Appellate Division Reduces Sentence for OAD Client

On January 7, 2016, the Appellate Division reduced the sentence of OAD client, Alexander Villegas, from 2 2/3 to 8 years to 1 1/3 to 4 years. Mr. Villegas, a former U.S. Marine, who had no prior contact with the criminal justice system, was convicted of three counts of criminal contempt for violating an order of protection. Mr. Villegas is represented by Tomoeh Murakami Tse. To read the decision, click here.

Former OAD Staff Attorney Jessica Yager Named Executive Director of NYU Furman Center

On January 6, 2016, the NYU Furman Center announced the appointment of former OAD staff attorney Jessica Yager as its new Executive Director. Jessie has led the NYU Furman Center's policy work since 2012, first serving as Policy Director and more recently as Deputy Director. After leaving OAD, and before joining the Furman Center, Jessie was the founding Director of the Foreclosure Prevention Project at Queens Legal Services, where she supervised a team of lawyers and paralegals working on foreclosure defense and predatory lending cases.  OAD congratulates Jessie and NYU on this well-deserved appointment. To read more about the announcement, click here.

Court of Appeals Reverses Burglary Conviction and Life Sentence Based on Violation of the Advocate Witness Rule

On December 16, 2015, the Court of Appeals reversed the burglary conviction and 23 years to life sentence of OAD client, Luis Ortiz. The Court agreed with our claim that the trial court erred in not declaring a mistrial when the prosecution sought to introduce statements made by Mr. Ortiz's attorney at arraignment in order to impeach Mr. Ortiz's trial testimony. Counsel argued that the statements did not accurately reflect what Mr. Ortiz had told her, and she sought to be relieved or a mistrial, as she was being placed in the untenable position of being a wtiness against her client. The Court of Appeals ordered a new trial for Mr. Ortiz. Mr. Ortiz was represented in the Court of Appeals by former OAD staff attorney Anant Kumar and Joseph Nursey. To read the decision, click here.