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.

C.S., who was sentenced to a prison term of four years to life in 1999 due to the Rockefeller Drug Laws, remained incarcerated despite fully completing a three-year sentence from his 2008 conviction in 2011. With this win, C.S. is scheduled to be released on February 19, 2020. Legal Intern Rachel Crosby and Paralegal Katherine Milanes prepared C.S.'s parole packet.
On January 14, 2020, the Appellate Division, First Department reversed CAL client P.B.’s conviction for grand larceny and perjury and remanded his case for a new trial. The trial court improvidently exercised its discretion in denying the defense a one-day adjournment to call an absent witness, whose testimony would undisputedly have been material. Mark Zeno and Allison Haupt represented P.B. on appeal.
On January 6, 2020, the Appellate Term rejected the People’s attack on a suppression decision issued in the court below. The hearing court had concluded that a Family Court order authorizing the police to assist the Administration for Children’s Services in a child welfare check was “narrow” such that it “did not permit police to then ‘unilaterally’ walk down a 70-100 foot alleyway adjacent to the defendant’s house and enter his enclosed backyard,” from which the police seized evidence. The appeals court upheld the hearing court’s determinations in full. Kate Skolnick and pro bono counsel Jessica Laguerre of Arnold & Porter represented KD.
On December 26, 2019, the Appellate Division, First Department, reversed J.B.’s 12 felony convictions and remanded his case for a new trial. After the evidentiary portion of J.B.’s suppression hearing closed, the prosecution belatedly disclosed that its sole officer witness had previously been sued for false arrest and malicious prosecution, among other allegations. J.B., who represented himself, requested the opportunity to cross-examine the officer on the allegations underlying this civil suit at both his hearing and trial, but both courts denied his requests. The appeals court held that both the hearing and trial courts erred in denying J.B.’s requests to cross-examine the officer. The court further held that this error was not harmless because the office was the prosecution’s sole witness. Brittany Francis represented J.B. on appeal.
On December 26, 2019, the Appellate Division, First Department, reversed J.Z.’s 14 felony convictions—which included four B felonies—and remanded his case for a new trial. Before his original trial, J.Z. asked to represent himself. Before allowing J.Z. to proceed pro se, the trial court failed to inquire at all into his mental capacity despite a prior competency examination and several “red flags” indicating that he lacked the capacity to waive his right to counsel. Thus the trial court’s inquiry was insufficient. Scott H. Henney represented J.Z. on appeal.

On December 26, 2019,  the Appellate Division, First Department, reduced E.M.’s sentence in the interest of justice. E.M. had previously been sentenced to an aggregate term of 52 years to life, the maximum sentence allowable under the law, for charges related to burglary and assault.  The Court reduced his sentence to the minimum possible sentence of 20 years to life.  Megan D. Byrne represented E.M. on appeal.

On December 12, 2019, the Appellate Division adhered to its precedent that tolling defects in a predicate statement can be raised on direct appeal, regardless of preservation. Applying People v. Soto, 138 A.D.3d 533 (1st Dept. 2016), it held that CAL client S.L. deserved a resentencing because no tolling had been alleged in the statement upon which she had been adjudicated a second felony offender. Kate Skolnick represented S.L.
On December 6, 2019, a New York County trial court vacated CAL client J.F.’s third-degree robbery conviction after finding that the People had failed to disclose many of the more than 30 civil suits alleging misconduct against the officers involved in J.F’s arrest.  The undercover officer who accused J.F. of taking his undercover fake ID and $20 while confronting him about being an undercover officer had several suits settled against him alleging misconduct in similar circumstances.  This undercover officer and one other officer involved in J.F.’s arrest were the subject of another successful CAL 440 motion for an identical Brady violation.  Alexandra Mitter represented J.F. on the motion.
In a unanimous decision on November 25, 2019, the Court of Appeals vacated our client's conviction after the trial court refused to allow cross-examination of police witnesseses about prior instances of dishonesty. It was an abuse of discretion to prohibit counsel from exploring one officer's misstatements to a federal prosecutor in a different matter, as well as prior judicial determinations rejecting both officers' testimony as incredible. John Vang represented the client in the Appellate Division and the Court of Appeals.
On November 7, 2019, the New York County Supreme Court vacated M.A.’s third-degree criminal possession of a weapon conviction. M.A. was released on bail pending his appeal after only several months of incarceration over the District Attorney’s objection. M.A. was represented in his bail application and vacatur motion by Scott H. Henney.