Pleas & Court Appearances in New York Criminal CourtsWritten by Susan Chana Lask, Esq.
At arraignment, District Attorney may offer a plea to a lesser charge than what you were arrested for originally. Pleas are offered to unburden an extremely congested criminal court calendar, as well as to get rid of lesser criminal cases so District Attorney can rightfully concentrate on more serious crimes. If you were arrested for misdemeanor shoplifting and you arrive at arraignment with no prior arrests, most likely District Attorney will offer you option of pleading guilty to a lesser violation and a few days of community service with a fine. You have option to end process by accepting lower charge of a violation, which is not a crime but will appear on your record in future. If you accept plea then you will actually plead guilty to a lesser offense on record and court will most likely impose a fine and community service or counseling, depending upon what you and District Attorney agreed to. If you don’t accept plea, you will simply plead "not guilty" and continue your criminal court appearances. Your attorney will file various motions and hold hearings to discover what evidence District Attorney has against you or to get charges dismissed. An example of such a hearing would be called a "Huntley Hearing". In that hearing your attorney's objective is to get any incriminating statements you made suppressed, meaning they can not be used against you. The point of that hearing is that police obtained statements from you invlountarily. At hearing your attorney will cross-examine police involved in your arrest by asking them detailed questions. If your attorney can prove your statements were coerced or obtained form you in some way involuntarily then you have just eliminiated a criucial piece of evidence against you, making your case of innocence stronger. As you proceed further through criminal court process, plea to a lesser charge may or may not be offered again. Whether or not you accept a plea is something only you and your attorney can decide, based upon your circumstances. Just remember that plea will always be on your record as opposed to fighting charges if you’re innocent and getting whole criminal case dismissed, clearing your name. Your Criminal Court Appearances If you plead not guilty and are released “ROR” (meaning without bail and on your own recognizance) or on bail, you’ll be given next date to appear before court. At that time court will set deadlines for your attorney to complete certain work on your behalf. The District Attorney has a limited period of time to complete his investigation and state on record he is ready for trial. The time limits are mandatory to protect your constitutional right to a speedy trial. So you should be prepared to quickly prove your innocence. Being accused of a crime is a stigma, and reality is that you are actually presumed guilty until you prove your innocence (contrary to belief that "you are presumed innocent until proven guilty").
Overview of Trademark LawWritten by Henry J. Fasthoff, IV
Trademark law gives companies exclusive right to use a given name or design, called a “mark,” for purpose of identifying source of that company’s goods or services. Trademark law is an incentive-based system. Because it gives companies exclusive right to use a mark in connection with certain goods or services, company can create a brand that is recognizable by consuming public. That trademark would be associated with and incorporated into every advertisement company runs for its goods or services. Repetition of those advertisements containing trademark causes consumers to associate mark with goods and, with enough repetition, consumers buy goods.
A brief, but related, digression. We all know that if you see a product advertised frequently enough, product will sell. You might even be one of people who buys product. The thinking process by which you reached decision to buy product is not an intellectual, logical process. It’s a function of way human mind works. Continually hearing a repeated message makes message more familiar, more real, and, eventually, more true. As adage says, “even boldest lie becomes truth if you scream it loud enough and long enough.” I call this “Lie = Truth” Adage. Sadly, I frequently encounter “Lie = Truth” Adage in litigation. I also know of some politicians and terrorist masterminds who are experts at exploiting this fact of human nature.
Back to trademarks. The advertising departments at most companies know “Lie = Truth” Adage can be very successful in advertising. The cynic would pump his fist in air yell “Down with corporations, and power to people! All corporations care about is taking our money at all costs!” While we can point to some recent examples that might make it challenging to argue against this viewpoint, as to overwhelming, vast majority of companies, that view simply cannot be supported.
Trademark law creates very strong incentives for companies to make highest quality product possible and to advertise their merits and attributes accurately. Aside from fact that companies invest anywhere from thousands to millions of dollars in their trademark(s), all it takes is one bad product line to tarnish a company's image in minds of consumers who buy products. Both of these factors hit companies where it hurts them most: in pocketbook. So, while companies clearly have to perform a balancing act of creating a high quality product, keeping costs down, and pulling in as many purchasers as possible, they have very strong incentives to create a quality product that they will associate with their trademark.