Jesse M. Siegel has been a criminal defense attorney since 1986. His practice is primarily focused on criminal cases in the United States District Courts for the Southern District of New York, in Manhattan and White Plains, and Eastern District of New York, in Brooklyn and Central Islip, and appellate cases in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in Manhattan. He also represents clients in state courts throughout New York State, and has represented clients in federal and state courts in Florida, Puerto Rico, Nevada and New Jersey.
In addition to criminal defense and appeals, Mr. Siegel represents professionals, including attorneys and doctors, brought before boards for violating disciplinary codes. He also represents clients in civil rights lawsuits based on false arrest, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, and the use of excessive force by police officers.
While attending the University of California at San Francisco, Hastings College of the Law, one of the top law schools in the United States, he worked for renowned criminal defense attorney Charles R. Garry, who had gained fame representing members of the Blank Panthers Party, including founders Huey Newton and Bobby Seale, and other radicals accused of crimes. Working as Mr. Garry’s right-hand man, Mr. Siegel worked on several high-profile cases, including ones involving famous organized crime figures Joseph and Bill Bonanno, and worked on briefs in several death penalty appeals in the California Supreme Court. This experience helped convince Mr. Siegel that the only job in the legal profession for him was as a criminal defense attorney, which he has made his life’s work.
After graduating from law school in 1986, Mr. Siegel started as a public defender at the Legal Aid Society, Criminal Defense Division, in Manhattan, New York. As a staff attorney, he gained extensive and valuable trial experience representing over 1000 criminal defendants, including many accused of serious felonies, such as murder, rape, armed robbery and narcotics trafficking. After five years at Legal Aid, he was one of the youngest staff attorneys ever to be promoted to the position of Supervising Attorney, in which position he supervised staff attorneys handling thousands of criminal cases each year.
In 1995, Mr. Siegel entered private practice, as he was interested in expanding his practice to include cases in federal court, criminal appeals and civil rights cases. After many years uptown, his office is now in the beautiful Woolworth Building, a landmark building within walking distance of the courts and jails in lower Manhattan, and convenient to public transportation.
Today, Mr. Siegel’s criminal cases run the gamut. He has, or has had, white collar clients who were the lead defendants in insider trading and stock fraud cases, and other clients who were accused of being major international drug traffickers from Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and Venezuela, or were charged with international espionage. Other clients are, or have been, charged in cases involving violent, street-level drug gangs, murder, gun sales, mortgage fraud, identity theft, immigration fraud, and pretty much any and all other crimes on the books. His civil rights cases primarily involve lawsuits brought on behalf of clients claiming false arrest and imprisonment and excessive force by police.
Mr. Siegel has lectured on the civil rights of criminal defendants at the Legal Aid Society, Criminal Defense Division, and New York County Defenders Association, and has served as a Moot Court Judge at Fordham Law School every year since 2000. For many years, he has participated on a panel presented by the Minorities in the Courts Committee of the New York City Bar Association. He is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Suffolk County Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union and former Special Counsel to the New York State Governor’s Judicial Screening Committee. Mr. Siegel is a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the New York City Criminal Bar Association, and the Criminal Justice Act Panels of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.