Court cases are very interesting in that the verdicts that the courts come up with for similar situations can be very different. Our source tells of one case where a pair of men robbed someone but were given different sentences.
In September 2, 2004, Frank M was found guilty by the Trial Court of 2nd degree robbery. His alleged accomplice, S, was charged with 3rd degree robbery. M appealed to the Court of Appeals for a review of the sentence. He found it unfair that he would receive a heavier sentence than S when they were both charged with the same crime.
According to our expert, 2nd degree robbery is when a person takes another person’s things by force, and with the help of another person. Third degree robbery, is when a person uses force to take another person’s things. Third degree robbery is a lesser offense than 2nd degree robbery and has a lighter sentence.
This is the story of what happened. Ernesto M, the victim, was selling ice cream from a Mr. Softee ice cream truck near 466 East 185th Street in the Bronx. S approached him and asked for an ice cream cone. As he was serving S, M heard the back door of his truck close and when he turned around, M was there, holding a knife. S was already gone.
Montoya realized that he had seen M and S even before he had parked in that particular street and that he had felt them stalking his ice cream truck. M asked for money and M gave him all he had, which was $300. Then he left.
Montoya said he saw M and S meet up at the corner of 185th Street and Washington Avenue and informed the police of what happened. The police later caught both M and S in a nearby park. They found the knife with
M and $61 with S.
Given these turn of events, the Trial Court found M guilty of 2nd degree robbery. They fount Serrano not guilty of 2nd degree robbery but guilty of 3rd degree robbery. M claimed that it was unfair that the Court would find him guilty of 2nd degree robbery, in which case S helped him to accomplish the crime, but would find S not guilty of the same thing. The Court of Appeals agrees with this point.
However, as happened in this case, after the verdict was said but before the jury was dismissed, the lawyers of both M, S, and the defense approached the judges of the Trial Court. S asked that the verdict be changed as it was unfair. The defense disagreed and the Court dismissed the jury. The lawyers of M and S did not oppose this.
According to our source, this is important because according to law, if either side finds the verdict to be unfair, it should be placed before the jury so that they can decide again. This should be done before the jury is dismissed. However, as neither Maldonado nor S opposed the decision to dismiss the jury they could no longer appeal to have the verdict changed.
Furthermore, the Court of Appeals found that even though Serrano was the one who asked that the verdict be changed, the decision not to have the case placed again before the jury was strategic and in their best interests. M, on the other hand, lost his right to complain of the unfairness of the verdict when he agreed to have the jury dismissed.
Thus, the Court of Appeals affirmed the criminal decision of the Trial Court.
Situations like these are very difficult. Not only are they difficult for the person involved but more so for their loved ones. Stephen Bilkis & Associates are sure to provide you with the right support and guidance through this difficult time. They can make sure that your rights are not stepped on and that you are well compensated.
You can find Stephen Bilkis & Associates, together with their New York Robbery Lawyers and in many conveniently located offices throughout New York.