Articles Posted in Celebrity crime

Doc Gooden, the 45 year old former star pitcher for the New York Mets and the Yankees, was arrested this past Tuesday in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey for driving while under the influence of drugs, leaving the scene of an accident, and child endangerment. Gooden was driving his five year old son to school and was arrested when he left the scene after colliding with another car and a bystander called 911. Fortunately, no one was injured in the accident.

Gooden was a big part of the New York Mets 1986 championship team and also a member of the 1996 and 2000 Yankees World Series teams. He has been arrested numerous times over the last 20 years for drug and alcohol violations and has reportedly undergone 5 different stints in alcohol and drug rehabilitation. Most recently, Gooden served as a senior vice president for the minor league Newark Bears. He turned down an offer this past winter to work with the New York Mets in spring training.

Gooden is very fortunate that the DWI charges he faces occurred in New Jersey and not in New York. Under the recently enacted “Leandra’s Law” in New York, he would have automatically been charged with a felony for allegedly driving while under the influence of drugs with a child younger than 16 in the vehicle.

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Lil Wayne, also known as “Weezy”, whose real name is Dwayne Carter, was sentenced to one year in jail on March 8, 2010 by Judge Charles Solomon of the New York County Supreme Court. In October of 2009, Mr. Carter pled guilty to attempted possession of a weapon after a gun was found on his tour bus back in 2007. The sentencing had been delayed twice, once related to dental work that Lil Wayne was undergoing and the second due to a courthouse fire.

Under the New York Penal Law, Criminal Possession of a weapon can be anything from a Class A Misdemeanor (for example upon a conviction for possession of a switchblade), through a Class B Felony (for possession of ten or more firearms or possession of an explosive substance with intent to use against person or property).

With good behavior, the one year sentence could be reduced to eight months.

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The Washington Wizards’ all-star guard Gilbert Arenas pled guilty on January 15, 2010 to one felony count of unlicensed gun possession in a Washington, D.C. Court. The plea arises out of an incident in early January when Arenas brought guns into the Wizards locker room in a confrontation with teammate Javaris Crittenton. Arenas will not be sentenced until March 26, 2010, and is apparently facing the possibility of 6 months of jail time. He has also been suspended indefinitely from the NBA by Commissioner David Stern. Additionally, the Wizards could attempt to void the $111 million contract Arenas signed last year based on a morals clause in the contract.

This incident calls to mind the case in New York of ex New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress, who is now serving a 2 year jail sentence after he pled guilty to unlicensed possession of a firearm last year. Had Burress not pled guilty, he was looking at the possibility of a mandatory sentence of 3 1/2 years in prison if convicted of the crime of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree.

It would appear that the Wizards and the NBA have a significant public relations problem when their star player, who led the league in scoring a few years ago, is facing felony jail time and appeared to be unrepentant when first charged with the crime, leading to Stern’s decision to suspend him indefinitely

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Scott Siegel, a 35 year old New Rochelle resident who gained notoriety last year for his role in the Oscar nominated “The Wrestler”, pled guilty on October 2 to two counts of using a deadly weapon to assault federal officers and one count of possessing and distributing steroids. On February 18th last year, federal agents and local officers attempted to arrest Mr. Siegel outside his parents’ Eastchester home. Instead of surrendering, Siegel led them on a wild chase through Eastchester and Tuckahoe, ramming several police cars and attempting to strike an officer on foot as well.

Mr. Siegel was found to have 1,500 bottles of anabolic steroids and $100,000 in cash. For the highest charge of New York assault with a deadly weapon, Siegel faces up to twenty years in prison. Under federal sentencing guidelines, he could receive a sentence of just over 5 years in prison. Siegel is being held without bail and will be sentenced on January 14, 2010.

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Plaxico Burress, the ex-New York Giants star wide receiver who caught the game winning pass in Super Bowl 42, was indicted on August 4th on New York gun possession charges. Burress was indicted on two counts of second degree criminal possession of a weapon and one count of second degree reckless endangerment.

The New York criminal weapon charges stem from an incident on November 29, 2008 at the Latin Quarter nightclub in Manhattan. Mr. Burress accidentally fired his .40 caliber Glock semiautomatic pistol, which had been tucked into the waistband of his jeans, narrowly missing a club employee, and shooting himself in the thigh. Burress had a gun permit in Florida, but that permit expired 7 months earlier, and he did not have a permit in New York.

Apparently, there had been negotiations between the New York County District Attorney’s office and Mr. Burress’ attorney regarding the amount of jail time Mr. Burress would have to serve in a plea deal, but negotiations broke down when Robert Morgenthau, the New York D.A. insisted on more than one year in jail. If Mr. Burress is convicted on the criminal possession charges, New York law mandates a minimum three and a half year prison term.

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Donte Stallworth, the Cleveland Browns star wide receiver, began serving a 30 day jail term this week in Miami, Florida after his guilty plea to DWI manslaughter in connection with the death of 59 year old construction worker Mario Reyes. On March 14, 2009, after a night of drinking at Miami’s Fountainebleau Hotel, Stallworth drove his 2005 Bentley while intoxicated, striking Mr. Reyes, who had just finished his shift as a crane operator and was attempting to catch a bus near the hotel. Stallworth stopped his vehicle after the crash and admitted to officers that he had struck Mr. Reyes. Stallworth’s blood alcohol content (BAC) was determined to be .126, well in excess of Florida’s .08 limit.

