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FIRM NEWS


August 18, 2021: Today the Second Circuit issued one of its rare Certificates of Appealability to our client Joshua Stegemann, agreeing to address several significant Fourth and Sixth Amendment issues. Our application for a COA in U.S. v. Stegemann can be found here, and the Court's grant can be found here. The COA was filed by Levitt & Kaizer partner Richard Levitt and associate Zach Segal.

August 2021: Richard's review of Federal Defender Douglas Morris's superb book Legal Sabotage: Ernst Frankel in Hitler's Germany, was published in this month's Champion, the magazine of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. You can read Richard's review here.

August 2021: Levitt & Kaizer associate Zach Segal and Richard Levitt are privileged to be working with the Aleph Institute, one of the country's premiere criminal justice reform organizations, to identify and champion the nominations of judicial and non-judicial appointees to the Sentencing Guidelines Commission, which has lacked a quorum for several years. It is our hope that a re-constituted Commission will successfully address the many inequities in the current sentencing regime not only through Guidelines amendments but also through the Commission's educational and research functions. Feel free to contact us with any insights or questions you may have.

May 13, 2021:  Nicholas Kaizer, along with tax counsel Scott Ahroini, presented via Zoom, a lecture to the Suffolk County Bar Association: Taxation Law Committee, regarding how to effectively represent clients during a civil audit so that it does not devolve into a criminal prosecution. Mr. Kaizer, along with counsel Scott Ahroni, gave a similar lecture in March, 2021 to 250 New York-area accountants. He offered advice on how best to represent clients undergoing a traditional civil audit so that the auditors do not make a referral to prosecutors, where badges of fraud are present such as unreported income, unsubstantiated deductions and unexplained wealth.  

July 20, 2020: Nicholas Kaizer delivered via Zoom a presentation to approximately 200 defense attorneys, hosted by the New York Criminal Bar Association and Marino Continuing Legal Services, discussing federal pretrial disposition: cooperation. Mr. Kaizer addressed the nuts and bolts of providing cooperation in a federal criminal case, including the procedure, the benefits, the costs and the pitfalls of providing cooperation. Mr. Kaizer offered insights into maximizing the benefit to be obtained by the client who is often facing cataclysmic exposure in sentencing. 

June 22, 2021: Today, Hon. Dora L. Irizarry, EDNY, granted our motion to reduce the sentence of our client Ramel Fisher pursuant to the First Step Act, making retroactive the amendments to the minimum mandatory sentences enacted under the Fair Sentencing Act. As a result, Mr. Fisher's 240-month sentence was reduced to 120 months, foreshadowing his imminent release. Judge Irizarry's decision can be read here.


May 13, 2021: Today, Richard delivered via Zoom his annual Second Circuit lecture to approximately 175 participants. You can access Richard's 2021 case supplement here and pdfs of his presentation here.

February 18, 2021: Today, the Appellate Division, Third Department, vacated the attempted murder conviction of our client, Shateek Lanier, who has been incarcerated nearly nine years. The court found that Mr. Lanier had been denied effective assistance of his appointed trial counsel. The Third Department's decision can be read here.

January 19, 2021: Today, the Hon. Allyne Ross, EDNY, granted our motion to reconsider a previous order that our client relinquish, as restitution, more than $16,500 he had been provided by friends and family while he was incarcerated, but which he had used to repay a loan, instead requiring him to pay restitution equal to 10% of his monthly income.

August 19, 2020: Today, the Hon. Sterling Johnson granted compassionate release to our client, James Dowtin, over the Government's objection, releasing him from his 15-year sentence for a narcotics racketeering conspiracy and discharging a firearm during the courts thereof. The court recognized that Mr. Dowtin suffered from various COVID-19 risk factors and that he had substantially turned his life around while incarcerated, explaining: "At sentencing, this Court encouraged Dowtin to make the most of his time in prison for himself and for his family. By all accounts it appears he has done so. Levitt & Kaizer associate Zach Segal assisted in the preparation of Mr. Dowtin's motion papers.has done so.

December 2019-January 2020: Richard just returned from the People's Republic of China, which he visited as part of a workshop sponsored by the New York University Law School U.S.-Asia Law Institute (Ira Belkin, Executive Director), exchanging views and experiences with criminal defense lawyers, prosecutors and judges regarding plea bargaining in our respective countries. A wonderful trip and provided an opportunity to become re-acquainted with many Chinese colleagues from our last trip and to meet many new ones.