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NY Penal Law § 125.20: Manslaughter in the First Degree

If any actions that you take result in the death of another individual, even if it was not your intention that the person die, you could be charged with a serious criminal offense.  The criminal offense of manslaughter can be distinguied from the crime of murder in that manslaughter is defined in the criminal code as brinign about someone’s death without the intent to do so, while murder requires intent. Manslaughter cases generally tend to involve recklessness, negligence, or heat of passion.  You could be prosecuted for manslaughter in the first degree under New York Penal Law § 125.20 if:

  1. With the intention of causing serious physical injury to another individual, the actions you take do, in fact, cause the death of that person,
  2. With intent to bring about the death of another person, you cause the death of such person or that of a third party while operating under the influence of extreme emotional disturbance,
  3. You carry out an illegal abortion on a woman who is more than 24 weeks pregnant and the woman dies as a resulg, or
  4. You engage in any behavior that exposes a child who is younger than 11 years old to substantial risk of serious physical injury and, as a result, the child dies.

A Case Law Example

The defendant in this case, Anthony Oddone, and his girlfriend were in a bar dancing on top of a table. The bouncer in the bar, Andrew Reister, ordered Oddone to get down off of the table. When Oddone refused to get down and, in retaliation, Reister pushed him off, a fight ensued between Mr. Oddone and Mr. Resiter. In the heat of the battle, Mr. Oddone put Mr. Reister into a headlock. After a while, Mr. Oddone felt that Mr. Reister’s body had become limp.  Mr. Oddone released his grip, and Mr. Reister fell to the ground, appearing to have lost consciousness.  Sadly, Mr. Reister was later declared brain dead and he soon passed away. Mr. Oddone was convicted on the charge of manslaughter in the first degree. People v. Oddone, 2013 NY Slip Op 8291 (N.Y., 2013)

Offenses that are Related

Manslaughter in the second degree: New York Penal Law § 125.15

Criminally negligent homicide: New York Penal Law § 125.10

Possible Defenses

If you have been charged with manslaughter in the first degree on the basis  having the intent to bring about serious physical injury against the victim, if the prosecutor is unable to demonstrate that your intent was to cause an injury that was so horrible that there was substantial risk of death, protracted disfigurement, or the protracted or permanent loss of a bodily organ, then you could not be convicted on this charge. Therefore, a valid defense would be to demonstrate that you had no intentions of causing the victim any serious physical injury. A good alternative defense would be to demonstrate that you did not intend to injure the victim at all, but that the circumstance that led to the victim’s death was an accident.

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
2024-03-21
Just had my Divorce case settled 2 months ago after having a horrible experience with another firm. I couldn’t be happier with Claire Banks and Elizabeth Garvey with their outstanding professionalism in doing so with Spodek Law Group. Any time I needed questions answered they were always prompt in doing so with all my uncertainties after 30 yrs of marriage.I feel from the bottom of my heart you will NOT be disappointed with either one. Thanks a million.
Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
2024-03-18
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
2024-03-18
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
Keisha Parris
2024-03-15
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
2024-03-15
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
2024-03-12
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
2024-03-12
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
2024-02-28
Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
divesh patel
divesh patel
2024-02-24
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.

The Sentence

Since manslaughter in the first degree is categorized as a class B felony, if you are convicted you could be sent to serve up to 25 years in state prison.  You could also be ordered to pay a substantial fine.

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