Should You Hire a Top New York Criminal Attorney for a Non-Criminal Case?

Sometimes the best criminal attorneys are hired for civil cases where the stakes are particularly high; for example, in large money disputes, child custody issues or cases which allege quasi-criminal behavior – but are charged civilly. The reason to get a top New York criminal lawyer involved should be obvious: the most experienced criminal attorneys – especially those who practice primarily in the most competitive federal and state courts in the country – have had better success in cross-examining difficult witnesses than any typical civil lawyer and their success inside a criminal courtroom can seamlessly translate into a civil case.  At the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman we often are hired for such civil cases and have had tremendous success in cases in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Westchester, Long Island or anywhere in the United States.

New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services Attempts to Void Adoption, Take Children

One recent example was a celebrated Family Court case in New Jersey where the stakes could not be higher: the New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services (now known as Division of Children and Families) sought to nullify the adoption of two children by our client and remove the children from his home due to allegations that the defendant posed a danger of sexual abuse to the children. The children had been born through a surrogate hired by our client – the only father they had ever known.  After we successfully moved to have the case dismissed, the appellate court reversed and sent the case back to the lower court, ordering a trial on these allegations.  The Division of Youth and Family Services presented an expert, a psychologist who examined our client and tested him, who ultimately concluded that the children were at risk of sexual abuse from our client for several reasons.

Upon cross examination, however, the expert’s testimony fell apart.  Battered on every single harmful conclusion contained within his report to the court, the expert was thoroughly discredited and all scientific “evidence” concerning the defendant’s allegedly inappropriate sexual interests was successfully suppressed. The court ultimately determined that the expert’s testimony was “flawed” and his expert report deemed “invalid.”  The complaint filed against our client by the New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services was finally, mercifully, dismissed.

There is no question that the State’s expert in this case was used to being examined by attorneys who limit their practice to Family Court matters. Instead, our client brought us in, attorneys who regularly cross-examine cooperating witnesses trained by the federal government to testify against defendants charged with murder, narcotics dealing and massive stock fraud.  And we treated this expert’s testimony as if our client’s freedom was on the line – because to him, losing his children would have been a life sentence for him and he could not allow this to happen.  After a massive amount of preparation for the cross-examination of this well-versed and trained expert, our cross was a complete devastation of every single point raised by the expert.  Although not a criminal case, the concepts of cross-examination and witness impeachment in this civil case were the same, the goals the same: to devastate the state agency’s witness and win the case completely because anything less would have been a disaster.  And this witness did not have a rap sheet or a past rife with impeachment possibilities for cross-examination; instead, he was a highly trained psychiatrist whose testimony was premised solely upon the results of scientific tests performed on our client.  Same ending, however.


Sometimes you have a case which simply has to be won – settlement is not an option.  These cases are not always in the form of criminal prosecutions with defendants facing lengthy prison terms: sometimes they can be relatively minor criminal cases such as drug possession or DWIs  in which your professional license is on the line even with a misdemeanor conviction.  Other times the cases are civil in nature with huge financial implications or custody issues.  Hire an attorney who has taken on the toughest witnesses imaginable and beaten them consistently because your future and your family’s future may depend on it.  Call the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman at (212) 581-1001 for a free consultation.