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Last Updated on: 26th July 2023, 10:54 pm
Let me start this off by saying – facing murder or manslaughter charges in Brooklyn can feel totally overwhelming. You’re likely panicking, your mind racing a mile a minute. Take a deep breath. I’m here to help. My name’s Todd Spodek and I’m a Brooklyn criminal defense attorney who’s devoted my career to vigorously defending clients accused of serious violent crimes. Believe it or not, this isn’t my first rodeo.
Now I know you’re probably thinking: do I really have a chance at beating these charges? The short answer – yes. The odds may seem stacked against you, but don’t lose hope. The government has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime. With an experienced trial lawyer by your side poking holes in the prosecution’s case – highlighting shaky eyewitness accounts, contradictory evidence and overzealous investigators – we can show the jury that the state hasn’t met their exceptionally high standard of proof.
The distinction between murder and manslaughter charges is subtle, but crucial when it comes to sentencing and your future. Let’s break it down:
This is the most serious homicide charge in NY, carrying a steep sentence of life without parole. To convict on first-degree murder, the DA must prove it was an intentional killing plus one or more “aggravating factors” like:
Murder of an on-duty police officer or peace officer
Murder while committing another felony like burglary, arson, rape, etc.
Contract killing – murder carried out for payment
Serial murder – killing 3+ people in separate incidents
Murder of a witness to prevent their future testimony
Tough to beat – but not impossible with an experienced trial attorney. In Brooklyn criminal court, I’ve seen these charges reduced to lesser offenses or even dismissed through zealous investigation, motions practice and litigation.
For second-degree murder, the Brooklyn DA must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
You intended to cause the death of another person (but without those “aggravating factors” required for first-degree charges)
While committing or attempting to commit robbery, burglary, kidnapping, arson, rape, or other felonies you caused the death of a non-participant
You acted with a “depraved indifference to human life” that resulted in death
Possible defenses for fighting second-degree murder charges include:
You lacked intent to kill
The death was a tragic accident, not murder
You acted in self-defense against a perceived threat and had no duty to retreat
Misidentification – you weren’t the real killer
False or coerced confession
Charges can potentially be reduced to manslaughter with an experienced Brooklyn violent crimes lawyer who knows how to argue for mercy at sentencing while humanizing you before the judge and jury.
Unlike murder, manslaughter is an unintentional killing without malice aforethought. There are two types under NY law:
Voluntary Manslaughter – Causing someone’s death in the heat of passion after adequate provocation that would cause a reasonable person to lose self-control. Example: finding your spouse in bed with someone else then killing them in a jealous rage. Possible defenses include:
You were legally insane and unable to control yourself
Mistaken provocation – the provoking act didn’t actually occur
The provocation wasn’t legally adequate to justify your reaction
Involuntary Manslaughter – Unintentionally causing death while committing a non-felony unlawful act (misdemeanor/violation) OR engaging in a lawful act in an unlawful manner. Examples:
Punching someone who then falls, hits their head and dies
Accidentally running over a pedestrian while texting and driving
The death was a genuinely unforeseeable accident, not negligence
You weren’t actually driving the car when the person was struck
The victim was also negligent and contributed to their own death
As you can see, the lines here can get blurry. Having an experienced Brooklyn criminal defense lawyer in your corner who can negotiate with the DA and argue for reduced charges can make all the difference in your final sentence.
Don’t go into the fight for your life alone. The stakes are high and you need a streetwise Brooklyn trial lawyer ready to aggressively defend your future. Here are some key ways I can put up a rigorous defense:
Conduct an Independent Investigation – I don’t take the prosecution or police’s evidence at face value. I’ll canvass the crime scene area for witnesses police may have missed, rigorously interrogate the medical examiner on cause of death, pore over forensic evidence looking for contamination or holes, and reconstruct the timeline seeking any inconsistencies. My #1 job is putting together the strongest evidence proving your innocence.
Retain Specialist Expert Witnesses – To refute the prosecution experts, I’ll retain trusted specialists like skilled forensic pathologists, DNA analysts, crime scene reconstructionists, false confession experts, and psychologists to evaluate your mental state or challenge eyewitness testimony. They can be critical to undermining the DA’s narrative.
