On April 8, 2021, Sher Tremonte won an acquittal for our client, Melike McCrimmon, in the Southern District of New York. This was the first acquittal in federal court in New York City since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resumption of jury trials.
Partner Justine Harris, associate Anna Estevao, and paralegal Chinoia Weir were appointed pursuant to the Criminal Justice Act (“CJA”) to defend Mr. McCrimmon against the charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm. The defense team scored an early victory in the case, persuading Judge George B. Daniels to suppress statements obtained in violation of Miranda v. Arizona. At trial, Ms. Harris and Ms. Estevao conducted vigorous cross-examinations of the government’s law enforcement and forensic expert witnesses, and the jury returned a not guilty verdict after less than two hours of deliberation.
Sher Tremonte’s representation of Mr. McCrimmon is part of the firm’s robust commitment to public interest litigation and indigent criminal defense. Three of the firm’s lawyers – Ms. Harris, Michael Tremonte and Noam Biale – are members of the CJA panels in the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York. In addition to obtaining favorable dispositions and sentences, the firm has helped clients avoid collateral consequences of felony convictions by negotiating deferred prosecution agreements, misdemeanor pleas, and reduced charges.
The firm also regularly represents clients challenging their state convictions and sentences pro bono, through habeas corpus petitions, requests for review by conviction integrity units at prosecutors’ offices, and appeals for resentencing under newly-enacted state laws. Since the onset of the pandemic, the firm has filed six compassionate release petitions, seeking the early release of previously sentenced clients, as well as secured bail for several clients based on their vulnerability to COVID-19.
The firm is committed to working to end mass incarceration and systemic racial bias in the criminal justice system, an effort we will continue to undertake in our criminal defense and pro bono work.