After his release from jail, Stallworth must complete two years of house arrest, (which will allow him to continue his NFL career) and be on probation for eight years. In addition to the 30 day jail sentence, Stallworth must undergo drug and alcohol testing, will have a lifetime suspension of his driver’s license, and must perform 1,000 hours of community service. Had Stallworth gone to trial on the charges and lost, he faced up to 15 years in jail. Apparently, after five years, Mr. Stallworth may have an opportunity to obtain a conditional license to drive to and from work if he successfully complies with all conditions of his sentence and has no other charges. Reportedly, Mr. Stallworth has also worked out a financial settlement with the Reyes family.

Contact the Criminal Defense lawyers at the White Plains, New York Law Office Of Mark A. Siesel online or toll free at (914) 428-7386 for a free consultation if you or a loved one has been charged with a crime in New York

New York State Senator Hiram Monserrate is facing New York felony assault charges after a Queens County grand jury indictment on March 23, 2009. The indictment charges that on December 19 of last year, Mr. Monserrate assaulted his girlfriend Karla Girardo with a drinking glass, causing a gash that required 20 stitches to close.

Both Monserrate and Girardo have denied the charges, claiming that the incident occurred when Mr. Monserrate fell while bringing Girardo a glass of water. Monserrate alleges that the charges of New York assault are politically motivated due to a “vendetta” that Queens District Attorney Richard Brown has against him. The A.D.A. prosecuting the case pointed to a video showing Ms. Girardo coming out of an apartment with a towel to her face and Monserrate yanking her away as she tries to hold onto a banister as proof that the injury was not an accident. Further, prosecutors stated that Ms. Girardo told hospital personnel that Monserrate had struck her with a broken glass. If convicted on the felony assault charges, Mr. Monserrate faces up to seven years in prison.

Contact the White Plains criminal defense lawyers at The Law Office of Mark A. Siesel online or toll free at (914) 428-7386 if you or a loved one have been charged with a crime for a free consultation with an experienced, knowledgeable lawyer to discuss your legal rights and options.

Scott Siegel, who ironically portrayed a steroids dealer in the Oscar nominated movie “The Wrestler”, is facing federal drug charges in New York after leading federal and local authorities in a wild chase in his Cadillac Escalade through Eastchester this past Wednesday evening. Mr. Siegel allegedly rammed police cruisers, crashed through a wood fence and ran through the streets of Eastchester in an effort to avoid capture by DEA agents, who contacted local police to assist in the apprehension of Siegel. It is also alleged that Siegel managed to shake off a Westchester Task Force agent who had grabbed on to the passenger door, and drove straight at an other officer in an attempt to run the officer down.

Mr. Siegel is being charged with distribution of steroids, and assaulting a federal officer, both of which are felonies under state and federal law. Federal agents claimed that they recovered 1,500 bottles of steroids and $150,000 in cash at Siegel’s parents’ home in New Rochelle.

Based on two prior convictions for illegal drugs, as well as his attempt at flight, Siegel was denied bail by U.S. Magistrate Judge George Yanthis on February 19th, and was returned to the Westchester County jail.

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On December 21, 2008, star guard Jason Richardson of the Phoenix Suns was charged with DWI in downtown Phoenix. Richardson was arrested after he was allegedly observed drifting between lanes in his 2008 Mercedes. He is accused of having a BAC (blood alcohol content) in excess of .08. In New York, Mr. Richardson would be facing potential revocation of his driver’s license for 6 months and fines in the range of $750-$1,000 if convicted on a DWI charge. However, on a first drunk driving offense in New York, and if no one was injured and there was no property damage, Mr. Richardson would be eligible for a DWAI (driving while ability impaired). A DWAI is a traffic violation, not a misdemeanor, and results in a 90 day suspension of the driver’s license instead of a 6 month revocation, and significantly reduced fines of approximately $500 including surcharges.

Former NBA star Antoine Walker was charged with suspicion of drunk driving in Miami Beach in the early morning on January 5, 2009. Walker was allegedly driving a black Mercedes without headlights on when he was pulled over by local police. Officers detected a strong odor of alcohol, and Mr. Walker refused a chemical test of his breath. He was being held on $1,000 bond. If the refusal occurred in New York, there is a potential penalty of a one year revocation of his driver’s license, and there is a separate administrative license hearing regarding the refusal which is conducted within ten days of the arrest at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

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Lillo Brancato Jr., the 32 year old actor known for his roles in the movie “A Bronx Tale” and in the T.V. series the “Sopranos”, was found not guilty of a Bronx County second degree murder charge and weapons possession on December 22, 2008. Brancato was accused of felony murder in the December 10, 2005 fatal shooting of off duty police officer Daniel Enchautegui, who confronted Brancato and his friend Steve Armento as they were breaking in to the apartment of an alleged friend of Brancato’s to get drugs.

Officer Enchautegui, sleeping next door, was awakened by the breaking glass, and confronted Armento and Brancato. In the ensuing shootout, Armento shot Officer Enchautegui in the chest with a .357 caliber handgun, killing him. Armento was convicted of the first degree murder of Officer Enchautegui in a separate trial, and was sentenced earlier this month to life in prison without parole.

Brancato was convicted of attempted burglary, which is a Class C felony under the Penal Law of New York State, and carries a minimum sentence of 3 years. However, Brancato has been incarcerated since the shooting three years ago, and may get credit for time served. He is due in Court for sentencing by Judge Martin Marcus on January 9, 2009.

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