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A law school student’s appeal has resulted in the reversal of a man’s felony conviction on drug charges. In June 2002, Tony Anderson was found guilty of selling a controlled substance and selling a controlled substance in or near school grounds, and sentenced to up to 9 years in prison. A student in Cardozo Law School’s Criminal Appeals Clinic, third-year Douglas M. Schneider, drafted Mr. Anderson’s appeal under the supervision of attorney Robert Rosenthal. Mr. Schneider had graduated and joined Proskauer Rose by the time he argued the case before the Appellate Division, First Department. Last week, a unanimous panel overturned the conviction, finding that Mr. Anderson’s trial attorney’s repeated failures constituted reversible error. “The confused and contradictory steps taken by defense counsel compromised defendant’s right to a fair trial, depriving him of the effective assistance of counsel,” the panel held. Such error included the trial attorney’s conceding the element of identity even though he believed the state had already been precluded from introducing any evidence of his client’s identity.

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