Law

CRIME VICTIMS RIGHTS IN NEW YORK

Was your money or property stolen? Were you hurt or stalked? Maybe your identity was taken? If so, you are a crime victim. If an arrest was made and the police told you that the case is going to court, you may have questions about the criminal case. A criminal case is not the same as a civil case. In a civil case, you start a court case for money or damages against the person who injured you. But, in a criminal case, you can’t bring criminal charges against the person that injured you. You go to the police and the police bring the criminal charges. Criminal cases are handled by a lawyer from the District Attorney’s Office on behalf of the People of the State of New York. The lawyer is called a prosecutor. As a crime victim you are not a party and you do not need to hire an attorney. What you have to say about what happened is part of the prosecutor’s case against the defendant. But, you do have certain rights in the case. If you are a crime victim, an immediate family member of a person who was killed, or an immediate family member or guardian of a child crime victim, this section is for you.

HOW NEW YORK STATE HANDLES SEXUAL ABUSES OF CHILDREN

A person who sexually abuses a child under 18, can be punished in different ways in the courts. In a criminal case, the People of the State of New York charge the abuser with crimes to punish and possibly imprison them. In a civil case, the victim sues the abuser for money to make up for any harm caused by the sexual abuse.

There are laws that say how long after an event, a court case can be started based on those events. These laws are called Statutes of Limitations. Under the Child Victims Act, child sex abuse victims now have more time to seek justice against their abusers. CPLR 214-G, CPL 30.10(3)f.

Time Period for Starting Cases-There are different time periods for starting cases against the child sex abuser or the institution that covered up or was involved in the abuse. The time period depends on the type of case.

PROPER COURT TO ISSUE WARRANT – NEW YORK

The application must contain the name of the court (CPL 690.35 [3] [a]). Search warrants are issuable by local criminal courts (CPL 690.35 [2] [a]). A superior court (a supreme court or a county court) may issue a search warrant, but when those courts do so they sit as “local criminal courts” (CPL 690.20 [1]; CPL 10.10 [1], [2]). Under CPL 690.20 (1), a search warrant of the Supreme Court, County Court, District Court, or the New York City Criminal Court may be executed anywhere in the State.

The language authorizing “a local criminal court” to issue a search warrant comports with CPL 10.10 (3) (f) and (g), which contemplates supreme court justices or county court judges sitting as local criminal courts. The New York City criminal court is a local criminal court (CPL 10.10 [3] [b]), as is any district court (CPL 10.10 [3] [a]). Thus, in People v Carson (216 AD2d 965 [4th Dept 1995]), the appellate division upheld a search warrant issued by the county court sitting as a local criminal court even though the warrant did not say so. In People v Johnson (165 Misc 2d 227 [Rochester City Ct 1995]), the court invalidated a search warrant (issued by a county judge) because it did not indicate that the court was sitting as a local criminal court. This decision was rejected, correctly, in People v Rhoades (166 Misc 2d 979 [Sup Ct, Monroe County 1995]).

Things to Think About Before You Represent Yourself in Court

Try to Get a Lawyer

The court system can be confusing and it is a good idea to get a lawyer if you can. The law, the proofs necessary to present your case, and the procedural rules governing cases in the Law Division, Civil Part are complex. Since valuable claims or potentially heavy judgments may be at stake, most litigants appearing in the Law Division, Civil Part have a lawyer. If you are being sued, please contact your insurance company to see if they might provide a lawyer for you. Most likely your opponent will be represented by a lawyer. It is recommended that you make every effort to obtain the assistance of a lawyer. If you cannot afford a lawyer, you may contact the legal services program in your county to see if you qualify for free legal services. The telephone number can be found online or in your local yellow pages under “Legal Aid” or “Legal Services.”

HOW TO FILE A SMALL CLAIMS LAWSUIT IN NEW JERSEY

Small Claims Court

Small claims are lawsuits for $3,000 or less. Renters can file for a return of a security deposit of $5,000 or less in small claims court.

Examples of small claims:

  • A person or company failed to comply with a written or oral contract.
  • Your car was damaged in an accident.
  • You paid money as a down payment and want it returned .
  • Your property was damaged or lost.
  • You bought a product that doesn’t work.
  • Work you paid for was faulty or not completed.
  • You want to be paid for work you did.
  • Someone wrote you a bad check.
  • You gave a landlord a security deposit that was not returned. NOTE: The limit for security deposit returns is $5,000 in small claims court.

How to remove your criminal and/or juvenile record in NJ

What is an Expungement?

An expungement is the removal and isolation of all records on file within any court, detention or correctional facility, law enforcement, criminal justice agency or juvenile justice agency concerning a person’s apprehension, arrest, detention, trial or disposition of an offense within the criminal or juvenile justice system. Unless otherwise provided by law, if an order for expungement is granted, the adult arrest, the record of law enforcement taking you into custody as a juvenile, conviction, adjudication of delinquency, disposition and any related proceedings are considered not to have occurred. See the section on Comparison of Adult and Juvenile Terms for a glossary of terms that are specific to juvenile court.

The New Jersey expungement law states in detail who is eligible for an expungement. 

Sixth Amendment Right to Counsel

By: Undisputed Legal/Court Service Department

A. When Right Attaches 

1. The Sixth Amendment provides that “in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right . . . to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.” 

a. State constitution, Const. art. I, § 22, is co-extensive with the Sixth Amendment. See generally State v. Medlock, 86 Wn. App. 89, 97-935 P.2d 693, review denied, 133 Wn.2d 1012 (1997). 

2. The Sixth Amendment right to counsel does not attach until a prosecution is commenced, that is, at or after the initiation of adversary judicial criminal proceedings, whether by way of formal charge, preliminary hearing, indictment, information, or arraignment. McNeil v. Wisconsin, 501 U.S. 171, 175, 115 L. Ed. 2d 158, 111 S. Ct. 2204 (1991). 

a. A defendant’s custodial status is irrelevant to the determination of whether the Sixth Amendment right to counsel has attached. 

Find Something Wrong on Your Credit Report?

By: Undisputed Legal/Court Service Department

Under the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, you have the right to dispute wrong

 information on your credit report.  Follow this checklist:

  • Write to the credit reporting agency.  Include your name, address, date or birth, and 

Social Security Number So the agency can identify you.

  • Identify the specific debt you are disputing, explain in detail why the information 

Is wrong, and request that the debt be changed or removed.  Include copies of any 

Documentation  that supports your position

History of the Miranda Rule 

By: Undisputed Legal/Court Service Department

  1. Police questioned arrested person at police station for four hours until he confessed. The court was concerned about psychological coercion. Escobedo v. Illinois, 378 U.S. 478 (1964).
  2. Officers agreed to drop some charges if suspect would confess to kidnaping. Suspect agreed and confessed. He was convicted of kidnapping and rape. Conviction overturned by court. Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966).

Fifth Amendment Right To Counsel – Know Your Rights

By: Undisputed Legal/Court Service Department

Constitutional Requirement

1. No person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against him/herself. (Fifth Amendment, U.S. Constitution)

  1. Right must be asserted to take effect.
  2. Provision prevents the defendant from being called as a witness for the prosecution in a criminal case.
  3. Provision prevents the prosecution or any witness from commenting upon the defendant’s failure to take the stand or to answer questions.
  4. Limited to testimonial evidence (oral or written).