State – The Westchester Supreme and County Court are located at 111 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, White Plains, NY 10601. The criminal department is located on the second floor.

Federal – The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, White Plains Courthouse is located 300 Quarropas Street White Plains, NY 10601-4150. Since the courthouse is a secure building, as such be certain to allow extra time to pass through the security screening. The Federal Courthouse prohibits the use of cell phones, tape recorders and cameras inside the courthouse.

Defense Motion Practice in Westchester/Open File Discovery – Under the Brady Rule the prosecution is required to provide exculpatory material to a criminal defendant which may help establish their innocence (exculpatory evidence) and evidence which may be used to call into the question the testimony of adverse witnesses (impeachment evidence). Open file discovery takes the process of disclosure in a criminal case beyond the Brady Rule wherein the prosecution will provide the defendant access to the entire investigative file rather than disclosure of exculpatory or impeachment evidence.

Arrest – An individual who has been arrested will be taken into custody by the arresting officer and taken to the local precinct for initial processing. Here, an officer will conduct an interview; review any background information such as outstanding arrest warrants, take fingerprints and inventory all belongings in your possession. After this process is completed, you will be taken to Central Booking for arraignment before a judge. At Central Booking, the process of preparing your file to be presented to the court for arraignment begins. Once the paperwork is complete the case will be placed on the docket for formal arraignment.

Arraignment – At the formal arraignment, if you have made arrangements to be represented by legal counsel your lawyer will be able to submit a “Notice of Appearance” to the Court. If you are unable to afford your own lawyer the court will appoint an attorney to represent you. During the arraignment, you will be informed of formal charges against you, asked to enter a plea and a determination of bail will be set by the court.

After being arrested, an individual in Federal custody, will appear in Court for the first time at an Initial Appearance. This generally occurs within 48 hours of arrest. The initial appearance is a brief court appearance used for the purpose of appointing a lawyer for the accused if the accused does not have private counsel, provide a copy of the charges to the accused and read the charges in open court. During the initial appearance a bail determination is made based on an interview conducted with the accused by the pre trial services officer and any other evidence submitted to the court by the accused and the prosecution.

Initial Appearances in the Southern District of New York they take place in in the courtroom of the magistrate who is on duty for that day.

Pre Trial Diversion

In limited circumstances, the prosecutor may elect to not file formal charges and offer the accused an opportunity to participate in a Pretrial Diversion Program. The Pretrial Diversion Program depends on the accused’s eligibility for the program and ability to comply with any terms of the program. Upon completion of the Pretrial Diversion, the accused will have no criminal record stemming from the proposed charges.

If the accused does not meet the criteria for Pretrial Diversion, the next court appearance will be the arraignment. Here the accused is read or given a copy of the charge and is asked to plead guilty or not guilty.

Westchester County District Attorney Janet Di Fiore announced that John Murray was convicted on 4/17/14 after a jury trial of all counts in the indictment charging him with: one count of Murder in the First Degree, a class “A-1” Felony and one count of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, a class “C” Felony, in connection with the murder of Terry Camper a Peeskill, NY cab driver.

Westchester County District Attorney Janet Di Fiore announced on 4/16/14 that Justin Sutton was convicted of all four counts in the indictment charging him with: two counts of Identity Theft in the First Degree, class “D” Felonies, one count of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, class “D” Felony, one count of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class “E” Felony. The DA’s office report between Sept. 27, 2012 and Oct. 1, 2012, the defendant stole cash and went on a shopping spree by making unauthorized ATM withdrawals and unauthorized purchase withdrawals from victim’s accounts.

The US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York announced on 4/17/14 that Sant Singh Chatwal pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the Federal Election Campaign Act (the “Election Act”) by making more than $180,000 in federal campaign donations to three candidates1 through straw donors who were reimbursed, and to witness tampering. Chatwal further agreed to forfeit $1 million to the United States. Chatwal faces a maximum prison term of 25 years.

The US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York announced on 4/14/14 that Joseph Romano was sentenced to two terms of life in prison for conspiring to murder the Assistant United States Attorney and the United States District Judge involved in his prior prosecution for fraud. The life terms of imprisonment were ordered to run consecutively to Romano’s 15-year sentence for fraud.