Monday, April 23, 2018

New York’s new law: Police recording duty for certain custodial interrogations

Effective this month, the law in New York State on police recording of certain custodial interrogations has changed.

The new law amends the Criminal Procedure Law creates a recording obligation in certain highly serious felonies, including many Class A-1 offenses, A-2 sex offenses, and B violent homicide and sex offenses.

Under the statute, the recording has to begin with "custody" at a police station or other detention facility (or at same time police must give the person Miranda warnings).

There are ten "good cause" exceptions for non-recording listed in the law. They include malfunctioning equipment, booking questions and "inadvertent error or oversight.”

If police improperly fail to record an interrogation and cannot show "good cause," the statute permits the defense to obtain a jury charge at trial. However, there is no suppression remedy for police failure to comply with the recording obligation. Instead, the law provides that a failure to obey the recording rule can be a "factor" bearing on admissibility, though not the "sole factor."

For more on the new law, click here.

Monday, April 16, 2018

National Domestic Violence Prosecutorial Training Announced

The Association of Prosecuting Attorneys (APA) is hosting a national Domestic Violence Prosecutorial Conference on June 6-8, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri.

The conference will focus on the needs of jurisdictions responding to domestic violence cases and will have three specific themes: management, trial issues, and victims. Expert faculty members will facilitate discussion and train participants on practical concepts and model practices in domestic violence prosecution.

Prosecutors with all levels of experience are encouraged to attend. For more on this training, click here.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Protect yourself online: Tips for guarding against data breaches and hacking.

Hacking continues to drive the explosion of data breaches. According to New York State officials, 2017 saw the exposure of the personal records of 9.2 million New Yorkers, which is quadruple the 2016 number.

In response, state officials have released suggestions for ways consumers guard can against threats in the following ways:

Create Strong Passwords for Online Accounts and Update Them Frequently. Use different passwords for different accounts, especially for websites where you have disseminated sensitive information, such as credit card or Social Security numbers.
Carefully Monitor Credit Card and Debit Card Statements Each Month. If you find any abnormal transactions, contact your bank or credit card agency immediately.
Do Not Write Down or Store Passwords Electronically. If you do, be extremely careful of where you store passwords. Be aware that any passwords stored electronically (such as in a word processing document or cell phone’s notepad) can be easily stolen and provide fraudsters with one-stop shopping for all your sensitive information. If you hand-write passwords, do not store them in plain sight.
Do Not Post Any Sensitive Information on Social Media. Information such as birthdays, addresses, and phone numbers can be used by fraudsters to authenticate account information. Practice data minimization techniques. Don’t overshare.
Always Be Aware of the Current Threat Landscape. Stay up to date on media reports of data security breaches and consumer advisories.

In addition, the following steps are recommended if you believe you have been victimized by a data security breach:

User Names and Passwords. Change user names and passwords immediately on the relevant account and monitor the account for unusual activity. If you use the same user name or password on other accounts, change those as well.
Credit Card Numbers. For breaches involving credit card numbers, social security numbers, and other sensitive numbers, create an Identity Theft Report by filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and printing your Identity Theft Affidavit. You can call the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-438-4338 or complete the form online here. Use the Identity Theft Affidavit to file a police report and create your Identity Theft Report. An Identity Theft Report will help you deal with credit reporting companies, debt collectors, and any fraudulent accounts that the identity thief opened in your name. You may also want to put a fraud alert and/or security freeze on your credit report by notifying each of the credit reporting agencies (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian). A security freeze is the strongest protection for your credit and remains on your credit file until you remove it or choose to lift it temporarily when applying for credit services.

For more information on how to help protect sensitive personal information against unauthorized disclosures click here.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Ithaca City Court seeking attorneys to assist pro se defendants

The Ithaca City Court is seeking attorneys willing to assist pro se defendants attempting to seal their convictions under CPL 160.59.

Under that statute, individuals who have been convicted of up to two eligible offenses, but not more than one eligible felony offense, may apply to have those convictions sealed.

Eligible offenses may be sealed only after at least 10 years have passed since the sentence was imposed on the latest conviction or, if the sentence included a period of incarceration, at least 10 years since release from incarceration. Offenses that are not eligible for sealing include sex offenses and certain other felony offenses.

Sealing is discretionary with the court and applicants are required to serve notice on the District Attorney in the county of conviction.

An information packet with forms and instructions is linked here. The packet can also be accessed on the New York State Office of Court Administration website.

Sealing does not equal expungement. Any such sealed records would remain available to the defendant, the defendant’s agent and certain various law enforcement agencies, as well as criminal background checks for firearm purchases.

For more information, click here.

Monday, March 19, 2018

The top ten frauds of 2017 released: Watch out for these common scams

New York State officials have released the list of the top ten consumer fraud complaints received by the Attorney General's office in 2017.

They are:

CATEGORY AND NUMBER OF COMPLAINTS

1. Internet (internet services & service providers; data privacy & security; child safety; consumer frauds) 5,153 complaints
2. Automobile (buying; leasing; repair; service contracts; rentals) 3,188 complaints
3. Consumer-Related Services (security systems; restaurant/catering services; tech repairs) 2,463 complaints

4. Landlord/Tenant Disputes (security deposit releases; tenant harassment) 1,961 complaints
5. Utilities (wireless and residential phones; energy services & suppliers; cable and satellite) 1,827 complaints
6. Credit (debt collection; credit card billing; debt settlement; credit repair; credit reporting agencies; identity theft) 1,436 complaints
7. Retail Sales (any sale of goods for personal household use: food, clothing; rent-to-own) 1,285 complaints
8. Home Repair/Construction (home improvement services not delivered or done poorly) 982 complaints
9. Mail Order (purchases made online or from a catalog) 850 complaints
10. Mortgage (mortgage modifications; mortgage and loan broker fraud; foreclosures)
The state has also offered a list of tips all consumers should use to protect themselves and their families.

For more on these scams, and how to avoid them, click here.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Susan B. Anthony Trial Re-enactment in Syracuse, New York

The Northern District of New York Federal Court Bar Association will be presenting a Susan B. Anthony Trial Re-enactment on Thursday, April 19, 2018, 6:00 pm, at
the Syracuse Federal Building Courthouse.

Federal court judges are playing the parts of Judge and defense attorney. Grant C. Jaquith, Interim United States Attorney for the Northern District, is playing the part of prosecutor. Several local high schools are participating as suffragists.

The event is free and open to the public.

For more information, click here.