Neil S. Ruskin
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Criminal Defense Archives

When online behavior becomes a crime

Social media and other forms of online communication can be useful tools, but like any tool, they can be as harmful with misuse as they can be helpful when utilized correctly. It is not always possible for New York residents like you to keep your online communication positive, but we at the law offices of Neil S. Ruskin caution you that some negative interactions you have with others through the internet can cross the line into criminal behavior if they are persistent or come across as threatening. 

Minimum 20-year sentence for man in swatting incident

Swatting involves calling authorities to falsely report a crime and provide a made-up address in an attempt to send a SWAT team to the location. The prank occurs commonly within the online gaming community in areas across the country, including New York. In November 2018, a 26-year-old man from California pleaded guilty to charges related to a swatting incident the previous year in which authorities mistakenly shot and killed a man later presumed to be innocent of any crime. A federal court recently sentenced the California man to 20 to 25 years in prison, reportedly the longest sentence imposed to date for similar types of hoaxes.

Judge's rationale on sentencing some felt was too light

Many people in New York City and even around the country often follow high-profile legal and criminal cases. Depending on what sources they track, their perspectives on the outcome of a particular case may vary. In the case of the man who was the chair of the President's 2016 campaign, it may well have seemed that a large majority of people believed he deserved or would receive a very long time in prison for his alleged crimes.

What is the difference between a pardon and a commutation?

You may be one of many people in New York with questions about executive clemency after a series of well-publicized cases in the news. The President of the United States, as well as state governors, have the right to show clemency to people convicted of a crime. In other words, if you go to prison after a criminal trial, officials of the executive branch of government at both the state and national levels are able to change the terms of your sentence upon review of your case.

What is conspiracy?

Essentially, a conspiracy consists of two different aspects: a plan among two or more people to commit an unlawful act and an action taken toward the completion of that act. According to FindLaw, if you involve yourself in a conspiracy to commit a crime in New York, and you and your co-conspirators successfully complete the crime, you may not only face charges for the crime itself but for the conspiracy as well. Even if you and your alleged co-conspirators did not complete the crime, you may still face conviction on conspiracy charges. Therefore, involvement in a conspiracy can carry some pretty serious legal consequences.

The test for legal insanity in criminal cases

When a court suspects that a criminal was legally insane at the time he or she committed the crime for which he or she stands trial, it may not hold the person accountable by reason of insanity. For an insanity defense to apply in New York, the defendant must prove that he or she did not comprehend what he or she was doing; that he or she acted on an irrepressible impulse; or that he or she failed to distinguish right from wrong at the time of the crime. To ensure that defendants do not abuse the insanity defense, the courts have implemented a four-part test. 

Defendants' right to speedy trial noted in decision

People in New York who find themselves arrested and facing criminal charges know they are in a tough position. They should also be able to know and trust that their rights will be respected through the entire criminal justice process. One of the rights that every defendant is supposed to be entitled to is the right to a speedy trial

Have you been accused of domestic violence or assault?

In New York City, crimes of domestic violence and assault are taken very seriously. If convicted, you could end up facing heavy penalties like lengthy periods of jail time, large fines, and the stigma that comes with having a felony on your record. Neil S. Ruskin, attorney at law, is here to help you through this difficult period in your life.

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