iOS app Android app

Joel Cohen
Joel Cohen, of counsel at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP in New York, represents individuals and corporations in white-collar criminal investigations and prosecutions and in internal investigations, regulatory and enforcement matters. Before practicing at Stroock, he was a New York State and then a U.S. Justice Department prosecutor for ten years concentrating on prosecuting public officials and organized crime figures for public corruption offenses.

For 28 years, Mr. Cohen has been a regular contributor and now a columnist on criminal law and ethics for the New York Law Journal. He frequently writes and lectures on those subjects. His first book of non-fiction, Blindfolds Off: Judges on How They Decide, which lifts the veil of secrecy surrounding judicial decision-making, was published in August 2014 (ABA Publ.) Mr. Cohen also authored a book of fiction, Truth Be Veiled (Coffeetown Press, 2010), that addresses the criminal lawyer's ethical dilemmas in dealing with truth. He is an Adjunct Professor at Fordham Law School, where he has taught Professional Responsibility and currently teaches a class on “How Judges Decide.”

In addition to his law practice and legal writings, Mr. Cohen has also published three works of Biblical fiction, Moses: A Memoir (Paulist Press, 2003); Moses and Jesus: A Conversation (Dorrance Publ., 2006); and David and Bathsheba: Through Nathan's Eyes (Paulist Press, 2007).

The opinions expressed in this article are Mr. Cohen's and not necessarily those of the Stroock firm or its lawyers. Dale J. Degenshein, a Stroock colleague, assists in preparing the articles on this blog.

Entries by Joel Cohen

The Hillary Investigation: Won't The Public Ultimately Decide?

(2) Comments | Posted July 14, 2016 | 5:59 PM

Bill Clinton's silly drive-by on the Phoenix airport tarmac clearly rendered Attorney General Loretta Lynch incapacitated from making - as would otherwise fall to her - the final decision on whether or not to indict Hillary Clinton over her (intentional, or not) email misconduct. Even if she had, as was...

Read Post

Stanford, Orlando -- Will Judges Put Them Aside When Sentencing?

(0) Comments | Posted June 28, 2016 | 3:59 PM

You are a judge - you see yourself as sober, clear-eyed and unbiased - on the verge of imposing sentence in a date rape case somewhere in America. Or a gay murder/hate crime sentence is before you. There is no jury; it is just you, the judge. In the face...

Read Post


(0) Comments | Posted June 2, 2016 | 4:32 PM

When President Obama famously attacked the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United in his 2010 State of the Union, he attacked the Court's majority and arguably the institution itself. He was, to me at least, way out of line. Not for the attack, but for the venue. Maybe...

Read Post

A Professional's Hope-laced Candor

(0) Comments | Posted May 20, 2016 | 12:00 AM

As is often the case, at least when it comes to love, William Shakespeare said it best:

When my love swears that she is made of truth, I do believe her though I know she lies *** Therefore I lie with her and she with me, And in our...
Read Post


(0) Comments | Posted May 11, 2016 | 5:31 PM

At a recent, small, Manhattan dinner party with friends and acquaintances, after we succumbed to the veritas that had overtaken us from rapid fire drams of vino that liberated our theretofore secluded thoughts, the conversation turned to confidantes. Namely, to whom would you turn for guidance when a life crisis...

Read Post

Obviating the Danger of the BCC

(1) Comments | Posted April 27, 2016 | 7:19 PM

When you send someone an email, more likely than not, you intend the email to be for the recipient alone. You don't routinely add language: "do not forward this email; for your eyes only." You send the email - the privacy aspect is, we all believe, understood. But as we...

Read Post

Eric Garner Prosecutor Once Again Escapes Scrutiny

(6) Comments | Posted April 8, 2016 | 12:00 PM

By Joel Cohen and Bennett L. Gershman

The circumstances in the Eric Garner chokehold death by Staten Island Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo - pronounced a homicide by the New York City Medical Examiner - continues to elude close public scrutiny and official accountability. Unless the public's "lying eyes"...

Read Post

Disqualify Overachievers From the Supreme Court?

(0) Comments | Posted March 23, 2016 | 5:30 PM

In May, 1970 President Richard Nixon nominated G. Harrold Carswell, then sitting on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, to fill a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court created when Abe Fortas resigned under fire. Carswell's record on the District Court (the trial level court) on which he sat before...