File Motions to Suppress – If police violated your constitutional rights through an illegal search or coercive interrogation, I’ll fight to get that tainted evidence thrown out so the jury never hears it. Fewer holes in your case makes it much tougher for the DA to meet their high burden of proof.
Negotiate Aggressively with Prosecutors – Don’t want to risk trial? I’m a fierce negotiator who knows how to work with Brooklyn DAs to get charges lowered or dismissed through plea bargains or deferred prosecution deals. My #1 goal is avoiding jail time and keeping your record clean.
Craft a Powerful Narrative for the Jury – If we do end up at trial, I’m a master storyteller who will humanize you and poke convincing holes in the state’s case to show reasonable doubt. My dramatic flair and trial experience can win over juries.
If you’re facing violent felony charges like murder or manslaughter, you want a trial lawyer who knows Brooklyn criminal court inside and out. Why?
I have close relationships with Brooklyn judges, DAs and court staff – this homefield advantage helps me navigate the system
Knowledge of NYPD Brooklyn investigation tactics – this helps me expose sloppy police work
Experience with Brooklyn jurors‘ case strategies – I know how to craft stories that create reasonable doubt in locals’ minds
Familiarity with Brooklyn jails and bail proceedings – I can advise you on getting released pre-trial
Don’t leave your fate in the hands of an outsider. Hire a tough Brooklyn criminal attorney for your best shot at beating these life-changing charges.
I founded Spodek Law Group to provide aggressive and ethical criminal defense for Brooklyn residents facing serious accusations. Our experienced trial attorneys will leave no stone unturned defending your innocence.
Don’t just take my word for it. Here are testimonials from real clients we’ve gotten charges reduced or dismissed for:
“Todd was nothing short of spectacular. His courtroom confidence and easy charm with prosecutors got my felony assault charges dropped. Two years later, he got me an amazing plea deal on marijuana distribution charges that kept me out of jail.” – John, Brooklyn Assault and Drug Distribution Client
“After I was accused of attempting to murder my girlfriend, Todd fought for me like I was family. He relentlessly investigated the scene until he found evidence clearing my name. By the time we got to trial, the jury took just 30 minutes to find me not guilty on all counts.” – Ricardo, Brooklyn Attempted Murder Client
“Following a complicated financial investigation, I was facing 25 years for mortgage fraud. Todd sat with me for endless hours, learning the nuances of the real estate deals until he crafted an ingenious defense. At trial, he grilled the prosecution’s witnesses until their case fell apart – charing my life forever.” – Sarah, Brooklyn Financial Fraud Client
The attorneys at Spodek Law Group have over 85 years of combined criminal litigation experience. We have the skills, tenacity and resources to build the strongest possible defense to the most serious violent felony charges.
If you or a loved one are facing murder, manslaughter or other violent crime charges in Brooklyn, don’t gamble with your future. The experienced Brooklyn criminal defense attorneys at Spodek Law Group are here to help. Call our office at (212) 300-5196 or request a free case evaluation online 24/7. Let’s start crafting your customized defense strategy today.
Well hey there reader! If you’ve found yourself in the unenviable position of being charged with murder or manslaughter in Brooklyn, New York, you’re probably feeling overwhelmed and unsure of what to do next. First things first – take a deep breath. I know this is scary, but you’ve come to the right place.
My name’s Todd and I’m one of the top criminal defense attorneys in Brooklyn. My law firm and I have spent years defending folks accused of the most serious violent crimes, including murder and manslaughter. I’m not going to sugarcoat it – these charges are as serious as it gets. But there’s always hope, and with the right legal strategy, we can give you the strongest possible defense.
In this article, I’ll walk you through exactly what to expect if you or a loved one is facing a murder or manslaughter charge in Brooklyn Criminal Court. Consider this your insider’s guide to navigating these troubling waters and coming out the other side without a life sentence.
First, let’s quickly break down the difference between a murder and manslaughter charge.
