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New York Federal Criminal Lawyers

The Law Office of Zachary Margulis-Ohnuma is a client-centered, trial-ready law practice that fights for defendants in life-altering criminal cases in federal and New York state courts. We focus on federal crimes including child pornography, other sex crimes, and fraud. We frequently represent defendants accused of computer-based crimes in the U.S. District Courts for the Southern District of New York, the Eastern District of New York, and the state criminal courts in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Westchester County. We handle New York State sex offender registration risk level determinations (also known as SORA hearings), positioning our clients from the beginning of a case to stay off the New York sex offender internet registry. We defend clients accused of white-collar crimes including bankers, lawyers, doctors, teachers, public officials, and other professionals accused of health care fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, insurance fraud, and bank fraud. Our attorneys have represented people accused of organized crime, terrorism, and drug-trafficking offenses including smuggling and distribution of heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, and marijuana. As plaintiffs' civil rights lawyers, we take on cases involving serious civil rights violations, including wrongful convictions, excessive use of force by police, and sex abuse by corrections officers. We also represent victims of sex abuse in lawsuits against their assailants.

Two principles motivate how we advise our clients. First, we are client-centered: we work hard to listen, investigate and understand your legal problems. You may come to us on the worst day of your life, after learning that everything good you have accomplished could be lost. Our job is to find out all we can about your case, first by listening to you, the client. We remain in constant communication with clients and their families by cell phone, text, and email until the case is resolved. We gather all relevant information, employing private investigators, forensic accountants, psychiatrists, and other experts to assist us. We do not give advice until we thoroughly understand what you are up against.

Second, we are trial-ready: our federal criminal lawyers are always willing to take a decision to a state jury, a federal jury, the presiding judge, the appeals court, or the United States Supreme Court. Our attorneys have conducted jury trials involving child pornography, sex abuse, bank fraud, health care fraud, drug trafficking, gun violence, police misconduct, prisoner abuse, and more.

Unfortunately, many criminal lawyers and defendants feel overwhelmed by the weight of the prosecution's evidence and investigative resources. They may be tempted to negotiate from a position of weakness. Our office is prepared to go to trial in every case; we approach every case as though a trial is inevitable. Trials are expensive and exhausting for everyone involved—and the prosecution knows it. New York City prosecutors—assistant district attorneys from Manhattan, Westchester, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx and assistant U.S. attorneys from the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York—also know our office tries a lot of cases. The credible threat of a trial ensures we get the best possible outcome, whether or not a trial proves necessary. And if the offer is not good enough, or the case is winnable, we are glad to present it to a jury.

Our law office also has a substantial criminal appellate practice. Our appeals and post-trial motions have overturned convictions for murder, fraud, and sex abuse, among others. We have won several appeals from SORA risk-level determinations where serious errors were committed by the SORA hearing court. In a recent case, our advocacy vacated the judgment of conviction and sentence in a heroin importation case that the appeals court ordered to be transferred to a different judge to prevent any appearance of bias. We are presently investigating or litigating several post-conviction "innocence cases," challenging convictions from the 1980s and 1990s where police appear to have framed our clients through coercion and fabrication of evidence.

Our office was founded in 2004 by principal attorney Zachary Margulis-Ohnuma. Mr. Margulis-Ohnuma graduated from Columbia College in 1989 and New York University School of Law in 1999 after a seven-year stint as an investigative reporter. After law school, he clerked for the Hon. Andrew J. Peck of the Southern District of New York and practiced law at the large white-shoe law firm Weil Gotshal & Manges, second-seating a jury trial in his second year of practice. Since founding the Law Office of Zachary Margulis-Ohnuma, Mr. Margulis-Ohnuma has served on the Criminal Justice Act panels for both the Eastern and Southern District of New York. He has been recognized by Super Lawyers and the Top 100 Trial Lawyers since 2013. He has fought and won many important cases, including the exoneration of Antonio Yarbough in 2014, a narcoterrorism case brought against a Malian tribesman in 2010, a high-tech motion to suppress evidence from an iPhone in 2015, and an appeal establishing that sexual abuse in prison violates the U.S. Constitution. He has won millions of dollars for his clients in civil suits alleging police misconduct and prisoner abuse. Past results are no guarantee of future outcomes.

The office also brings together associates Adam M. Elewa, Esq., who has trial and appellate experience around the country in technology and computer-related prosecutions, and Victoria Medley, Esq., who focuses on sex crimes, white-collar defense and civil rights. In addition, we have paralegals and interns who work tirelessly on behalf of our clients.

Selecting the right criminal or civil rights lawyer is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. If you or someone you love is defending a criminal case in New York, please call our office. If you retain us, we will identify your legal objectives, investigate your case, discuss your options, and fight hard to achieve the best possible outcome. If needed, we will coordinate with psychiatrists, accountants, private investigators and other experts to prove the prosecution wrong. Once retained, we will act solely in your best interests with honesty, integrity, and open communication. No one ever wants to be in a position where they need a criminal lawyer, but if you or a loved one finds yourself there, you owe it to yourself to find the best possible lawyer for your defense.

What's New
  • Twelve federal appeals courts have said that the FBI acted in good faith when they used a Virginia warrant to search thousands of computers around the world in the controversial Playpen child pornography case. Our office last week asked for a special hearing in the Second Circuit to challenge that conclusion, with a series of […]
  • In the latest perversion of the laws against child pornography, Maryland's highest court late last month upheld the conviction of a teenage girl for sending around a one-minute video of herself performing fellatio. The recipient of the fellatio was not prosecuted. Neither were the girl's erstwhile friends who, after a falling out, may have distributed […]
  • A prison Cell
    Defense attorneys were turned away from the high rise federal jail in lower Manhattan known as the Metropolitan Correction Center on Saturday morning. The Legal Department told us, it was "due to an earlier security issue." Apparently, they were scouring the jail to find Jeffrey Epstein's killer. Epstein was found dead by hanging. He had […]
Zachary is a brilliant attorney - he has a keen understanding of the law, with years of experience and practices with diligence and integrity. It was a pleasure to work with and learn from Zach, as he provided thoughtful and meticulous guidance. Zach is undoubtedly a devoted and passionate advocate for his clients, who operates with confidence, reliability, and the utmost professionalism. Vidya P.
Zachary is an excellent lawyer with great concern for his clients and equally great skills and thinking outside the box. I met him as an adversary and chose to keep him as a friend. He is both able and dedicated. In his areas of practice, he is outstanding. Joel A.
I highly recommend Zachary as a defense attorney. I hired him on a very serious jury case and the bottom line is we won. It is the best decision of my life at a critical point in my life. Zach was very professional, personable, a diligent expert, a masterful strategist but most importantly he took the time to understand my perspective. Ronald C.
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