Read Post

Apple and the Ticking Time Bomb Scenario

(0) Comments | Posted March 14, 2016 | 3:32 PM

The embers at Ground Zero still burned and the stench of 9/11's aftermath floated in the air. A still shell-shocked nation seemed (alarmingly) at ease with the prospect of employing physical torture, if deemed necessary by law enforcement. Many were quite okay with using it to "persuade," e.g., waterboard, a...

Read Post

Helping Juries to Better Reach Untainted Verdicts

(0) Comments | Posted February 15, 2016 | 12:58 PM

It's a civil case. Voir dire, questioning of jury for selection purposes, after lunch. Question: no matter what can you be fair to both sides? - Claire McCaskill (@clairecmc) January 25, 2016

Claire McCaskill is a respected United States Senator from Missouri - actually a former prosecutor in Kansas City...

Read Post

Bill Cosby and the Problem With Prosecutors' Campaign Promises

(2) Comments | Posted January 10, 2016 | 11:37 PM

When President Obama first ran for President, he campaigned on a platform that, if elected, he would gain affordable health care for all Americans -- and he enacted it. Donald Trump campaigns on a promise to build a wall across the southern border of the United States to keep out...

Read Post

The Grand Jury Subpoena Bully Game

(0) Comments | Posted December 21, 2015 | 2:37 PM

Everyone knows that they don't want to be served with a grand jury subpoena duces tecum, a demand for documents. But what is it, really? Basically, it's a court order announcing to the recipient that a criminal investigation (of someone - maybe the person is identified, maybe not) is on-going,...

Read Post

Clinton and Petraeus: Is the Current Client the Only One?

(0) Comments | Posted August 25, 2015 | 12:24 PM

David Petraeus had an estimable criminal lawyer. So now does Hillary Clinton.

Yes, both Petraeus and Clinton have been (are) ensnared in scandals over their alleged compromise of national security by allowing classified materials that transact official business of the United States to go onto (or into) unsecure venues. In...

Read Post

I'm Not a Potted Plant; Or Am I?

(0) Comments | Posted May 26, 2015 | 12:21 PM

On July 9, 1987, the defense attorney Brendan Sullivan became an icon, stridently refusing to stand mute as his client Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North was questioned -- sometimes inappropriately - before a Joint Committee of the House and Senate investigating the Iran-Contra scandal that actually implicated the President of the...

Read Post

When You're the Witness With the Secret Video

(0) Comments | Posted April 23, 2015 | 9:29 AM

You're a random person walking down the street. Maybe you're a minority; maybe not. You stop cold because you can't believe what you see: the police are there and it is just horrible and unthinkable, even though you know this has happened in other areas of the country -- an...

Read Post

Hillary and Her Emails: Another View

(0) Comments | Posted March 10, 2015 | 11:52 AM

Public service is a noble calling. But at what price? It's bad enough if historians pick over your bones for years after you're dead and gone. But what about now -- when you're alive, well and trying to not only do your job, but do it in such a way...

Read Post

The Drawback in Using Special Prosecutors

(1) Comments | Posted January 12, 2015 | 1:04 PM

What are special prosecutors good for? Do they serve a valid public interest? Or do they usurp the power and discretion of the sitting prosecutor for sometimes questionable reasons? And, most troubling, does the public demand the appointment of a special prosecutor not for the purpose of conducting an impartial...

Read Post

Reflecting on the Ferguson Grand Jury

(2) Comments | Posted December 2, 2014 | 2:19 PM

Despite much criticism for his conduct in guiding the Ferguson grand jury's investigation into the killing of Michael Brown, District Attorney Robert McCulloch did something fairly remarkable: he allowed the grand jury to hear every piece of evidence in the case to determine whether police officer Darren Wilson was legally...

Read Post

Why Is Judge Rakoff a Lone Wolf?

(3) Comments | Posted November 3, 2014 | 11:13 AM

Judge Jed S. Rakoff is clearly at the cutting edge.

When he speaks ex cathedra from the federal bench in the Southern District of New York, he gives the litigants before him his sometimes provocative rulings. We have his (initial) rejection of a controversial settlement of the SEC/Citigroup case,...

Read Post

NFL's Bad Actors and Head Injuries

(0) Comments | Posted September 19, 2014 | 1:18 PM

The visual, undeniable evidence of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice cold cocking his fiancée (now wife), and the reports of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson "disciplining" his children are almost too much to bear. And they're not the only ones. For many, and for some for the wrong...

Read Post