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Successful Appeal Cuts Decades Off Client's Prison Sentence

11-Dec-2015

Robert Schuster is known as being not only one of the most prolific criminal defense attorneys in New York, representing clients in courtrooms throughout Westchester County and further afield, but also as one of the most effective attorneys in the state. An example of his success in achieving impressive results for his clients occurred earlier this year when he was able to secure a reversal of a sentence so severe that it made news headlines.

In early 2014, the news broke that a 26-year-old Montrose man had been handed a staggering 40-year prison sentence for his conviction on charges of selling heroin (four counts of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree). The news sparked outrage in many circles, with people raising questions about why a young man should be sent to prison for what could amount to most of his adult life for selling small quantities of drugs on the street. He plead guilty to selling heroin on four separate occasions – for a total of $360 – and his punishment would have him spending four decades behind bars.

The defendant’s mother was quoted in the news, claiming that her son was being used as a scapegoat to quell public concern over the recent epidemic of heroin and painkiller addiction and overdose deaths. “He’ll be 66 years old when he comes out. I’ll never see my son again outside of jail. I’ll be dead,” the mother said.

Recently, the young man and his family enjoyed a reversal of fortune and a reprieve from the outcome they received at the sentencing. Robert Schuster represented the defendant in an appeal which was heard by the Supreme Court of the State of New York Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department, with arguments being held on April 7, 2015.

The judgment was modified “as a matter of discretion in the interest of justice,” with the result that the defendant’s four terms of imprisonment will now run concurrently with each other, with the appeals court affirming that the original sentence was “excessive” in directing that the four terms should run consecutively. Those terms will also run concurrent to an existing Federal sentence, resulting in absolutely no additional time added to the defendant's sentence. This saved this young man decades in prison. This successful outcome was particularly impressive in light of the fact that, as part of his guilty plea, the defendant had in fact waived his right to appeal. Schuster succeeded in moving the appeal forward, however, by arguing that the client had not knowingly, voluntarily and intelligently waive his right to an appeal, given that he had been deprived of effective counsel in the original County Court case. (Read the full appeal here.)

There is no guarantee of an outcome in any case, but if you are facing serious consequences after an arrest in New York, choose Westchester County criminal defense attorney Robert Schuster, who has a track record of taking on the odds and winning.