Category Archives: Uncategorized

New York Criminal Law in the News – Friday, April 29, 2011


New York Criminal Law in the News – Friday, February 25, 2011


Facebook as a sentencing advocacy tool?

There is an interesting article in today's New York Law Journal by Ken Strutin of New York State Defenders Association.  In it, Mr. Strutin discusses the role social media can play in sentencing advocacy.  (LC)

Call for articles: Pace Law Review

Pace Law Review is looking for articles on New York law:

The Editors of the Pace Law Review invite proposals from scholars and practitioners for our third annual issue on New York law that is slated for publication in Spring 2011. In the past, this book has examined a wide range of topics in New York law, including education, immigration, land use, and criminal procedure. The Review is most interested in timely pieces that comment on recently decided cases, areas of New York law that are quickly evolving, and issues that broadly impact the people of the State.

Please submit proposals of no more than 500 words to by October 15, 2010.  We welcome proposals for articles, essays, and book reviews.  All proposals should include the author’s name, title, institutional affiliation, contact information, and should concern issues related to the subject-matter described above.  Book review proposals should also include: (a) the title and publication date of the book proposed for review; (b) a description of the importance of the book to the general topic; and (c) any other information relevant to the book or proposed review (e.g. the reviewer’s expertise or any relationship with the author).  Authors are also welcome, but not required, to submit a CV.  We expect to make publication offers by October 31, 2010. 

Completed manuscripts will be due December 1, 2010. 


Is Mahjong a Game of Skill or Chance?

Mahjong is a popular Chinese tile game.  In People v. Li Ai Hua (N.Y.C. Criminal Court 6/5/2009), Queens Criminal Court Judge Charles Lopresto had to determine whether Mahjong is a game of chance or a game of skill.  The distinction was critical for determine whether the accusatory instrument was facially sufficient to charge Promoting Gambling in the Second Degree.

The criminal complaint charged:

Deponent [Detective Philip Adaszewski] states that on the
above-mentioned date and time and place of occurrence, the defendant
Liu Al Hua, opened the front door and greeted the deponent.

Deponent further states that he observed two (2) tables with
over ten (10) people, handing the defendants, Kan Fan Chan and Qing Z.
Zhang, a sum of United States Currency to play "Mahjong" which is a
game of chance.

Deponent further states that he observed the defendant Kan Fan Chan hand the defendant Pan Yi Zhu, said United States Currency.

Deponent further states that he observed the defendant Pan Yi
Zhu place said United States Currency on said tables and write entries
on a betting slip notebook pad.

Deponent further states that he observed and recovered from
said table seven hundred ninety ($790.00) Dollars United States
Currency and said notebook pad.

Deponent further states that the defendant Liu al Hua admitted
to him in sum and substance that he was sorry and that he will close
the location tomorrow.

Deponent further states that his conclusion that the said
betting slip notebook pad is a gambling record and that said records
are commonly used as instruments of gambling, is based upon his
experience and training as a police officer in the identification of
gambling paraphernalia.

In response to the defendant's motion to dismiss, the People attached printouts of websites that describe Mahjong.

The court found the complaint facially insufficient.  The deponent failed to state the basis for his belief that Mahjong is a game of chance.  Moreover, the court noted that there were no reported cases discussing the game.  Finally, the court said it could not consider the People's exhibits because they were not part of the accusatory instrument and were, in any event, hearsay.  (LC)