Attorney Zachary Margulis-Ohnuma has experience with a great variety of criminal matters, ranging from high-profile federal trials to simple prosecutions in New York City Criminal Court. He has won significant sex crimes cases both at trial and on appeal, including the reversal of a felony conviction of a man accused of improper sexual contact with a 13-year-old girl and the first-ever successful appeal of a New York Offender Registration Act (Megan's Law) re-determination hearing. He has obtained favorable results for clients accused of child pornography, sex abuse, forcible touching, statutory rape and other crimes. In 2009, he obtained a $1 million jury verdict in a civil rights case on behalf of a former prisoner at Rikers Island.
After graduating from New York University School of Law, Mr. Margulis-Ohnuma went on to a judicial clerkship in the Southern District of New York. He next worked in the litigation department of the Manhattan office of Weil, Gotshal & Manges, a large corporate law firm. Starting in 2002, he practiced at the noted white-collar criminal defense boutique firm of Hafetz & Necheles, where he worked with trial attorneys Frederick P. Hafetz and Susan R. Necheles. Mr. Margulis-Ohnuma established his own practice in 2004.
For seven years after graduating with a B.A. in anthropology from Columbia College, Mr. Margulis-Ohnuma worked as a journalist in New Orleans, California, Mexico, Guatemala and New York City. He has written on both legal and non-legal topics in publications ranging from Wired Magazine to the NYU Journal of International Law and Politics (see Publications). He worked as a reporter for three daily newspapers in New York and Mexico, including the New York Daily News.
In addition to defending clients accused of sex crimes, Mr. Margulis-Ohnuma is a member of the CJA Panel for the Eastern District of New York, providing indigent defense for people accused of federal crimes in New York City and Long Island. Mr. Margulis-Ohnuma has tried civil and criminal cases in the federal courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York. In one high-profile case, he helped persuade the Queens District Attorney's Office to drop a charge of criminal possession of a weapon against a Northwest Airlines pilot accused of carrying a handgun onto his plane. He participated in representing individuals involved in the Martha Stewart trial, the Adelphia investigation, the Enron prosecution and other significant white-collar criminal cases.
Mr. Margulis-Ohnuma also has experience in civil litigation, immigration and appeals. He handles carefully selected cases for plaintiffs alleging their civil or human rights have been violated. In 2003, Mr. Margulis-Ohnuma won an argument before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals that the United States District Courts have habeas corpus jurisdiction to hear appeals from administrative findings under the Convention Against Torture. He has obtained substantial recoveries in civil lawsuits brought on behalf of victims of sex crimes.
Mr. Margulis-Ohnuma is fluent in Spanish and licensed as a notary public in the State of New York. He is a member of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, where, from 2005 through 2008 he organized a training seminar for other lawyers on federal sentencing. He currently sits on the Association's Committee on Professional Responsibility. He is also a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the New York State Bar Association. Mr. Margulis-Ohnuma's work is distinguished by a strong sense of professionalism, attention to detail, courtesy to both clients and adversaries, relentless advocacy and a deep understanding of the problems faced by those who are accused of crimes.