Capital Region Legal News

Monday, September 21, 2015

Understanding the Legal Parameters of Negligence on the Road

How is negligence for drivers legally defined and when is a driver not responsible for damages he or she causes?

There are many instances in which a driver's negligence causes property damage, personal injury, or even death.  In these cases, the driver is considered "at fault,"  meaning that although he or she may not have intended to do any damage, the risks involved in his or her behavior should have been foreseen.  In such cases, damages can be recovered from the at-fault driver and/or that driver's insurance company.

In some situations, however, the driver is not held accountable for damage or injury caused by his or her actions. Typically, this is when the damages occur as a result of what is termed an "Act of God" or a "sudden medical emergency."  An "Act of God" usually refers to a weather condition or an event of nature, such as a tree spontaneously falling, over which the driver has no control.

A medical emergency, on the other hand, occurs when a person is physiologically overcome, another event over which he or she has no control.  A driver who has a sudden heart attack, for example, and, as a result,  loses control of the vehicle, plowing into a store front or home, cannot usually be held responsible for resulting occurrences, even catastrophic ones.  Sudden medical emergencies that have been used as a defense in vehicular accidents include:

  • Heart attacks or stroke
  • Diabetic events
  • Seizures
  • Medication reactions
  • Psychiatric delusions

Syncope, an idiopathic loss of consciousness (fainting), as well as episodes of severe sneezing or severe pain, have also been defined as "medical emergencies."

Nonetheless, drivers are expected to exercise reasonable care in the operation of their vehicles. This includes not only following the rules of the road and maintaining their vehicles so that they operate safely, but exercising reasonable caution relative to their own health conditions. There are situations in which, although the defendant driver has suffered a medical episode that resulted the accident, the driver can be held responsible for not taking appropriate precautions. These include situations in which the driver:

  • Had been medically advised not to drive
  • Had experienced similar episodes before
  • Felt ill, but continued driving
  • Took medication known to interfere with driving ability

It is possible to fake a medical episode, or to use a made-up medical episode as a defense, but it is very difficult to prove that such a scam has taken place, While whether a driver has suffered a heart attack can be proved through medical testing, an episode of syncope is almost impossible to substantiate or disprove. In New York State, the determination of negligence is made in terms of "foreseeability." If a driver has suffered fainting spells or hypoglycemic episodes previously, for instance, that driver may be held responsible for not foreseeing the reasonable possibility of their recurrence.

If you are facing charges related to a vehicular accident in upstate New York State, whether or not there are medical issues involved, or if you require skilled legal services for another reason, please contact one of our highly experienced criminal defense attorneys at Ianniello Anderson at 518.350.7755.


Friday, September 18, 2015

Questions Linger as Jenkins Murder Trial Goes to the Jury

How Important Are Possible Inconsistencies in Defending a Criminal Case?

The double murder trial of Andre Jenkins, now awaiting the jury's decision in Lockport, New York, is a case with a number of pertinent unanswered questions. The defense has argued that the prosecution has rushed to judgment, not giving sufficient weight to these questions, nor to the possible alternative scenarios that may explain them.

The case centers on the murder of two members of the Kingsmen Club, a motorcycle biker organization.  Jenkins, who allegedly came up from Florida to commit these murders, has been described by the prosecution as an enforcer for the biker organization, allegedly assigned to kill the two men who were apparently positioned to defect to a group of Kingsmen's rivals. He is facing charges of murder in the first degree, two counts of murder, and one count of criminal possession of a weapon.

Although the prosecution had in its arsenal photos of the crime scene, the testimony of a jailhouse informant, photos of the crime scene, and video taken outside the Kingsmen club, the defense has repeatedly brought up a number of unanswered, somewhat disturbing questions, including:

  • Why is there no physical evidence linking Jenkins to the crime?
  • Why were some individuals present at the crime scene not tested for DNA or gunshot residue?
  • Why were there inconsistencies among the testimony of several witnesses?
  • Why was there no grass found on the recovered gun and magazine even though the grass had been cut after the weapon was supposedly tossed into the grass?

There is clearly cogent evidence on both sides of this case, but, since it is the job of the defense attorney to create enough doubt in the jurors' minds to enable them to reach a not guilty verdict, questions like these have great significance.

If you, or someone close to you, has been accused of a crime, it is important to engage the best possible lawyer available. Our criminal defense attorneys at Ianniello Anderson have diligently served clients in Albany and throughout the upstate New York area for over 40 years. We look forward to the opportunity to serve you with our customary skill and concern and can be reached at 518.350.7755.


Monday, September 14, 2015

Nigel Smith Found Guilty of Second Degree Murder in Binghamton, New York

Do  witnesses provide sufficient evidence for conviction in criminal cases?

