The team approach at The Blanch Law firm permits us to provide comprehensive representation to every criminal defense client in The Bronx. Each attorney has unique qualifications that benefit the collaborative process, and, of course, our clients. We regularly appear in state and federal courts to defend charges from the ordinary to the complex. Our attorneys fully understand the legal process, but we also find it important that our clients have some understanding of it. We explain every action we take throughout the course of your case, but the following is a general guide for the arrest process.
Some charges are less serious and do not require you to be taken into police custody for booking. For these, you receive a desk appearance ticket (DAT), which tells you when to appear at Richmond County Criminal Court. It is in your best interest to show up for that date, otherwise the court will issue an arrest warrant. If a DAT is not issued and you are instead taken for booking to a precinct — or in the case of arrest by federal agents, to a federal law enforcement building — authorities will identify you, complete paperwork and likely interrogate you about your role in the alleged crime. Interviews are designed to bolster the prosecutor’s case, or perhaps even be the foundation for it. Why would you help the people who want to put you in jail? We advise you to say nothing and to contact a reputable criminal defense attorney immediately to ensure your rights are protected.
You could be held in police custody at last 24 hours, sometimes longer, before charges are filed in court. If police believe they have enough evidence to file charges, you must be formally arraigned before a judge.
At the mandatory arraignment, you are read a summary of the charges against you. It is a very short appearance. One of the most important aspects of it is that the judge decides whether to set bail to ensure you appear for your next court date. In serious cases, to protect the community and witnesses, bail often is not set and you must remain in jail pending your trial. State court arraignments are held in The Bronx County Criminal Court at 215 East 161st Street, between Sherman and Sheridan Avenues and at 265 East 161st Street, between Morris and Sherman Avenues. To arrive via public transportation, take the C, D or 4 train to Yankee Stadium/161st Street Station. Take the BX 6 or BX 13 to East 161st Street and Sheridan Avenue; or the BX 1 to East 161st Street and Grand Concourse. Federal charges in the Bronx are filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Arraignment takes place at the courthouse at 500 Pearl Street in Manhattan. Follow these directions: At the Grand Central Terminal, transfer to a 4, 5 or 6 subway downtown to Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall Station. Exit at the rear of the platform, towards the last car of the subway train. When you come up above ground you will be standing in Foley Square. Pearl Street is across the square. The courthouse is 1/2 block down Pearl Street but you must enter through the security checkpoint on Worth Street, at the top, or north end, of Foley Square, on the left side of the two large courthouses. Go right on Worth Street for 1 block to the courthouse. Alternatively, you can take the M103 Bus downtown from Grand Central by catching it on Lexington Avenue. Just outside the side door to Grand Central, look for the M103 sign on a pole. Just past Chinatown, the bus will stop at the corner of Worth Street and Park Row. The courthouse is 1/2 block down Worth Street. Allow 35 minutes for the bus from Grand Central.
One of our attorneys’ post-arraignment tasks it to file defense motions that put clients in the best position before trial. We have numerous motions from which to select. Some of the more common ones request the judge throw out one or all of the charges, exclude evidence that police did not properly obtain, limit or exclude expert opinions, or prevent a prior and irrelevant criminal record from prejudicing the jury. By far the most important motion is the open-file discovery motion. Through it, we unearth evidence that the prosecution may not have included in the case file, either intentionally or accidentally. Sometimes, this evidence is critical to a defense.
- Bronx County District Attorney Robert T. Johnson and New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton announced on April 17 that nearly three dozen rival gang members were arrested and charged in an 80-count indictment that included several attempted murders and conspiracy. The Six Four Goons (SFG) and Forest Over Everything (FOE) gang members used Facebook to discuss their planned hits on each other’s gang members. Forensic evidence, including ballistics and DNA, as well as monitored telephone conversations of gang members being held on Rikers Island were among the evidence.
- On April 9, the District Attorney and Police Commissioner announced the arrests and indictments of 63 reputed ‘Bloods’ gang members and associates on drug charges following a two-year-long joint investigation in the Morrisania section of the Bronx that was spawned by increased shootings in the neighborhood. All of the ‘Bloods’ affiliated ‘Mac Ballas’ named in the 109 count indictment are charged with multiple counts of conspiracy to traffic in illegal narcotics including heroin, crack cocaine, powdered cocaine, and the prescription drugs Oxycodone and Percocet. The defendants are also charged with conspiring to commit two murders, four attempted murders, a kidnapping, several assaults, home invasion robberies and burglaries, as well as criminal possession of firearms on numerous occasions. The lengthy investigation involved the use of court ordered wiretaps, video surveillance, GPS technology, and monitored telephone calls from gang leaders who directed gang business from city and state correctional facilities. Undercover agents also made numerous undercover narcotics purchases.
- On April 24, Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that Joseph L. Junkovic pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements in connection with a healthcare program, after using a fake company to bill for cancer screenings he purportedly conducted for low-income New Yorkers from his Bronx home. Over the course of three years, Junkovic used his non-profit Cancer Service Network, Inc. to obtain more than 18 contracts with the New York State Department of Health to provide the screenings. He instead funneled the money he received from NYSDOH to his own personal consulting company. He invoiced NYSDOH for hundreds of thousands of dollars for invoices claiming he worked more than 600 hours per month. Junkovic faces up to five years in prison. His plea agreement included forfeiture of more than $360,000 and restitution of the same amount.