“You have a truly sharp legal mind and your courtroom presence is among the best. I am forever grateful for your two years of hard work, dedication and service to my father's case.” — R.C.
“I give Mr. Spano the highest possible recommendation. Mr. Spano helped me navigate a somewhat unorthodox legal matter, did so quickly, and always kept me informed.”
“Thanks for taking my case and getting me a not guilty verdict. You are a great lawyer. I could not asked for anything more. Please know you hold a special place in my family's heart.” — G.B.
“Many thanks for the very professional and gentlemanly way that you conducted yourself at the trial of my son. I along with all of my family were thrilled beyond words with the outcome.” — B.B.
“Thank you for assuring me that just because a good honest person makes a mistake does not mean they have to be treated like a criminal!” — D.S.

Onondaga County Criminal Defense Blog

How social media use can affect your criminal case

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are just a few social media platforms that are used to connect and communicate with friends. You can choose your privacy settings and who you engage with, but can your social media postings influence your criminal case?

Facebook alone has close to 2 billion monthly users throughout the world. It is important that you know how social media use can directly affect your case and future if you are facing criminal charges.

Accomplice liability in New York

The company you keep can matter a great deal when it comes to criminal charges. Whether the crime in question involved a bar fight or a massive investment fraud scheme, the law can hold you responsible for something you did not do yourself.

Known as accomplice or accessorial liability, this principle holds that participating in a crime by encouraging or otherwise aiding the perpetrator is legally the same as committing the crime with your own hands. This means the accomplice gets slapped with the exact same charges as the perpetrator.

VERDICT: Baker not guilty of murder, guilty on weapons charges

A jury acquitted Lawrence Baker of murder Friday, but declared him guilty on two weapons charges tied to the death of 24-year-old Najee Holmes in Elmira.

After about three hours of deliberation, the 12-member jury handed up its decision to Chemung County Judge Richard Rich. Before the jury's decision was read, however, police presence in the courtroom more than doubled; At least 12 police officers wearing uniforms were on hand and several of plains-clothed officers were carefully watching the full courtroom.

Baker, a 25-year-old Elmira resident, faces a 5- to 15-year stay at state prison for the convictions. He's slated to be sentenced 9 a.m. March 3 as a second-felony offender. He'd previously been convicted of a felony drug charge in 2013.

Why people admit to crimes they did not commit

You may have heard of defendants who confess to committing a criminal act only later to claim the confession was false. Many people react skeptically. Why would an innocent person ever admit to unlawful behavior? However, there have been numerous cases where DNA and other solid evidence backed up the defendant's false confession claim. There may be several reasons why a defendant might admit to something he or she did not do.

Understanding the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine and how it could save you from criminal conviction

"Fruit of the poisonous tree" is a rather Gothic-sounding phrase for an important evidentiary principle designed to protect the rights of defendants in criminal cases. It expands the boundaries of the exclusionary rule, which prohibits the government from using unconstitutionally obtained evidence to prosecute a criminal defendant.

What is identity theft?

Identity theft, broadly defined, means using another person's identifying information or otherwise impersonating him or her in order to benefit financially. New York law also includes using another person's information in order to commit a crime or otherwise damage that person's reputation under the rubric of identity theft. Identity theft charges can result from a very wide range of activities from the unambiguously criminal to the arguably well-intentioned.

What is the difference between larceny and embezzlement?

Larceny and embezzlement are two closely related but distinct crimes against property. Embezzlement, which New York statutes refer to as grand larceny embezzlement, involves the misuse of property that one can legally access. Larceny, on the other hand, includes gaining unlawful access to another's property. Both of these crimes encompass a large range of conduct and can be grounds for prosecution for other types of property crimes, such as billing fraud.

A Q&A: Know your rights if you get pulled over by the police

Everyone knows that sinking feeling when they see flashing red lights in the rearview mirror. Even if it is a simple traffic violation it is intimidating to get pulled over by a police officer. In light of recent news stories of routine traffic stops getting out of hand it is important to know what your rights are as a citizen when getting pulled over by a police officer.

What should I do right away when I get pulled over?

First of all pull over to an area where it is safe and turn off your engine. It is best to place your hands on the steering wheel and roll your window down all the way. Wait before rummaging around in the vehicle for your ID or insurance. The officer will not know what you could be looking for (or hiding). Be courteous with the officer and that will help you both stay calm and comfortable.

Five big consequences for getting in trouble with the law at college

Temptation for trouble can be found all over college campuses. On a Friday night several houses near campus are packed full of students. They have cups filled to the top with beer and the air is hazy with smoke. Once the party is over the consequences can be serious. Getting caught drinking underage, using drugs, or other prohibited activities can affect a student's life long after graduation.

Of course, the biggest concern is criminal charges. If that is your situation, you need to contact a strong criminal defense attorney right away. In impaired driving cases, loss of driving privileges is also a real concern. Here, too, it is important to get smart legal counsel to protect your position.