I Plead the Fifth

Saying someone is pleading “the Fifth” in every day conversation is usually understood to mean that they will not make admit to something that could be potentially embarrassing, or could get them in trouble with a friend or a spouse. However, the Fifth is a complex clause in the Constitution that guarantees much more than […]

“I know my rights – you gon’ need a warrant for that”

The 4th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is one of the most historically litigated amendments, having cases up in the Supreme Court as recently as 2016. This amendment forbids unreasonable searches and seizures by the state of property, and requires that any warrant issued for a search or seizure is ordered by a court and […]

What is criminal procedure exactly?

Becoming a participant in the criminal justice system in America can be confusing, intimidating and downright scary – with one of the highest rates of incarceration per person in the world, it’s hard not to panic if you become the suspect of a criminal investigation. Certainly, the fear can strike victims equally, who are involuntary […]

Origins of Crime

Most people that get involved with the court system would prefer to work things about between themselves before having to get a judge or a jury involved to decide matters for them. This is the path usually taken by civil litigants (think personal injury or breach of contract cases). Most of these cases usually get […]

Voir Dire (Jury Selection)

On television, the audience usually only gets to see a criminal trial in the middle, when the exciting (or more exciting) parts are in full-swing. But most people do not really understand what it means to pick a jury, unless they have had the opportunity to serve on a jury themselves. Everyone can relate to […]

Stop and Stare

Stop and Stare:  “Mere Presence” at the Scene of an Arrest is Not Interference with that Arrest At any moment in New York, someone is probably getting arrested.  Even though New Yorkers try to ignore the bizarre happenings that flood the streets, sometimes even the most steadied New Yorker stops to stare at someone getting […]

What is a “Re-Pleader?”

You may have been litigating your criminal case for months, or you may have just been arrested. In either scenario, you face the decision of whether to plead guilty or go to trial. While every crime carries the potential for prison, or jail time, the reality is there are multitudes of sentencing options that will […]

FAQ: What is the difference between the roles of a trial jury and a grand jury?

A trial jury makes the final determination as to the guilt of a defendant in a criminal case. In New York and federal criminal cases, the jurors must vote unanimously on whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty. In both systems, the jurors must be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt of the defendant’s guilt […]