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Elements of an assault charge in New York

In order for the government to get a criminal assault conviction in New York State, they have to prove that any injury caused by the defendant was intentional, meaning that it was not accidental.  It is necessary to prove that there was an intention by the defendant to cause "physical injury" or "serious physical injury".  Both of these terms have a specific meaning in the law; they do not have the general meaning we all use in everyday life.

It may be possible to infer an intention to cause physical harm based on the circumstances of the injury. For example, if a defendant pointed a gun at someone at close range and shot the person in the chest, that might indicate that the intention was to cause physical or serious physical injury, or of course to kill.  If the defendant fired a gun several times from close range and missed, one might argue that "missing was the intention" and there was no desire to hurt anyone.  On the other hand, firing a shot intentionally, and grazing another person might allow the government to argue a legal theory called "transferred intent".  For cerain types of assault charges, it is not necessary to demonstrate that the injury was intentionally caused.  Reckless or negligent assaults can be charged too.

Driver overconfidence contributes to traffic accidents

Although New York drivers have a bad reputation, the state has a lower death rate per mile driven compared to many other parts of the country. They likely still have a strong tendency to overestimate their driving skills because overconfidence afflicts most American motorists. This attitude makes most people believe that they are safe drivers.

One study surveyed American and Swedish drivers to measure possible international differences. Although more than 75 percent of Swedes reported that they were above average drivers in terms of safe practices, almost 90 percent of Americans gave themselves the same rating. When asked to rate their driving skills, roughly 66 percent of Swedes believed that they were above average, but an overwhelming majority of Americans described their skills as above average. The traffic death rate in Sweden is less than half of what it is in the United States.

New York woman sues city after sexual assault by peace officer

A woman has filed a lawsuit against New York City following the conviction of her attacker who was employed as a uniformed peace officer at the offices of Human Resources Administration in Lower Manhattan. She asserts that the city bears financial responsibility for her sexual assault and wants a $5 million settlement.

The assault occurred when she went to the office to pick up a check. Office workers said that no check was available. She then demanded to speak to someone in authority but was instead detained by the Social Services Supervising Sergeant. He took her to a locked room and handcuffed her. She then said that he unbuttoned her shirt and touched her cleavage.

2 cases on record of HRA police assaulting people in New York

The police force serving the offices of Human Resources Administration in Manhattan has initiated an internal investigation about claims of abuse. Court cases have recorded two cases of assault since 2017, suggesting a culture of misconduct at the department.

The first case involved a woman who was sexually assaulted by an officer on the HRA force. The case produced a conviction with a five-year prison sentence for the officer. The attorney who represented the woman has also advanced the complaint of a man who ended up in the hospital after going to the HRA offices to apply for food assistance because he had lost his job.

How to avoid vehicle accidents on New York roadways

The nation's roadways get busier all the time, and distracted driving causes a great number of motor vehicle crashes. There are simple guidelines for all drivers to keep in mind when operating a car. Those who follow some safe common-sense rules on the road may better avoid serious traffic accidents.

Drivers should stay focused on the road ahead and pay attention to all directions outside their vehicle. Distractions from inside the car such as cellphones, eating or children in the backseat can interrupt a driver's focus. If the situation demands it, drivers need to pull over for a better chance at avoiding accidents and possibly serious personal injury.

While a city avoids blame, a victim copes with trauma

It was only 15 months ago that a former police sergeant who was working as a guard for the Human Resources Administration held a woman captive in the administration's office and sexually assaulted her. Now, the survivor is opening up about her fight for justice from the city, and the lingering trauma that she experiences daily since the attack.

NYC tries to dodge #MeToo bullet in sexual assault case

A former police sergeant assigned to the New York City Human Resources Administration will soon start serving a five-year prison sentence for a committing a sexual assault during the course of his duties. However, the city is trying to deflect responsibility despite its zero-tolerance approach to sexual assault. At a time when the #MeToo movement is calling attention to the issue of improper sexual conduct by individuals who abuse their positions of power and authority, some say the city's attempt to dodge responsibility is outrageous.

In 2017, a Manhattan artist was arrested by the sergeant, who was assigned to the NYC HRA office on 14th Street, for alleged trespassing. The arrest had occurred after the artist became upset when she was notified that a paycheck owed to her was not ready. The sergeant admitted to locking the artist in a room for two hours and returning to find that she had urinated herself. It was at this point that she became a victim of a brutal sexual assault. The sergeant pleaded guilty to the crime.

Racial bias could be common in bail decisions

Black defendants in New York and across the country may face an unfair hearing when they go before bail judges, especially if the results of a recent study reflect a national trend. The study, conducted by Princeton and Harvard researchers, examined the decision-making of bail judges in the Miami and Philadelphia areas through a racial lens. The study noted that black defendants were less likely to receive bail, more likely to face pretrial detention and more likely to pay larger bail amounts than white defendants.

Pretrial detention can have a major impact on the outcome of a criminal trial, especially as the appearance of a person coming from jail rather than entering the court as a free person can easily influence perceptions of guilt on a subconscious level. The added stress of remaining in jail and separated from home and family can also make trial preparation more difficult for people detained before their case is heard. This means that bail decisions can have an ongoing effect on the likelihood of a defendant's conviction.

Vehicle navigation systems place high demands on drivers

Drivers in New York who use hand-held cellphones while behind the wheel can be ticketed and fined, but research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety suggests that entering navigation settings or adjusting audio controls on the latest cars can be just as dangerous. The organization came to this conclusion after tasking researchers from the University of Utah to find out how distracting modern automobile navigation and entertainment systems are. This was done by asking volunteers to drive vehicles made by Ford, Dodge, Honda, General Motors and Kia.

After observing the 64 participants answer phone calls, send text messages, enter addresses and adjust entertainment settings, the researchers noticed that all of the vehicle technology was difficult to use. They then asked the students to perform the same tasks after connecting the vehicle entertainment and navigation systems to cellphones using the Apple Carplay and Android Auto applications. While these apps reduced the amount of time it took to complete most tasks, the researchers say that relying on them could still leave drivers dangerously distracted in many situations.

The consequences of a sexual assault conviction

If an alleged offender is convicted of sexual assault, they will be sentenced by a judge. The sentence can include jail time, fines or other penalties allowed by state law. The severity of a defendant's punishment will be determined by a variety of factors including details specific to a given case. In New York, individuals are sentenced to a range of years in prison as opposed to a specific amount.

New York state law makes sexual assault a felony that carries a prison term of between a year and seven years. When an offender is released depends on their criminal history as well as their actions while in custody. Not all states require a defendant to serve a range of years when sentenced for a sexual assault crime. For example, those convicted in California will serve a determinable sentence of up to 48 months.

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