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Brooklyn Criminal Law Blog

Fatal OD bystanders increasingly becoming criminal defendants

In New York and other states, the opioid crisis is being cited as a contributing factor in a growing number of drug-related crimes, including some that result in overdose deaths. However, a recent situation involving a woman who purchased heroin for a neighbor illustrates another trend with drug crimes -- bystanders becoming criminal defendants. In this instance, the neighbor died of a fatal overdose from the heroin the woman purchased at his request. It turned out to be laced with another powerful opioid drug, fentanyl.

While the woman wasn't present when her neighbor took the fatal overdose, prosecutors are charging her with a felony related to a drug delivery that resulted in death. The nonprofit Drug Policy Alliance notes that 20 states have drug-induced homicide laws in which indirectly involved parties can be held responsible for drug deaths.

Young man charged in shocking machete murder in Bronx

A 19-year-old suspect in the killing of a male 15-year-old outside a deli on East 183rd Street has been charged with second-degree murder, gang assault and manslaughter. Members of the public jeered him as he exited the courthouse. Six more men, ranging in ages from 18 to 24, suspected of involvement in the attack await extradition to New York.

The murder of the young man has devastated his mother and upset the community. His attackers dragged him out of the deli and slashed his neck with a machete. He attempted to reach the nearby St. Barnabas Hospital but died on the sidewalk. Surveillance video from inside the deli showed that workers took no action to help the man. The deli has closed its doors in fear of protests from outraged people in the Tremont neighborhood. Police speculate that the gang mistook the victim for another person.

UFC fighter interested in plea deal in New York case

Mixed martial arts fans might be interested in the continued development of fighter Conor McGregor's New York assault and criminal mischief cases. The fighter has been accused of a rampage at the Barclays Center, including throwing a hand truck at a bus another fighter was on. McGregor appeared in Brooklyn Criminal Court on the morning of June 14.

Following the hearing, the fighter issued a statement that said he regrets the events that led up to the case. McGregor and another Irish MMA fighter who was allegedly involved, Cian Cowley, were both ordered to stay away from the men on the other side of the fray, which included at least two fellow professional fighters.

Overall crime down, murders up in New York City

Overall crime is down in New York City according to newly released preliminary crime data for May 2018. However, there was a significant increase in the number of violent crimes, such as murders and rapes, when compared to the same period of 2017.

Police received 34 reports of murder in May 2018. In comparison, they received 26 homicide reports in May 2017. There were 181 rapes reported in May, which represents a 50 percent increase over the 121 rapes reported in the same month of 2017. Meanwhile, there was also a 14.9 percent increase in shootings with 77 reported to authorities in May 2018. There were 67 shootings reported in May 2017.

Crash leads to DWI charge for Jets draft pick

The New York Jets' fourth-round draft pick is facing a DWI charge after allegedly causing an accident in New Jersey on June 2. According to reports, rookie Chris Herndon failed a Breathalyzer test after crashing his Nissan Armada into a Toyota FJ-40 Land Cruiser at 4:45 a.m. News sources say that the 22-year-old tight end, who formerly played for the University of Miami, is now subject to disciplinary action by the NFL.

The incident occurred in Rockaway, N.J., a 20-minute drive from the Jets training center in nearby Florham Park. Both drivers suffered what are believed to be non-life-threatening injuries in the collision. The Toyota was totaled, and Herndon was detained at the scene. New Jersey State Police administered the breath test at an area barracks.

Third defendant charged in gang-related machete murder

On May 30, an 18-year-old New York man was charged in the 2017 machete murder of a Long Island teenager. He is the third individual to be charged in connection with the crime, which has been linked to the violent MS-13 gang.

According to media reports, the 16-year-old victim, originally from Honduras, disappeared while riding his bicycle in July 2017. In October, his body was found buried in a wooded area in Nassau County. Investigators determined that he had been hacked to death by a machete.

Survey of prison inmates reveals rate of wrongful conviction

A portion of prisoners in New York live behind bars for crimes that they did not commit. The number that experienced wrongful convictions is difficult to know, but research studies have indicated that as many as 6 percent of inmates do not deserve to be locked up. The development of DNA testing technology has shown that between 3 and 5 percent of people held for murder or rape were not guilty. More recently, university researchers surveyed a prison population of almost 3,000 people to explore the possibility of wrongful convictions on lesser crimes like armed robbery, theft or drug possession.

Although people might expect large percentages of prisoners to insist on their innocence, the survey results showed a high degree of honesty. Two-thirds of respondents acknowledged their guilt. One-quarter of prisoners accepted that they bore partial responsibility for their convictions. Only 8 percent said that they were innocent. After making statistical adjustments to the data, the researchers concluded that 6 percent might truly be falsely accused and wrongfully imprisoned.

Woman charged with DWI after crashing into restaurant

A 79-year-old woman crashed her vehicle into a restaurant in Westchester County at about 7:45 p.m. on May 6, according to New York police. The restaurant was Enzo's on Mamaroneck Avenue, and the crash left nine people injured. Four of the victims suffered critical injuries, and one victim was treated at the scene while eight others were sent to the hospital for care. Nobody who worked for the restaurant was hurt in the accident.

The woman had been eating at the restaurant just prior to the accident. According to video footage, the woman's vehicle made contact with another car in the parking lot prior to going forward into the restaurant. The woman, who refused to take a voluntary blood alcohol test, was charged with DWI and eventually released from jail on bail pending a court date on May 10.

Man arrested for murder of Brooklyn professor

On May 7, New York police arrested a man on suspicion of murdering a Brooklyn psychology professor in his home. The incident took place on Stratford Road in Ditmas Park.

According to authorities, a neighbor witnessed the defendant entering the professor's home just before 6 p.m. She then texted the professor's wife, who was upstairs in the home with the couple's 18-year-old daughter, to warn her of an intruder. The wife called 911, and police rushed to the scene. Upon entering the home, officers discovered the body of the 66-year-old professor, who had been beaten and stabbed to death.

Two arrested for DUI in New York

Two individuals were taken into custody for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Putnam County within three days of each other. The first arrest, which took place during the early morning hours of April 21, occurred on Route 6 in Southeast. The second, which occurred on Oscawana Lake Road, happened on the evening of April 23. Both drivers were eventually charged with operating their vehicles while intoxicated.

The 40-year-old woman arrested on April 21 was charged with driving while intoxicated and additional traffic violations. The officer who pulled her over claimed that he stopped the woman's vehicle due to erratic driving behavior.

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