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People Vs Joseph Amico

Covered by NYDaily News. Las Vegas man accused of threatening a prominent attorney and making vile remarks.

Faced 10+ Years in Prison

People Vs. Anna Sorokin

Covered by New York Times, and other outlets. Fake heiress accused of conning the city’s wealthy, and has an HBO special being made about her.

Faced 3+ Years in Prison

People Vs. Genevieve Sabourin

Accused of stalking Alec Baldwin. The case garnered nationwide attention, with USAToday, NYPost, and other media outlets following it closely.

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Ghislaine Maxwell Juror

Juror who prompted calls for new Ghislaine Maxwell trial turns to lawyer who defended Anna Sorokin.

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Meet Todd Spodek


The Spodek Law Group understands how delicate high-profile cases can be, and has a strong track record of getting positive outcomes. Our lawyers service a clientele that is nationwide. With offices in both LA and NYC, and cases all across the country - Spodek Law Group is a top tier law firm.

Todd Spodek is a second generation attorney with immense experience. He has many years of experience handling 100’s of tough and hard to win trials. He’s been featured on major news outlets, such as New York Post, Newsweek, Fox 5 New York, South China Morning Post, Insider.com, and many others.

In 2022, Netflix released a series about one of Todd’s clients: Anna Delvey/Anna Sorokin.

Why Clients Choose Spodek Law Group

The reason is simple: clients want white glove service, and lawyers who can win. Every single client who works with the Spodek Law Group is aware that the attorney they hire could drastically change the outcome of their case. Hiring the Spodek Law Group means you’re taking your future seriously. Our lawyers handle cases nationwide, ranging from NYC to LA. Our philosophy is fair and simple: our nyc criminal lawyers only take on clients who we know will benefit from our services.

We’re selective about the clients we work with, and only take on cases we know align with our experience – and where we can make a difference. This is different from other law firms who are not invested in your success nor care about your outcome.

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We are available 24/7, to help you with any – and all, challenges you face.

Who Qualifies for a Queens Federal Public Defender?

Who Qualifies for a Queens Federal Public Defender?

Navigating the legal system when facing criminal charges can be incredibly confusing and stressful. Many people charged with federal crimes in Queens may qualify for representation by a federal public defender, which is free legal counsel appointed by the court. This article provides an overview of federal public defenders in Queens and the eligibility requirements.

Overview of Federal Public Defenders

Federal public defenders are attorneys appointed by federal courts to represent criminal defendants who cannot afford to hire a lawyer. They are full-time federal government employees, not private practice attorneys. Public defenders have specialized expertise in federal criminal defense and serve an important role in ensuring fair access to justice.To qualify for a federal public defender in the Eastern District of New York, which includes Queens, an individual must demonstrate that they are financially unable to retain counsel. Specific eligibility guidelines are discussed in more detail below.

Determining Eligibility for a Federal Public Defender

Federal public defender services are not automatically appointed to all criminal defendants. The court conducts an investigation into the person’s financial circumstances to determine if they qualify.In general, public defender services are limited to those unable to afford retained counsel without substantial financial hardship to themselves or their dependents. However, eligibility is decided on a case-by-case basis considering all relevant factors.

Financial Affidavit

Those seeking public defender representation must complete a financial affidavit disclosing their income, assets, obligations, and expenses. This includes things like:

  • Employment income
  • Government benefits
  • Retirement/pension accounts
  • Real estate
  • Cash and bank accounts
  • Stocks and bonds
  • Insurance policies
  • Other assets

They must also list any financial obligations like mortgages, loans, child support, alimony, and other debts. Basic living expenses are considered as well.This affidavit provides the judge with a complete picture of the person’s financial position.

Income Threshold

While there are no rigid income cutoffs, those earning up to 250% of the federal poverty guidelines are generally assumed eligible. However, defendants who earn more may still qualify by demonstrating lack of disposable income after expenses.Here are the 2024 federal poverty guidelines, with 250% thresholds listed:

Household Size Poverty Guideline 250% of Guideline
1 $14,105 $35,263
2 $19,075 $47,688
3 $24,045 $60,113
4 $29,015 $72,538
5 $34,985 $87,463

*For families with over 5 members, add $5,970 per additional person to calculate the poverty guideline and 250% threshold.So for example, a single person earning up to $35,263 would likely qualify for a public defender, while someone with a household of four would qualify if earning $72,538 or less.

Assets Threshold

In addition to income, assets are considered when determining eligibility. While some assets are excluded, like a primary residence or vehicle, most other assets are counted against the threshold.The asset limit is currently $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for a multi-person household. Retirement accounts up to $50,000 per dependent are excluded.So if the total value of cash, bank accounts, investments, etc. exceeds these asset thresholds, the person may not qualify for free federal public defender services.

Ability to Post Bond

As part of the eligibility investigation, the judge will also consider if the defendant has the ability to post bond. Those able to afford the bond amount without significant hardship generally do not qualify for free court-appointed counsel.However, exceptions are sometimes made if paying the bond would bankrupt the person or prevent them from paying basic living expenses like rent or utilities.

When a Federal Public Defender May Be Appointed

If after reviewing the financial affidavit, income data, assets, and other information the judge determines the person cannot reasonably afford to hire counsel, a federal public defender from the Eastern District will likely be appointed to the case.A federal public defender may also be appointed if the person initially hires private counsel but later demonstrates they cannot continue paying legal fees without incurring substantial hardship.Defendants who are found able to afford retained counsel can still apply for “CJA counsel” – private attorneys who are paid hourly fees at reduced rates by the courts. So they have some assistance in covering legal costs but do not qualify for free representation.

Ongoing Eligibility Evaluations

Eligibility for a federal public defender is not just determined once. The courts have an obligation to continually scrutinize the person’s finances throughout the duration of the case.If the financial situation changes substantially, such as if the person inherits money or wins the lottery, the judge may terminate federal defender services. The person would then have to demonstrate inability to afford counsel again or hire private counsel.


The federal courts have a duty to ensure those facing criminal prosecution have access to legal representation, regardless of ability to pay. Federal public defenders in Queens provide free, specialized criminal defense services to those who cannot afford to hire an attorney on their own without financial hardship.While the eligibility requirements attempt to limit services only to those truly in need, the system is not perfect. Borderline cases fall through the cracks, and some who should qualify get denied. Nonetheless, federal public defenders fill a critical role in upholding every American’s right to counsel.


Overview of federal public defender services: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_public_defender2023 financial affidavit form: https://img.nyed.uscourts.gov/files/forms/CJA23A.pdf2024 federal poverty guidelines: https://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty-guidelines

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I was searching for a law firm with some power to help me deal with a warrant in New York . After 6 days I decided to go with Spodek Law Group. It helped that This law firm is well respected by not only the top law firms in New York , but the DA , Judge as well. I...

~Fonder Brandon

5 Stars
It was my good fortune to retain Spodek Law Group for representation for my legal needs. From the beginning, communication was prompt and thorough. Todd, Kenneth and Alex were the first people I worked with and they all made me feel comfortable and confident that the team was going to work hard for me. Everything was explained and any concerns...

~A G

5 Stars
After meeting with several law firms, I chose the Spodek Law Group not only for their professionalism and experience, but for the personal attention given to me right from the initial consultation. It is important to recognize how crucial having the right legal team is when faced with potentially life altering events that impact families and the lives of loved...

~George Cherubini

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We Provide Superior Service, Excellent Results, At A Level Superior To Other Criminal Defense Law Firms. Regardless Of Where Your Case Is, Nationwide, We Can Help You.
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