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Steven M. Cohen

Steven M. Cohen

Areas of Concentration

Civil Litigation
Criminal Defense
Constitutional/Civil Rights Litigation

Professional Experience

From New York City originally and now residing and practicing law in Buffalo, New York, Mr. Cohen has been successfully trying civil and criminal cases, including numerous civil rights and constitutional law cases, for over 20 years. In addition to corporate clients and individual litigation clients, he regularly represents local, state and federal law enforcement officers from numerous agencies, defending them in civil, criminal and administrative proceedings.

Admitted to practice in the States of New York and Pennsylvania, he has been admitted pro hac vice to conduct trials in six other states. Mr. Cohen is frequently brought in as special trial counsel by other law firms in civil rights and complex litigation cases. Steven M. Cohen has appeared on local and national media, including Good Morning America, Dateline NBC, 24 Hours, CNN, Dr. Drew and Geraldo Rivera to discuss cases he has been involved with.  Mr. Cohen is a co-founder of the Law Enforcement Officers Advocate's Council (LEOAC) and lives in Williamsville, New York with his wife Pamela.


J.D., 1987, State University of New York at Buffalo Law School
B.A., 1984, State University of New York at Stony Brook

Admissions to Practice

New York State
U.S. District Court, Western District of New York
U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Western District of New York
U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York
U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals
U.S. Tax Court
U.S. Court of Federal Claims, Washington D.C.
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
U.S. Supreme Court

Professional Associations & Memberships

American Bar Association, Member
American Association for Justice, Member
Bar Association of Erie County, Member
Law Enforcement Advocate's Council (LEOAC), Associated Counsel
New York State Bar Association - Committee on Codification of New York Trial Evidence, Member
New York State Trial Lawyers Association, Member
Western New York Trial Lawyers Association, Member


Strathmore's Who's Who
Presidential Who's Who
Who's Who in Law - Buffalo Business First
New York State Super Lawyers - Upstate Edition, Business Litigation, Criminal Defense and Civil Rights/First Amendment

Speaking Engagements

Gun Licensing and the Safe Act, 2013, 2014
Use of Force for the Civilian, and the Castle Doctrine, 2011, 2014
Defense of Justification, Article 35, and Private Gun Ownership, 2014
The Homicide Crimes and PL 125, 2011, 2014
WGRZ appearance to discuss federal lawsuit against the city of Buffalo, May, 2012
Expert Witnesses: Frye, Daubert and Emerging Standards, 2010
Unjust Conviction and Wrongful Incarceration: When the System Fails, 2009
Legal Issues in EMS, 1992-2008, 2011,2013
Getting It In - Keeping It Out: Trial Evidence in New York, 2008
Proving Excessive Force Cases: Violations of Use of Force Continuums by Law Enforcement Officers, 2007
Prosecutorial Misconduct in the Federal System, 2006
Cross Examination of the Arson Investigator, 2004 and 2005
Cross Examination of the Ballistics and Firearms Expert, 2002 and 2004
Representing Volunteer Fire Departments in New York State, 1990-1992, 1998 and 2003, 2010, 2012
Cross Examination of Document Experts, 2003
Crime Scene Preservation, New York State Police Academy, 2001 and 2002
Who's In Charge: Multi-Jurisdictional Crime Scenes, New York State Police Academy, 2001 and 2002

Noteworthy Cases

In the Matter of Amanda Wienckowski - Reversing a determination of accidental death to homicide by the Erie County Medical Examiner.

USA v. Robert Rhodes - Successfully defended Customs and Border Protection Officer Robert Rhodes against charges brought by a Chinese National that he violated her civil rights while stationed at the Rainbow Bridge in July of 2004. This case attracted international attention.

Robert Rhodes v. Dept. of Homeland Security - Successfully represented CBP Officer Robert Rhodes against the US Dept. of Homeland Security in an arbitration that resulted in Rhodes getting his job back with full retroactive benefits.

Mark Zito v. Niagara Power Coalition - Successfully represented Mark Zito against the Niagara Power Coalition for his commission in obtaining a $1.2 Billion power deal.

Lynn DeJac v. State of New York - Following Ms. DeJac's release after spending more than 13 years in prison for a crime she did not commit, Mr. Cohen represented her against the State of New York, County of Erie and City of Buffalo for wrongful imprisonment.

City of Buffalo Police Dept. v. Detective Dennis Delano - Represented Detective Delano in his arbitration in which the City of Buffalo is seeking his termination from the Police Department following his utilization of the media to help bring light to the Girard murder case that was being covered up by authorities to protect the reputation of political figures.

People v. Francis Harrington - Represented Francis Harrington in a criminal case that held that the jurisdiction of the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority Police was limited off BMHA property. This case was instrumental in the ultimate dissolution of the BMHA Police Force on the grounds that it was not a lawful police department, but a limited peace officer force, and they had been grossly exceeding their lawful authority for years.

Rust v. Turgeon/Dissolution of Roycroft Campus - Represented one of the two owners of the Roycroft Arts and Crafts Campus based in East Aurora, New York in the dissolution and division of assets of this nationally renowned institution. The dissolution included both tangible and intellectual property.  

Erie County/Aurora Highway Dept. Scandal - Represented Patrick Kennedy, foreman of the Aurora Barn, in the Highway Department scandal that resulted in the conviction and termination of Douglas Naylon and Ronald Sutton.

In the matter of the murder of Bianca Cartagena - Worked with friends and family of the decedent to get the death certificate changed from "accidental death" to "homicide".  Worked to help secure indictment.

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