Articles Posted in Criminal Law

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The Court of Appeals held in this criminal case that, to ensure road safety, a police officer may run a license plate number through a government database to check for any outstanding violations or suspensions on the registration of the vehicle without any suspicion of wrongdoing, and such a check does not constitute a search. The Court further held that information obtained indicating the registration of the vehicle was in violation of the law as a result of this check may provide probable cause for the officer to stop the driver of the vehicle. In so holding, the Court affirmed the intermediate appellate court’s reversal of the suppression court’s suppression of the evidence in this case, determining that the license plate check of Defendant’s vehicle and the traffic stop of Defendant’s vehicle and his person were lawful. View "People v. Bushey" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeals affirmed Defendant’s conviction on one count of first-degree assault, holding that the trial court eliminated any prejudice to Defendant from testimony that deprived Defendant of his right to confront this witness by striking the offending testimony from the record and instructing the jury to disregard the statements. The Appellate Division also concluded that the trial court prevented any prejudice to Defendant by striking the challenged portion of the witness’s testimony and instructing the jury to disregard it. Defendant’s remaining claim that he was entitled to a hearing on his N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law 330.30 motion was without merit. View "People v. Stone" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Defendant appealed the denial of his motion to suppress a firearm recovered from his vehicle, arguing primarily that the challenged search was unlawful under the Court of Appeals’ holding in People v. Huntley because it was premised on his status as a parolee but was conducted by police officers, not by his parole officer. The Court of Appeals affirmed Defendant’s convictions for criminal possession of a weapon in the second and third degrees and unlawful possession of marihuana, holding (1) a tip indicating that Defendant had a firearm in his vehicle taken together with Defendant’s reduced expectation of privacy provided support in the record for the conclusion that the search of Defendant’s vehicle was lawful and reasonable; and (2) there was support in the record for the trial court’s rejection of Defendant’s proffered race-neutral reason for exercising a peremptory challenge as to a prospective juror as pretextual. View "People v. McMillan" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeals held that, when a defendant asserts an agency defense supported solely by portions of the People’s case-in-chief on the People’s direct case, a trial court may exercise its discretion to entertain the People’s application pursuant to People v. Molineux to allow into evidence a defendant’s prior drug sale conviction on the issue of the intent to sell the drugs. The Court of Appeals affirmed the Appellate Division’s decision, concluding that the trial court in this case properly allowed the People to introduce evidence of Defendant’s prior drug sale conviction on the issue of intent in their case-in-chief where Defendant essentially adopted the portions of the evidence elicited by the People that supported an agency defense. View "People v. Valentin" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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In 2013, Supreme Court issued 381 warrants directed at Facebook upon a warrant application by the New York County District Attorney’s Office that was supported by an investigator’s affidavit. The warrants sought the account information and communications of various Facebook subscribers in connection with a criminal investigation. Facebook moved to quash the warrants, arguing that they were overbroad and lacked particularity. Supreme Court denied the motion. While Facebook’s appeal was pending, Facebook moved for an order compelling disclosure of the investigator’s support affidavit. Supreme Court denied the motion to compel disclosure of the affidavit. Facebook appealed that order as well. The Appellate Division dismissed both of Facebook’s appeals on the ground that they were taken from nonappealable orders. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that because the orders resolving Facebook’s motions relate to warrants issued in a criminal proceeding, and the Criminal Procedure Law does not authorize an appeal from either order, Supreme Court properly denied the two motions at issue here. View "In re 381 Search Warrants Directed to Facebook, Inc." on Justia Law

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After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of burglary in the first degree, assault in the second degree, and criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree. Defendant appealed, arguing that he was deprived of a fair trial by the People’s PowerPoint presentation during summation and alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. The Appellate Division affirmed the judgment. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that Defendant was not deprived of a fair trial because the trial court took prompt corrective action to ensure that they jury was not being misled, and the trial court gave strong instructions concerning summation. View "People v. Williams" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of attempted murder in the second degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree. Defendant appealed, arguing that the prosecutor’s use of PowerPoint slides during summation deprived him of a fair trial and that defense counsel was ineffective for failing to object to the use of the slides. The Appellate Division affirmed the judgment. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that, given the parameters of the permissible use of the PowerPoint slides at issue, counsel was not ineffective for failing to object. View "People v. Anderson" on Justia Law

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After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of manslaughter in the first degree. The Appellate Division reversed, concluding that the trial court erred in instructing the jury on the initial aggressor exception to justification. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that there was a reasonable view of the evidence that Defendant was the initial aggressor in the use of deadly physical force, and therefore, the trial court did not commit reversible error by including an initial aggressor exception in its justification charge. Remitted to the Appellate Division for consideration of the issues raised but not determined on appeal to that court. View "People v. Valentin" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Defendant was charged in both Queens and Richmond Counties with committing numerous sex offenses against four children. Defendant pleaded guilty. When Defendant’s release date was approaching, the Board of Examiners of Sex Offenders prepared a case summary and risk assessment instrument (RAI) as required by the Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA). The Board did not recommend any points under risk factor seven, entitled “relationship with victim.” At the SORA hearing, the court assessed twenty points under risk factor seven and ultimately assessed Defendant a total of 125 points, rendering him a presumptive risk level three. The Appellate Division affirmed, concluding that Supreme Court did not err in assessing points under risk factor seven. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the lower courts erred in assessing twenty points under risk factor seven. View "People v. Cook" on Justia Law

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Defendant committed multiple sexual offenses against four children in both Queens and Richmond Counties. Prosecution was coordinated between the two District Attorneys’ offices on both counties, and Defendant pleaded guilty in both counties. Later, in anticipation of Defendant’s scheduled release, the Richmond County sentencing court conducted a Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) risk assessment hearing and adjudicated Defendant a level III, sexually violent offender. Shortly thereafter, the Queens County sentencing court held a SORA hearing and adjudicated Defendant a level III, sexually violent offender. Defendant appealed, arguing that the Queens County adjudication was not authorized by statute and was barred by res judicata. The Appellate Division reversed the Queens County SORA court’s order denying Defendant’s motion to dismiss the SORA risk assessment hearing, concluding (1) only one SORA “disposition” may be made per “Current Offense” or group of “Current Offenses”; and (2) the doctrine of res judicata barred the Queens County SORA proceedings. View "People v. Cook" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law