News & Announcements

Weil Wins 2014 Vacatur of Convictions For Victim of Human Trafficking

Weil client ‘M’ spent approximately seventeen years as a victim of human trafficking under the control of two different traffickers. While under their control, she was convicted nearly 130 times in four different counties for charges including prostitution, loitering, and larceny. On behalf of Weil, Robert Levine, Robert Brown, and supervisor Richard Rothman represent M in her attempt to vacate all of her convictions under New York’s Criminal Procedure Law § 440.10(1)(i), which permits a court to vacate a conviction where “the defendant’s participation in the offense was a result of having been a victim of sex trafficking."

As co-counsel with The Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center, the Weil team filed motions to vacate M’s convictions in New York and Kings counties. On August 22, the Criminal Court in Manhattan granted our motion and vacated all 114 of M’s convictions there. On September 2, the Criminal Court in Brooklyn vacated eight more.

These orders are quite significant. The Manhattan order comprises the largest number of convictions ever vacated in New York since the statute was passed in 2010. Additionally, the courts in both Manhattan and Brooklyn vacated M’s convictions for larcenies that were committed under the coercion, and for the benefit, of M’s traffickers—under the theory that the statute should provide for vacatur of non- prostitution-related convictions in order to give the fullest remedy to the survivor.