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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).

Dale J. Degenshein, a Stroock colleague, assists in preparing the articles on this blog.

Entries by Joel Cohen

Bill Cosby and the Problem With Prosecutors' Campaign Promises

(2) Comments | Posted January 11, 2016 | 12:37 AM

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...

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The Grand Jury Subpoena Bully Game

(0) Comments | Posted December 21, 2015 | 3:37 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,...

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

(0) Comments | Posted August 25, 2015 | 1:24 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...

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

(0) Comments | Posted May 26, 2015 | 1:21 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...

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When You're the Witness With the Secret Video

(0) Comments | Posted April 23, 2015 | 10:29 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...

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Hillary and Her Emails: Another View

(0) Comments | Posted March 10, 2015 | 12:52 PM

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...

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The Drawback in Using Special Prosecutors

(1) Comments | Posted January 12, 2015 | 2:04 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...

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Reflecting on the Ferguson Grand Jury

(2) Comments | Posted December 2, 2014 | 3:19 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...

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Why Is Judge Rakoff a Lone Wolf?

(3) Comments | Posted November 3, 2014 | 12:13 PM

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,...

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NFL's Bad Actors and Head Injuries

(0) Comments | Posted September 19, 2014 | 2:18 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...

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Blaming John Dean for His Poor Counsel

(0) Comments | Posted August 5, 2014 | 4:38 PM

Forty years having passed since Richard Nixon's resignation certainly allows for some revisionist history - some extremely valid and favorable to him. He did, after all is said and done, accomplish a lot as president, in both domestic and foreign policy, notwithstanding his apparent prejudices.

Nonetheless, trying to shift the...

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When the Guilty Are (Wrongly) Acquitted

(0) Comments | Posted July 25, 2014 | 5:17 PM

We read about them all the time, indeed too often: the people who are convicted for crimes they did not commit. There are so many variables: people who can't afford bail when the prosecutor offers them "time served" for a guilty plea, while the judge tells them they will have...

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Hillary's Lesson: Defending a Criminal

(0) Comments | Posted July 14, 2014 | 3:10 PM

Hillary Clinton will likely run for president. And if she does, given today's political and news climate, everything in her past is certainly fair game. Likewise for anyone who runs against her. So let's be clear at the outset -- this article is not about whether Hillary Clinton would be...

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Libel: Developing a 'Thick Skin'

(0) Comments | Posted June 25, 2014 | 7:25 AM

In 1964 -- yes, it was 50 years ago -- the U.S. Supreme Court decided New York Times v. Sullivan (376 U.S. 254 (1964)). To be sure, it was a great victory for the First Amendment when the Court held that a public official could not sue for libel unless...

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Jeopardy for Both: When a Private Converation Is Taped

(0) Comments | Posted May 23, 2014 | 1:21 PM

The dust has begun to settle about Donald Sterling and his strange (is there another word?) "girlfriend," V. Stiviano, although one is not sure we know more now than when this episode began. But what lessons can we learn from the spectacle they -- and it is they -- have...

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Judges and 'Speaking Out'

(0) Comments | Posted May 20, 2014 | 12:10 AM

A controversy is brewing. Judges are talking to the "real world" on real world subjects! And the current "face" of the controversy - an old school gentleman; a veritable prototype for what most would think a judge should look like, sound like and, more important, be like. Yes, Justice John...

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Challenging a Client's Story

(0) Comments | Posted April 28, 2014 | 4:06 PM

Any client, but particularly a criminal client, wants his lawyer to believe him -- whether or not he is being honest with him. If in fact the client is truthful, it goes without saying that he would want the lawyer's full confidence in his account, thus to better represent him....

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E-Mail: Self-Imposing a Delay

(0) Comments | Posted April 22, 2014 | 12:12 PM

In a curious story, even for the New York Post, we are told in a bold headline that "NY state government officials [are] shunning email." That is, in the face of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's taking possession of records compiled by an anti-corruption commission disbanded by Governor Cuomo,...

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Prosecutors and the 'Blanket' Policy

(2) Comments | Posted March 26, 2014 | 8:13 PM

Thirty years ago, I represented an extremely successful businessman. He was arrested one evening for an altercation -- the centerpiece of which was that he menacingly cursed at the police. I knew that the city's justice system was slow and that, if I let it take its course, for 24...

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Can The Fifth Protect Bridgegate Emails?

(2) Comments | Posted February 7, 2014 | 2:49 PM

If there are any smoking guns in Bridgegate, they will be found in emails or texts.

Anyone can say anything. Anyone who had access can point a finger directly at Governor Christie or (former) high-ranking officials in his administration and say something implicating about them. If they do, they...

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