Appeals Blog

Case Summaries – Fourth Department Decisions Released on December 22, 2017

Criminal Cases: People v Barnes (KA 09-02123) – D was convicted of three counts of second-degree burglary and one count of first-degree reckless endangerment. The lower court sentenced him, as a persistent felony offender, to an aggregate term of 82 years to life in prison. 4AD finds the sentence is harsh and severe and reduces […]

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Case Summaries – Fourth Department Decisions Released on November 17, 2017

Criminal People v. Pace (KA 16-01024) – lower court denied, without a hearing, defendant’s CPL 440.10 motion and the 4AD now reverses.  D stood accused of three felonies and three misdemeanors, all stemming from the same act or criminal transaction, and proceeded to jury trial.  However, the DA, just prior to jury selection, notified the […]

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Case Summaries – Fourth Department Decisions Released on November 9, 2017

Criminal Case Summaries: People v Barber (KA 15-00947) – 4AD modifies D’s judgment of conviction, reversing the second-degree assault and first-degree unlawful imprisonment counts. First, the lower court’s instructions allowed the jury to convict D of assault based on a theory that was not reflected in the indictment. The indictment charged that D caused an […]

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Case Summaries – Fourth Department Decisions Released on October 6, 2017

Criminal Case Summaries: People v Ayala (KA 15-02036) – 4AD reverses D’s conviction because the lower court erred in refusing to give the jury a circumstantial evidence charge. Police executed a search warrant in an apartment leased to D’s girlfriend. D was present during the search. Police found drugs and various paraphernalia, most of which […]

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Case Summaries – Fourth Department Decisions Released on September 29, 2017

Criminal Case Summaries: People v Boyd (KA 12-00373) – 4AD affirms D’s convictions for attempted criminal possession of a weapon in the second and third degrees. D was a front-seat passenger in a car police pulled over. Based on D’s nervous and anxious behavior, police asked him to exit the car. When he did so, […]

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Case Summaries – Fourth Department Decisions Released on June 30 & July 7, 2017

Criminal Cases: People v Colon (KA 15-01399) – 4AD reverses D’s conviction because the lower court erred in denying his motion to withdraw his guilty plea. At the time D pled guilty, the lower court incorrectly assured him that he would be able to challenge the sufficiency of the grand jury evidence on appeal. Once […]

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Case Summaries – Fourth Department Decisions Released on May 5, 2017

Criminal Case Summaries: People v Case (KA 15-00535) – 4AD reverses D’s conviction for first-degree rape, among other things, in the interest of justice, finding that the prosecutor engaged in misconduct. The prosecutor repeatedly appealed to the jury’s sympathy by asking it to do justice and protect the victim, bolstered the victim’s credibility, and injected […]

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Case Summaries – Fourth Department Decisions Released on April 28, 2017

Criminal Case Summaries: People v Gibson (KA 15-01843) – 4AD reverses the lower court’s order, which adjudicated D a level three risk pursuant to SORA. The lower court improperly assessed points for criminal history based on D’s prior juvenile delinquency adjudication. The lower court assessed the points based on 4AD’s prior decision in People v […]

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Case Summaries – Fourth Department Decisions Released on March 31, 2017

Criminal Case Summaries: People v Henderson (KA 12-02153) – 4AD reserves decision and remits this case for further proceedings for a second time. On D’s first appeal, 4AD remitted the matter for a hearing on D’s motion to withdraw his plea, which was based on D’s claim that counsel had advised him that he could […]

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Case Summaries – Fourth Department Decisions Released on March 24, 2017

Criminal Case Summaries: People v Brown (KA 12-01592) – In this drug case, 4AD finds that the lower court erred in permitting the prosecution to cross-examine D regarding prior drug convictions and their underlying facts. 4AD notes that in drug cases, prior drug convictions present a special risk of impermissible prejudice because of the widely […]

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Case Summaries – Fourth Department Decisions Released on February 10, 2017

Criminal Cases: People v Clay (KA 14-01509) – 4AD reverses D’s conviction because the prosecution failed to give notice of its intent to introduce identification evidence pursuant to CPL 710.30. A police officer identified D in a single-photo identification procedure about 2 hours after the incident. The prosecutor first gave notice of the identification at […]

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Case Summaries – Fourth Department Decisions Released on February 3, 2017

Criminal Case Summaries: People v Betances (KA 14-00578) – 4AD reverses D’s conviction, finding that the lower court erred in denying a challenge for cause to a prospective juror. The prospective juror indicated that D “obviously” must have done something wrong or he would not be in court. The court asked the juror questions, but […]

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Case Summaries – Fourth Department Decisions Released on December 23, 2016

Criminal Case Summaries: People v Collins (KA 14-02296) – 4AD reverses D’s conviction of first-degree sexual abuse based on two separate errors. First, the lower court erred in denying a challenge for cause regarding a prospective juror whose son is married to the daughter of the District Attorney of Ontario County, and who has a […]

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Case Summaries – Fourth Department Decisions Released on November 18, 2016

Criminal Case Summaries: People v Freeman (KA 13-00893) – 4AD finds that the lower court erred in denying D’s motion to suppress tangible evidence and D’s statements. Police stopped D for riding his bike at night without a light. The officer then asked D why he was so nervous and if he was carrying drugs. […]

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Case Summaries – Fourth Department Decisions Released on November 10, 2016

Criminal Case Summaries: People v Bailey (KA 15-02068) – 4AD affirms the lower court’s order, which granted D’s CPL 440.10 motion to vacate the judgement based on newly discovered evidence. D was convicted of second-degree murder in connection with the death of a toddler who was in D’s care. The evidence at trial showed that […]

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Case Summaries – Fourth Department Decisions Released on October 7, 2016

Criminal Case Summaries: People v Leubner (KA 15-01477 & KA 15-01479) – 4AD reverses D’s convictions because the lower court erred in denying his motion pursuant to CPL 30.30 to dismiss the indictments. 4AD finds that a letter defense counsel wrote to the prosecutor’s office, asking to discuss a potential plea offer before the prosecutor […]

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Case Summaries – Fourth Department Decisions Released on September 30, 2016

Criminal Case Summaries: People v Ashford (KA 12-00098) – 4AD reverses D’s first-degree robbery conviction, finding that the lower court should have granted his motion to suppress evidence obtained from his person. 4AD concludes that police had reasonable suspicion to apprehend D, who matched the general description of the suspect provided by the victim, and […]

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Case Summaries – Fourth Department Decisions Released on July 8, 2016

Criminal Case Summaries: People v Bertollini (KA 15-00788) – 4AD reverses D’s conviction for first-degree reckless endangerment following a guilty plea because D’s recitation of the facts at the plea colloquy cast significant doubt upon his guilt of that crime. Specifically, the factual recitation negated the depraved-indifference element. The lower court attempted to conduct a […]

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Case Summaries – Fourth Department Decisions Released on July 1, 2016

Criminal Case Summaries: People v Lawrence (KA 14-00658) – D appealed from a conviction for second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. 4AD rejects D’s argument that the lower court erred in admitting testimony that a witness had seen D possess the subject gun two years earlier. Defense counsel opened the door to such testimony by […]

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Counsel must file affidavit of errors to preserve client’s right to appeal from judgment of conviction in a local criminal court

In People v Smith (__ NY3d __, 2016 NY Slip Op 4973 [2016]), the Court of Appeals recently held that “an affidavit of errors is a jurisdictional prerequisite for the taking of an appeal from a local court where there is no court stenographer”.  This means that trial counsel must file an affidavit of errors […]

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