A Shot in the Dark: The Peter Liang/Akai Gurley Tragedy
Akai Gurley, a 28-year-old African-American man, was fatally shot on November 20, 2014, in Brooklyn’s Louis H. Pink Houses, by rookie NYPD Officer Peter Liang, who had entered a stairwell with his firearm drawn. The shooting was declared an accidental discharge; the bullet ricocheted off the wall and Gurley was struck once in the chest and later died from the shot. On February 10, 2015, Liang was indicted by a grand jury on manslaughter, assault, and other criminal charges, and on February 11, 2016, Liang was found guilty of manslaughter and official misconduct, becoming the first NYPD officer in over a decade to be found guilty of shooting and killing a citizen while on duty. The shooting and trial touched off a firestorm of opinion and protests, and in the post-Ferguson era, the case has added another twist to the intense ongoing debate about race and accountability in policing, as well as the Asian American community’s place in that debate and race relations.
This panel will explore criminal procedural issues in the context of the Peter Liang trial, such as the indictment and grand jury process, what is the standard for homicide versus manslaughter, and will also look at the civil rights aspect of the case. How did the APA community respond to the tragedy and what can we learn from it going forward?
Alexander M. Lee, Esq., Principal, The Law Offices of Alexander M. Lee
Christopher M. Kwok, Esq., Supervisory ADR Coordinator, U.S. EEOC (appearing in individual capacity)
Jin P. Lee, Esq., Principal, The Law Office of Jin P. Lee
Sandra Leung, Esq., Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company
Vinoo Varghese, Esq., Principal, Varghese and Associates, P.C.
Former Board Member Vinoo Varghese was recently quoted in New York Law Journal. Check out the details from Varghese & Associates below.
The New York Law Journal sought Vinoo’s opinion on the highly-covered 76-day trial in which the government charged three former executives with fraud claiming their actions led to the demise of the white-shoe law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf. The judge declared a mistrial yesterday after 21 days of deliberations and the jury deadlocked on most counts against the three.
Vinoo described to the New York Law Journal the process of and history behind a judge’s instructions to a jury to continue deliberations when there’s no verdict. He also explained what a mistrial means for the defense and client.
Specifically Vinoo told the New York Law Journal:
If a jury hasn’t reached a verdict and sends notes declaring that it is deadlocked, the judge can read a so-called “Allen” charge instruction, derived from an 1896 U.S. Supreme Court case, that is basically a push from the judge to reach a verdict….
Some defense lawyers believe that a mistrial is good because you live to fight another day, but the question then becomes, does the client have the stomach for that. This isn’t a simple issue for a defense lawyer.
We’d like to congratulate our former Board Member, Vinoo Varghese, on his recent victory in the Second Circuit. Last year, Vinoo successfully petitioned for a new trial in the Eastern District of New York for his client in a criminal tax trial. The government, represented by the DOJ Criminal Tax Division, appealed to the Second Circuit. Last month, the Circuit denied the government’s appeal, in what Law360 termed a “rare move.”
Congratulations to Vinoo and his client!
More information can be found at: http://www.law360.com/whitecollar/articles/653666
The New York Law Journal congratulates the 42 young lawyers chosen as 2014 Rising Stars by a panel of 20 esteemed judges. Our panel reviewed more than 230 no…
We are pleased to share the news that past Board member Vinoo Varghese was recently named one of the New York Law Journal’s 2014 Rising Stars. Congratulations, Vinoo! To see the other Rising Stars for 2014, follow the link in the title.
Update from Vinoo Varghese on further developments in connection with his being subpoenaed recently as a defense attorney in a pending matter: The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NYSACDL) and the Legal Aid Society (LAS), as amicus curiae, are seeking a declaratory judgment that the act of subpoenaing a defense attorney during the pendency of an open case is per se wrong. These groups have opposed the sealing of this matter on First Amendment grounds.
Here is a quote from the article and LAS amicus brief:
“It is hard to imagine a grand jury summons with a more chilling effect on the unique constitutional role of defense counsel and on every attorney who performs it,” wrote Steven Wasserman, a staff attorney at Legal Aid.
Click on the link in the title to read the full article.
The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) is now representing Vinoo Varghese pro bono in supporting his opposition to the Manhattan DA’s attempt to subpoena him to testify against his client’s interests.
The NACDL has a “Lawyers Assistance Strike Force [which] has a clear mission of representing and counseling criminal defense lawyers who are members of NACDL when they are imperiled with the risks of contempt, disqualification or subpoena for privileged information.” http://nacdl.org/lasf/
Few topics are on the minds of the New York legal community more than White Collar Crime. The implications of white collar crime investigations and convictions are keeping business executives and their legal departments up at night as they wrestle with issues of compliance, sanctions and more. With this in mind the New York Law Journal is proud to present a one hour video roundtable covering some topics of interest within the White Collar Crime landscape.
The cases below are but a few that are attracting interest and conversation. Please join us and a panel of experts as they discuss the implications of the following:
United States v. Prosperi
A look at sentencing issues–again–but this time as it pertains to sentencing guidelines being non-binding.
How flexible will appeals courts be now with sentences emanating from the District Courts? Does a reasonableness standard allow courts too much flexibility in sentencing?
United States v. Agrawal
How much will the Aleynikov decision affect the Second Circuit’s decision in this case?
If the Second Circuit sides with Agrawal how will that affect the ability to prosecute future cases?
Mark E. Coyne
Chief of Appeals Division Office of United States Attorney
Board member Vinoo Varghese, whose amici brief in the Rajaratnam case was quoted in the New York Times on October 23, was quoted in an article about the same case in the New York Law Journal on October 26.
Also submitting an amicus in Rajaratnam on behalf of the National Legal Aid & Defender Association and the Bronx Defenders was Vinoo Varghese of Varghese & Associates.
Varghese wrote the government’s “lack of candor, which the lower court found to be reckless at best, cannot be tolerated” and, if allowed to stand would “gut the Fourth Amendment and Title III protections in wiretap cases going forward.”