure to discuss youthful offender status at sentencing, the failure to grant an adjournment of sentencing, and the improper imposition of fees on a juvenile offender.  CAL attorneys Sara Maeder and David Klem represented Y.J.
Sentence Reduced by Two Years for CAL Client
On April 17th, the Appellate Division, First Department granted CAL client J.A. a significant two-year reduction in his sentence, from 7 years to 5 years, after a guilty plea to attempted second-degree burglary. J.A. was represented at CAL by Jody Ratner.