Forty-two-year-old Nigel Smith has been found guilty in a homicide case that took place in 2013. Smith who faced six counts -- one count of second degree murder, one count of robbery in the first degree, two counts of robbery in the second degree, one count each of criminal trespass and resisting arrest -- has been convicted of five of the six charges, including second degree murder. Jurors assigned to the case deliberated for approximately 5 hours. At two points during their deliberations, they asked for clarifications, first of the definition of the second degree murder and  robbery charges, and later for a read-back of testimony from a witness.

The witness, presently an inmate in the Broome County Jail, testified that the defendant had confessed to being involved in the murder while the two were incarcerated together in 2013. Smith is the second person to be accused of this crime.  Prosecutors argued that the victim was a known drug dealer  and that both defendants, Smith and a man named Calvin Bell, believed the victim had sexually assaulted Bell's girlfriend and were seeking revenge.

Calvin Bell was found not guilty of the crime this past June while Smith was still at large. Three months after the alleged homicide took place, Smith was arrested  following a car chase. In spite of the evidence against him, Smith's attorney has maintained that the credibility of the witness, a convicted criminal, was questionable.  Now that he has been convicted, however, Smith faces 25 years to life in state prison.

Criminal cases
are not always as clear-cut as they appear and every defendant is entitled to a vigorous defense, no matter what the circumstances or the weight of evidence.  If you face criminal prosecution and want the best defense possible, by all means contact Ianniello Anderson where experienced attorneys have been providing excellent legal services for over 40 years.  Serving clients throughout the eastern upstate New York region and can be reached at 518.350.7755.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Victims of a Ponzi Scheme Involving Montauk Real Estate May Recoup Their Investment

In a strange twist of fate, victims of two scam artist brothers-in-law may be able to recoup their losses. Fooled into investing $96 million into what they believed to be appropriately managed funds, the victims were unwittingly supporting Panoramic View Resort and Residences in Montauk, Long Island. At the time the investors were scammed, the property was languishing and the con artists were attempting to bolster its value by diverting funds to maintain and improve the property.

One of the brothers-in-law, Brian R. Callahan, presented himself as a hedge-fund manager. His sales pitch, which was obviously very successful, convinced 45 potential clients that investing with him would be both wise and lucrative, since the funds he represented were well-known and safe. He further stated that his clients would have the advantage of investing in liquid assets, from which money could be withdrawn, if necessary, with only a few days notice. Ironically, as sometimes happens, unsuspecting clients, who wanted to avoid the risks of the stock market, felt safe investing with Callahan.

Amazingly, the swindlers, so adept at losing large quantities of other people's money, turned out to have a flair for, or just good luck with, real estate. The brothers-in-law themselves did not profit from their investment in Panoramic View, since not long after they bought the resort, the stock market collapsed and they wound up in terrible debt. By two years after their arrest, however, property values had soared once again so that now the Montauk property is extremely valuable.

Obviously, this turn of events is a rarity, but, at this point in the case, the federal government has the opportunity to sell the property at a high enough price to at least partially reimburse the investors who were originally defrauded.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding real estate investments or real estate law in general, please don't hesitate to call on the dedicated and trustworthy attorneys of Ianniello Anderson, serving clients in Albany, Clifton Park, Glens Falls, Saratoga Springs, Troy and the entirety of Northeastern NY for over 40 years.  We can be reached at (518) 350.7755.


Sunday, August 30, 2015

Woman Stabs Her 79-Year-Old Mother to Death

Is It Possible to Mount a Legitimate Defense for a Crime Perceived as Particularly Heinous?

Because of the frequency with which intra-familial crimes occur, the unthinkable has become hard to deny.  A few days ago, an inconceivable act once again occurred, this time in Nassau County, New York.  As far as the case has been deciphered so far,  a middle-aged daughter with a history of serious psychiatric illness stabbed her 79-year-old mother to death with a kitchen knife. The deadly argument apparently concerned the daughter's ongoing medical problems and treatment. This is not an uncommon cause of family disputes, particularly where mental illness and/or substance abuse are involved.

The victim, described as a "loving grandmother and neighbor" died of her multiple stab wounds .

The daughter, an attorney herself, who does not have any criminal background, called the police to report the assault  and was later taken into custody. A weapon was recovered at the scene and an autopsy is being performed.

The daughter,  the mother of three college-aged children, has been described by her attorney as "very distraught" and "a very decent person" in spite of the terrible act she committed. No doubt the daughter's extensive and serious psychiatric history will be part of her defense.

Criminal behavior is, unfortunately, part of life, whether committed by strangers or family members. If you or someone close to you has been charged with a criminal offense, please contact our caring and competent attorneys at  Ianniello Anderson where we have been successfully defending clients in Albany, Clifton Park, Glens Falls, Saratoga Springs, Troy and the entirety of Northeastern NY for over 40 years.  We can be reached at (518) 350.7755.


Friday, August 14, 2015

Bill Clinton Disavows His Anti-Crime Legislation

Can you serve hard time for a minor crime?