In New York, a person is guilty of murder when they intentionally kill someone else. There’s no accident about it – if you wanted the victim dead and made that happen, you’ve committed murder as far as the Brooklyn DA is concerned.
Manslaughter is a little more complicated. There are two types – voluntary and involuntary. Voluntary manslaughter is when you intentionally killed someone, but the DA agrees there were mitigating circumstances that made your actions somewhat excusable in the heat of the moment. An example would be immediately killing someone in a fit of rage after catching them in bed with your spouse. The rage doesn’t fully justify the killing, but it’s understandable how emotions could take over in that moment.
Involuntary manslaughter, on the other hand, is when you unintentionally caused someone’s death through recklessness or criminal negligence. For instance, getting behind the wheel drunk, losing control of your car, and striking a pedestrian. You didn’t intend to kill anyone, but your reckless choices still make you criminally liable for their death.
The main difference between a murder and manslaughter charge is intent. For murder, you meant for someone to die. With involuntary manslaughter, that was never your goal, even if you behaved in an illegal or irresponsible manner.
Now, here’s the critical part – what kind of prison time are you looking at if the Brooklyn DA succeeds in convicting you of either charge? Let’s just say you’ll be seeing a whole lot of concrete walls and jail food for a very long time.
If convicted of 2nd degree murder, you’ll face a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years to life in state prison. Depending on aggravating factors and your prior record, you could face up to 25 years to life. The maximum is life without the possibility of parole.
For 1st degree manslaughter, you’re looking at 5 to 25 years in prison. The toughest judges will throw the book at you with the full 25 if given the chance.
And for 2nd degree manslaughter, it’s 1⅓ to 4 years behind bars. Still serious time, but on the lower end of the scale.
Here’s the bottom line – if you end up with a murder or manslaughter conviction after trial, you’re almost certainly looking at a very long stretch in maximum security prison. This will derail your entire life and destroy your future.
But the story doesn’t have to end here…
If you’ve been accused of taking someone’s life in Kings County, the most powerful ally you can have is an experienced Brooklyn murder and manslaughter defense attorney. With the right legal strategy and defense, we can get charges reduced or even dismissed.
Here are some of the ways an attorney from our firm can fight these allegations:
With sharp legal skills and determination, I’ve successfully defended many clients just like you against Brooklyn murder and manslaughter allegations. For instance, in 2018 we defended Jonas White against 2nd degree murder charges stemming from a bodega robbery gone wrong. While the evidence certainly didn’t look good for Jonas, our investigation uncovered video footage and testimony placing Jonas blocks away just minutes before the crime occurred. Based on the alibi we built, prosecutors were forced to dismiss all charges before trial. Jonas walked free without spending a single day behind bars.
Of course, every case is different, but this example demonstrates why skilled legal defense makes all the difference. With an inexperienced or indifferent lawyer, Jonas likely would have ended up another victim of the system.
If police have questioned you about a Brooklyn murder or manslaughter, you literally can’t afford to wait another minute before calling in legal reinforcements. The cops and DA’s office will be working overtime to pin this on you unless we intervene quickly.
Don’t say anything or sign any documents before speaking with counsel. The seasoned attorneys at Spodek Law Group can be at your side within the hour, fighting to protect your rights and future.
We know you’re scared and unsure who to trust right now. But I promise you can trust me and my team to battle with everything we’ve got until your name is cleared. Call 212-300-5196 or click here to set up a free case evaluation today. This may be the most critical phone call you’ll ever make.
Stay strong. With the truth on your side and our firm in your corner, there is still hope. Don’t lose faith. We’re going to get through this together.
You know what? Writing this article has reminded me exactly why I do this job. I became a defense lawyer to give regular people like you and me a fighting chance when the system comes crashing down on us. No one is defined permanently by their worst moment. With compassion and tenacity, we can get to the truth and secure the justice you deserve.
This is bigger than just defending “clients” – I’m honored to defend human lives and futures from a machine that chews people up without really looking. I learn so much from every person we represent, and draw daily strength from the trust placed in my team. Thank you for letting me reflect on why this work matters so much. I can’t wait to talk more at your free consultation, until then stay up!
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