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LAS Wins Case Upholding Right to Challenge Unfair and Inflated Misdemeanor Charges

The Legal Aid Society celebrated a New York State Court of Appeals decision today in The People v. Mouhamed Thiam, a case in which the prosecution had sought to overturn well-established precedent securing the rights of New Yorkers to challenge jurisdictionally defective charges on appeal, reports the New York Law Journal.

The Court affirmed the decision of the Appellate Term reversing Mr. Thiam’s conviction of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. In so doing, it retained essential protections for New Yorkers facing unfairly inflated charges, hastily drafted by prosecutors, in New York City’s Criminal Court.

 “This decision upholds the longstanding protection in misdemeanor cases permitting our clients to challenge on appeal improperly inflated criminal charges brought by prosecutors. It also builds on the recently enacted pretrial criminal justice reforms designed to ensure that our clients and other New Yorkers are not coerced into taking plea deals that do not fairly reflect their conduct,” said Will Page, Staff Attorney with the Criminal Appeals Bureau at The Legal Aid Society.