In 1994, responding to fears of increasing crime and the danger it presented to American society, Former President Bill Clinton enacted a law that was instrumental in lengthening criminal sentences and ushering in what, his wife, Hillary Clinton now refers to as "the incarceration generation." Designed to keep citizens safer, Bill Clinton's anti-crime legislation resulted in the imprisonment of those convicted of even minor crimes, for what he now admits was "way too long." He now expresses regret that the legislation has led to skewed, overly lengthy criminal sentences.

In recent years, it has become achingly apparent that the criminal justice system in this country needs a major overhaul and Mr. Clinton is now pushing for reforms promised by Hillary in her campaign for President.

Mr. Clinton now admits that he went overboard in his attempt to be tough on crime and to promote a compromise with the Republicans, who were adamant about lowering crime rates. The steps Mr. Clinton took in his landmark legislation included:

• Putting 100,000 more police officers on the street
• Banning the use of certain assault rifles
• Enacting background checks for many gun purchases
• Allocating increased resources to fight violence against women
Though crime rates did come down after the legislation was enacted, representing the sharpest drop and the first eight-year decline in crime history, reducing a wave of gang violence that had been terrifying communities, longer prison sentences under both state and federal law resulted. According to Bill Clinton himself, too many low-level criminals were incarcerated for extended periods of time. In his admission, he stated that, "I signed a bill that made the problem worse."

In 2015, there is nearly twice the number of prisoners in this country than there was when Mr. Clinton took office. The 2.2 million people now behind bars in the United States represent a widely skewed percentage of Americans compared to prison populations in other countries. Although this country contains only 5 percent of the world’s population, it has 20 percent of the world's prison population. There is a groundswell of liberal and conservative support for the creation of bipartisan legislation to reduce imprisonment of nonviolent offenders in the United States.

If you or a member of your family is dealing with an issue of arrest or imprisonment, the capable and compassionate criminal defense attorneys of Ianniello Anderson are available to assist you. Serving clients in the Albany, Clifton Park, Glens Falls, Saratoga Springs, Troy, and the entire Northeastern NY areas at (518) 350.7755.   


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Tenant Issues: When Your Neighbor Is a Hoarder

How to deal with a hoarding neighbor?

While there are some clear benefits to being a tenant, including less investment in property and lack of responsibility for most home services and repairs, situations arise do in which the tenant feels trapped and unempowered byhis or her status. Dealing with hoarders is one such situation.

With surprising frequency, tenants are confronted with neighbors who collect and save not only treasured items,but also large quantities of useless objects and materials, debris and even garbage. Such behavior interferes with the quality of life of any people living in close proximity. Beyond creating an unsightly and malodorous environment, hoarding can present serious health hazards by filling the environment with microscopic pathogens and by attracting vermin.

Scientific research has shown that hoarders suffer from serious psychiatric illness, but this insight does not make the condition any easier for neighbors to deal with.  While one may feel human concern for the hoarder, it is still necessary to intervene so that the adjacent tenants are not harmed by his or her pathology.

Although hoarding cases are known to be difficult to resolve legally, since the courts are reluctant to evict people with this disorder, there are several methods of dealing with hoarding issues, including reporting the matter to:

• The co-op board or management team;
• The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
• The Adult Protective Services Program

The co-op board and management team are obligated to enforce both the warrant of habitability clause of your lease and all building regulations; the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is required to maintain public health and safety as it is threatened by mental illness; Adult Protective Services is required to investigate cases in which adults are unable to take care of themselves and is obligated to appoint the hoarder a guardian if this is deemed necessary. Sometimes just the threat of mandatory treatment or eviction is enough to push the hoarder to control, at least to a degree, his or her troubling behavior.

Tenant issues, of which hoarding neighbors are just one example, can present serious difficulties. If your life as a renter is troubled by a hoarder, noise or other environmental intrusion that disturbs your quality of life, please contact the capable real estate attorneys of Ianniello Anderson, serving clients in the Albany, Clifton Park, Glens Falls, Saratoga Springs, Troy, and the entire Northeastern NY areas at (518) 350.7755.                  


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Best Practices

Albany, NY, NY Ianniello Anderson, P.C., a law firm with four offices throughout the Capital Region and with lawyers licensed to practice in New York, California, Florida and Maryland, and its affiliate, Northway Title Agency, Inc., recently received certifications for compliance with the Best Practices Program of the American Land Title Association’s (ALTA) Best Practices. Ianniello Anderson, P.C. and Northway Title Agency, Inc. are among the first firms in the nation and currently the first and only firm in the State of New York to receive the unqualified certifications for compliance with ALTA’s Best Practices.


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Monday, October 28, 2013

Ianniello Anderson, P.C. Gets Recognized

Ianniello Anderson, P.C. is recognized throughout the Capital District for providing a full range of legal services, with offices throughout Upstate NY and the Tech Valley Region.


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