February, 2013 | Pappalardo & Pappalardo LLP

2013 February

02/13/2013

Angelo MacDonald achieves “not guilty” verdict for client in Bronx gun trial

Angelo MacDonald, experienced trial attorney at Pappalardo & Pappalardo, achieved a “not guilty” verdict in a gun trial before the Hon. Dominic R. Massaro in the Bronx County Supreme Court.

Angelo MacDonald represented a man charged with two counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree under Penal Law § 265.03(3), and one count of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree under Penal Law § 265.02(1). The top count, Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, is a class C felony, and carries a possible sentence of 3 ½ to 15 years in state prison. Further, as a non-US citizen, MacDonald’s client also faced deportation if convicted of a firearms offense.

The Bronx County District Attorney’s Office had alleged that the man was in possession of a loaded and operable firearm in Bronx County. MacDonald’s client was found asleep in the driver’s seat of a parked vehicle, and the police alleged that he was sleeping on top of a loaded .357 Magnum.

However, MacDonald’s client testified that the police lied about where they recovered the gun, and that the gun was actually recovered from underneath the front passenger seat of the vehicle. He further testified that he didn’t know the gun was there, as the car he was sleeping in was not his own.

Angelo MacDonald is a seasoned trial attorney with Pappalardo & Pappalardo. He has tried more than 60 homicide cases and dozens of gun cases as both an Assistant District Attorney in Bronx County and as a defense attorney.

02/13/2013

Alleged serial killer found competent to stand trial; judge recuses himself from case

Angelo MacDonald, experienced trial attorney at Pappalardo & Pappalardo, appeared today with client Lucius Crawford before the Hon. Robert Neary in the Westchester County Court, where it was announced that Crawford is competent to stand trial for the murder of two women, one killed in 1993 and the other in 2012.

Also at today’s appearance, Judge Neary recused himself from the case, as the judge had investigated the 1993 homicide as an Assistant District Attorney with the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office. The Recusal Order, filed today with the Westchester County Clerk, states that the parties had drawn “the Court’s attention to certain facts that could result in an appearance of impropriety should the Court continue to preside over this matter.” The case will now be heard before the Hon. Barbara Zambelli.

At Crawford’s arraignment on the indictment on January 28, Angelo MacDonald suggested that Crawford may be mentally disabled, referring to a doctor’s report that indicated Crawford’s IQ is 64 with a classification of mild mental retardation. Crawford has been found competent to stand trial after a mental health evaluation pursuant to Criminal Procedure Law § 730, where he was examined by two psychologists.

Crawford was indicted by a Westchester County grand jury for the December 2012 murder of 42-year-old Tanya Simmons in Mount Vernon, and the 1993 murder of 23-year-old Learonda Shealy in Yonkers. Crawford has also been indicted in the Bronx for the 1993 murder of 38-year-old Nella West, and the press have called Crawford a “serial killer.”

Angelo MacDonald is a seasoned trial attorney who has tried more than 60 homicide cases as both an Assistant District Attorney in Bronx County and as a defense attorney. MacDonald is a member of Westchester County’s 18-b Assigned Counsel Homicide Panel and is representing Crawford on the Westchester murder charges.

Crawford has been charged in Westchester with two counts of Murder in the Second Degree in connection with Simmons’ and Shealy’s deaths, as well as two weapons possession charges. Murder in the Second Degree under Penal Law § 125.25(1) is a class A-I felony, and for persistent violent felony offenders could carry a sentence of 25 years or possible life imprisonment. Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree under Penal Law § 265.02(1) is a class D felony, and for persistent violent felony offenders could carry a sentence of 5 to 7 years or possible life imprisonment.

According to reports, on December 4 detectives arrived at Crawford’s residence in Mount Vernon to investigate the 1993 murder of West. Crawford is said to not have been home at the time, but police entered the apartment and discovered the body of Simmons. Allegedly, his parole tracking ankle bracelet had been removed and found at the scene. Crawford was arrested approximately three hours later in Mount Vernon. It is alleged that while in custody, Crawford implicated himself in not only the Mount Vernon murder but also the Yonkers and Bronx cold cases. MacDonald has indicated his client has denied his involvement in the murders.

Reports indicate that Crawford has a criminal history dating back to 1973 involving various assaults on women in both New York and South Carolina, and that Crawford has spent nearly 30 years in custody. Crawford was released on parole in 2008 after spending 13 years in prison for the attempted murder of a 31-year-old Westchester woman in 1994.

Crawford’s next date in Westchester County Court is scheduled for February 19 before the Hon. Barbara Zambelli.

Posted at 5:00 PM in Uncategorized | Permalink
02/01/2013

Minor arrest record could hinder future employment

A U.S. Department of Justice report released in June of 2012 showed that students who have criminal records, even for minor criminal charges, face obstacles in obtaining employment, even when they are otherwise qualified for the position to which they are applying.

Having a criminal record “will keep many people from obtaining employment, even if they have paid their dues, are qualified for the job and are unlikely to re-offend,” according to Amy L. Solomon, a senior adviser to the assistant attorney general in the Office of Justice Programs, and author of the report. Ms. Solomon states in her article published on the National Institute of Justice’s website that “the majority of employers indicate that they would ‘probably’ or ‘definitely’ not be willing to hire an applicant with a criminal record,” and some large corporations have “no-hire” policies for those with criminal records.

Common misdemeanor charges that young persons often face in New York include Petit Larceny (Penal Law § 155.25) for stealing items, Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the 7th Degree (Penal Law § 220.03) for possessing small amounts of cocaine, Criminal Possession of Marijuana in the Fifth Degree (Penal Law § 221.10) for smoking marijuana in public, or Driving While Intoxicated (Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1192) for driving while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.

John Pappalardo and the attorneys of Pappalardo & Pappalardo are extremely successful criminal defense attorneys who can help you with your criminal matters. In misdemeanor cases, we can help you fight the criminal charges you face and resolve the matter with a dismissal of the criminal charges and a court-ordered sealing of your record, so that you don’t enter an already tough job market with a criminal record.

Click here to read a recently published article on this topic from The Journal News, or here to read Ms. Solomon’s article on the National Institute of Justice’s website.