We provide vigorous and effective representation for clients charged with all types of crimes in Federal, State and Appeals courts. Our experienced team of attorneys is led by Ben Ostrer, a criminal trial attorney with an AV-rating from Martindale-Hubbell. He has won acquittals for defendants in felony and misdemeanor trials - including charges of Homicide, Assault, DWI, Sex Crimes, White Collar offenses - as well as conviction dismissals and judgment reversals on Appeal. The case below is one example.

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Criminal Defendant’s Orange County Judgment is Set Aside

The defendant was charged with manslaughter in the first and second degrees in Orange County. The prosecution alleged that he repeatedly assaulted his girlfriend in the abdomen, which caused substantial blood loss and death. It submitted medical evidence, including expert testimony, that the cause of the victim’s death was blunt force trauma to the liver and spleen with mass internal bleeding. Ben Ostrer of our firm vigorously contested the prosecution’s theory.

Ostrer argued that the victim suffered from seizure-type symptoms and died from other causes. Our defense experts testified that the autopsy results were consistent with death from an air embolism or other type of cardiac event. One of the experts concluded that the reported volume of lost blood was not adequate to cause shock or loss of consciousness, let alone death. He stated that the victim’s ventricular fibrillation and congested blood vessels were consistent with an air embolism, not death from loss of blood. He further testified that, while rare, improperly administered CPR performed for an extended period of time could cause lacerations of the spleen and liver. We presented testimony that CPR was performed on the victim for approximately two hours.

We Successfully Argued Jury Misconduct

The jury found the defendant not guilty of the manslaughter charges, but guilty of criminally negligent homicide. After the trial, newspaper articles involving the case made us aware of the possibility of juror misconduct. We filed a motion to set aside the verdict asserting that the jury deliberations were compromised. Our argument was founded on the fact that two jurors shared professional opinions based on their own assessments regarding the volume of blood with the entire jury, which tainted the jury’s verdict.

At a post-trial hearing, two jurors testified that a third juror, who was a registered nurse, shared with the entire jury an opinion based upon her medical experience that the volume of the victim’s blood loss could have caused ventricular fibrillation, which would result in death. She further told them that she had seen patients suffer ventricular fibrillation as a result of blood loss. The nurse-juror first expressed her opinion to another juror, who was also a nurse, in the hotel room they shared while they were sequestered. The next day, she communicated her opinion to all jury members during deliberations. The second nurse-juror also performed her own blood volume loss estimations and shared them with the jury. One of the jurors testified that the opinions of the nurse-jurors directly affected the verdict.

The trial court granted our motion to set aside the verdict on the grounds that the jurors became unsworn witnesses on the state’s behalf, causing the jury to look beyond the legally admitted evidence.

The prosecution appealed this ruling. The Appellate Division reversed the trial court’s ruling and reinstated the verdict. We successfully appealed. The Court of Appeals held that the defendant’s “guilty verdict was improperly influenced by two jurors who, during deliberations, utilized their own experiences as nurses to compare their estimations as to victim’s loss of blood with those of defense expert.”

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Our lawyers explore every avenue of defense by thoroughly reviewing police reports, interviewing witnesses, and gathering key facts and evidence. We conduct a comprehensive analysis to ensure that your constitutional rights were not violated.

If you have been charged with a crime, contact the experienced Hudson Valley criminal defense attorneys of Ostrer & Associates, P.C.

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