Dukes Trial Ends In Hung Jury

The article below is reprinted from wwnytv.com and the original can be found here. Excellent defense work from our litigators Clifton Carden, III and Brian Tedd.

“The Sheldon Dukes sexual assault trial has ended in a hung jury Jefferson County Court.

That means the jury could not agree on Dukes’ guilt or innocence.  

Dukes is accused of engaging in sexual acts in June 2011 and July 2013 with a girl who was born in 2005. Those acts allegedly happened in Watertown.

The girl, who is now 13, took the stand during the trial and was a key witness.

‘My client is thankful for the fairness of the court and the professionalism of the district attorney’s office and the thoughtfulness of the jury. Unfortunately, they just couldn’t make a decision on it,’ said defense lawyer Clifton Carden III.

The prosecution said it will seek another trial.

‘This is part of the justice system and sometimes you get a jury that comes to a verdict unanimously and sometimes you don’t. This time we didn’t, but it means we get to draw again and have a second chance,’ said prosecutor Patty Dziuba.

Prosecutors said the alleged victim in the case is, so far, willing to go through another trial. Meanwhile, Cardin said trials that end in hung juries often open the door wider to potential plea bargains.

Earlier in the afternoon Friday, the jury told Judge Kim Martusewicz they were having difficulty reaching a verdict.

That was around 1 p.m., after they had the entire testimony of Dukes’ alleged victim read back to them Friday morning.

The judge instructed them to keep trying.

That was followed by several more hours of testimony read-back Friday afternoon. 

Shortly before 6 p.m., the jury again said it could not reach a verdict and the trial ended in a hung jury.

The jury deliberated two-and-a-half hours Thursday afternoon after hearing the defense and prosecution’s closing arguments.

They returned to their deliberations around 11 a.m. Friday.

Dukes had also been charged in connection with alleged sexual assaults in Carthage involving another child. The judge dismissed those charges during trial on Wednesday.”

Discovery Reform May Be Near

This Newsday opinion piece addresses one part of proposed criminal justice reform in New York – discovery in criminal cases. New York’s discovery rules are indeed behind most of the country and the deck is often stacked against a defendant.

Discovery is the process by which the parties obtain evidence. Of course, one must know the evidence against them to successfully defend against it. While district attorneys in several New York counties provide informal “open discovery,” this is not always the case. Thus, as noted in the article, “many defendants facing criminal charges and their attorneys never see the evidence purportedly gathered — whether good, bad, or questionable.”

This is a problem that must be addressed. Imagine you are sitting in jail on a criminal charge and can’t afford the bail. Let’s say you think you have a defense, but are unsure how it will play out at trial because you have not seen the government’s evidence. You’re offered a plea deal that would see you released. How do you know your chances at trial if you don’t know the evidence? How do you make an informed decision? Many people faced with this problem simply opt for the easy solution-take the plea offer, plead guilty, and get out of jail. Later, when dealing with a collateral consequence of this conviction, regret sets in.

This happens too often in New York and must be fixed. Reforming our discovery rules by mandating the disclosure of all evidence at the very beginning of a criminal case would be a good start.

Welcome To Our New Website!

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ABC News Article About Chelsea Manning Case

Strangio noted that while Manning herself has been the key force behind the campaign for her freedom, she was greatly aided by a team who have fought relentlessly, from her court martial attorney, David Coombs, to her appellate team of Nancy Hollander, Vince Ward, and Dave Hammond. Chelsea Manning was released from military prison today after seven years of incarceration at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, a free woman after President Obama commuted her sentence three days before he left office. Her imprisonment was longer than any whistleblower in U.S. history. To read the full article on ABC News’ website, click here.

Possible plea for cashier suspected of stealing more than $100,000

Syracuse, NY — The lawyer for a former Onondaga Community College employee suspected of stealing from the school over the past decade was in court today to discuss a possible resolution of the case.

Defense lawyer Emil Rossi met with Assistant District Attorney Matthew Dotzler and County Judge Anthony Aloi to discuss the criminal case against Kathleen Kane. Dotzler said the prosecution is looking for a jail sentence and restitution of about $200,000. Kane, 47, of 206 Bennett St., East Syracuse, was arrested last year on four counts each of first-degree falsifying business records and fourth-degree grand larceny.

She is accused of stealing money from students’ payments while she was employed as a cashier in the OCC bursar’s office. The series of charges covers the theft of only $6,527 from April 9 through May 25. But in a statement to authorities, Kane admitted stealing $100,000 to $150,000 since 2003. She told authorities she began stealing at work after being divorced from her husband and falling behind with her bills.

Kane was not present in court today and Rossi declined comment on the specifics of any plea negotiations that took place at the bench with Dotzler and Aloi.

But Dotzler said the prosecution made an offer to have Kane plead guilty to one felony grand larceny charge and one charge of tax fraud to satisfy all charges from the thefts. The prosecution would seek to have Kane sentenced to two consecutive one-year sentences in the Onondaga County Correctional Facility in Jamesville, he said.

He also said authorities believe the total amount of money stolen from OCC to be about $200,000. Any plea deal would include an order for Kane to pay back that money. Kane also would be on the hook for any tax liability stemming from her underreporting her income by not reporting the thefts, the prosecutor said. Aloi adjourned the case to Feb. 13 for a status report from the lawyers.

This article was originally published on syracuse.com, click here to read the article.

Former Raymour & Flanigan accountant admits guilt in theft

Syracuse, NY — A former accountant for the Raymour & Flanigan furniture company admitted his guilt today in the theft of more than $126,000 from the company.

Anthony J. Caruso Jr., 37, of 4396 Princess Path, Clay, pleaded guilty before County Judge Joseph Fahey to a single felony count of second-degree grand larceny. He admitted stealing from the company from November 2010 through November 2011 while employed as an a company accountant.

Although Caruso only admitted to stealing more than $50,000 in entering his guilty plea, he agreed to pay $126,808.03 in restitution.

Because Caruso had made full restitution prior to today’s court appearance, Assistant District Attorney Matthew Dotzler agreed to have Fahey sentence Caruso to a conditional discharge. That means Caruso will avoid any jail time or the need to report regularly to a probation officer. He could have faced up to 15 years in state prison.

Sentencing is set for March 13.

Court papers filed in the case early last year charged Caruso with issuing company checks to fictitious people and then depositing the funds into his own personal banking account.

Court papers also indicated Caruso had been fired by Raymour & Flanigan after being confronted in November 2011 about a problem using company gift cards for his own benefit. A company official told authorities Caruso blamed his problems on gambling.

Caruso and defense lawyer Robert Tisdell left court without comment after Caruso’s guilty plea. Dotzler said the main concern of furniture company officials was to be reimbursed fully as quickly as possible. The prosecutor said he did not know where Caruso obtained the money to pay back.

The original article was published on syracuse.com, to read the article click here.