Thomas Kenniff, a prominent New York defense lawyer and Republican nominee for the New York County District Attorney, represents Daniel Penny in a manslaughter case.

Who is Thonas Kennif?

Daniel Penny (x/@crimeinnyc)

Thomas Kenniff, a seasoned New York defense lawyer and the Republican nominee for New York County District Attorney, has taken on the defense of Daniel Penny, who faces manslaughter charges for the death of Jordan Neely. The New York County District Attorney’s Office confirmed that a judge has rejected a motion to dismiss the case, signaling that the trial will proceed.

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Daniel Penny stands accused of putting Jordan Neely, a 30-year-old Black man experiencing homelessness, in a fatal chokehold during a subway altercation in May. The medical examiner ruled Neely’s death a homicide caused by the compression of the neck.

Penny’s defense team had sought to have the case dismissed, arguing that Penny did not have the intent to harm Neely and that witnesses on the subway feared for their safety that day. However, the judge’s decision ensures the case will advance, with the next conference meeting scheduled for March 20.

The incident unfolded when Neely began acting erratically on the subway, prompting Penny, who is white, to approach him from behind and employ a chokehold. After a six-minute struggle, Neely became unresponsive, leading to his death. Penny was indicted on charges of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide and has pleaded not guilty.

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Prosecutors and defense lawyers have clashed over witness accounts, emphasizing the varying perspectives due to Neely’s position not being visible to all passengers. Kenniff argues that Penny’s actions were a response to perceived danger Neely posed to other passengers.

Thomas Kenniff, a founding partner of Raiser & Kenniff, P.C., has a notable legal career, specializing in criminal defense. As the Republican nominee for the New York County District Attorney, he brings extensive experience to the forefront of Penny’s defense. The trial’s outcome will be closely watched, highlighting the complexities of legal interpretations in cases involving the use of force.