People v. Bethune

Under the circumstances of this case, where an alleged instructional defect was actually a typographical error, Supreme Court did not abuse its discretion in resettling the transcript without a hearing. Defendant was convicted of murder in the second degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree. On appeal, Defendant argued that he was denied a fair trial because Supreme Court provided a supplemental jury instruction that described intentional murder as an unintentional crime, thereby relieving the People of the burden of establishing a crucial element of the charge. Thereafter, the People, believing that the defect in the instruction was the result of a typographical error, asked the court reporter to consult her notes. The reporter advised the People that the two relevant instances of the word “unintentional” should instead have been transcribed as “intentional." The reporter then prepared a certified corrected transcript. Supreme Court then ruled that the record would be resettled in accordance with the correct transcript without a reconstruction hearing. The Appellate Division upheld the judgment of Supreme Court. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that Supreme Court did not act outside its discretion to resettle the transcript without a hearing. View "People v. Bethune" on Justia Law