Blog Posts

How A Criminal Defense Lawyer Should Handle Your Case

Award-winning criminal defense lawyer Harlan Protass has spent more than 20 years protecting the rights and interests of clients facing criminal, civil, or regulatory charges. His results speak for themselves. However, you deserve a fierce and nuanced defense attorney to preserve your life and liberty….

Topic: Criminal Defense

Don’t Give Up: Maybe You Can Appeal Your Conviction

If you or a relative recently received a criminal conviction or sentence in NYC, there may be grounds to appeal. A criminal appeals attorney can help you understand your rights and how to proceed with an appeal. Are You Entitled to an Appeal? New York…

Topic: Criminal Defense

Factors to Consider in Deciding Whether to Testify at Trial

Even in the simplest of cases, defendant testimony can quickly be derailed. It’s a common assumption that testifying on your own behalf is the simplest way to reveal the truth. Unfortunately, the courtroom is not always so straightforward—even for innocent defendants. Why Defendant Testimony is…

Topic: Criminal Defense

Fourth Amendment Protections and Exceptions

The Fourth Amendment is famous for protecting citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures. Everyday Protections There are many protections at work in your everyday life. If law enforcement has no reason to search or seize you and your property, they will need to ask your…

Topic: Criminal Defense

Coming Reforms to New York’s Criminal Justice System

The New York State legislature recently passed sweeping reforms to the operation of the state’s criminal justice system. Those reforms, which become effective in January 2020, will profoundly transform how criminal cases are litigated in the state. Among other things, cash bail has been eliminated…

Topic: Criminal Defense

Press & Publications

Gang Land News

Compassionate Release Motion Granted and Life Sentence Reduced After 29+ Years Behind Bars

A federal judge granted Eric Millian a compassionate release, calling him a rehabilitated “man of extraordinary character.”

Case Results

Protass Law PLLC Client Granted “Compassionate Release” After Serving 30 Years of a Federal Life Without Parole Sentence

Robert Panton was arrested in 1991 and convicted in 1994 for his role in running a “spot” that sold heroin for a criminal organization run by notorious New York narcotics boss George “Boy George” Rivera. For his crimes, Panton was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Because of the changes to the compassionate release program ushered in by the First Step Act, though, attorney Harlan Protass – after exhausting Panton’s BOP administrative remedies – filed a motion before the Honorable Loretta A. Preska of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York seeking “compassionate release” and a reduced sentence pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A) based on the “extraordinary and compelling” circumstances that Panton presented. And, on August 4, 2020 Judge Preska granted that motion, reducing Panton’s life sentence to time-served after close to 30 years behind bars. More particularly, Judge Preska found that the following grounds justified Panton’s release from prison:

“Over some three decades in high and medium security facilities, Mr. Panton has 1) maintained a good disciplinary record, 2) taken advantage of numerous courses and other opportunities to enable a law-abiding life, 2) evidenced a desire to help the outside community during which he demonstrated incredible empathy and compassion in an encounter with a child sex abuse victim, 4) maintained an exceptional degree of contact with his children, and, 5) unfortunately, developed several serious health issues. Because all of Mr. Panton’s co-conspirators, except George Rivera, the leader of the drug organization, have been released or have release dates, releasing Mr. Panton would avoid a sentencing disparity. Mr. Panton also has a viable post-release plan. The combination of these factors constitutes “extraordinary and compelling circumstances” warranting release.”

Read more about Robert Panton’s compassionate release here.

NYC criminal defense attorney Harlan Protass is a knowledgeable litigator who is not afraid to take on compassionate release cases such as this. If you or someone you love has questions about reducing a federal sentence, contact Protass Law today at 212.45.0335 or use our online contact form to reach out.

The outcome of an individual case depends on a variety of factors unique to that case. Case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any similar or future case.

Non-Criminal Disposition of Domestic Violence Charges

An executive at a Wall Street bank was alleged to have assaulted his girlfriend by pushing her into a closet – relatively straightforward charges that were complicated because he had been charged with assaulting the same girlfriend less than six months earlier and had violated the Order of Protection that was issued when he resolved those prior charges.

Prosecutors initially sought a misdemeanor plea because it was his second offense involving the same girlfriend. Wanting to avoid the collateral consequences of such a conviction, which could have derailed his lucrative career, that executive sought out New York criminal defense attorney Harlan Protass for help. At his client’s request, Attorney Protass put together a package of out-of-court remedial measures (private therapy for impulse control and counseling for alcohol abuse) that gave the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office comfort that his client was serious about making changes and assuring that no further incidents would occur, thereby paving the way for a non-criminal disposition of the new charges – that is, through a guilty plea to disorderly conduct, which is a violation, not a crime, under New York Law.

The outcome of an individual case depends on a variety of factors unique to that case. Case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any similar or future case.