In some trials, there are more than one judge who comes up with the verdict. Have you ever wondered what would happen if not all the judges agreed on a decision? A source tells of one such case.
Frank A was charged with robbery and illegal possession of a weapon for two incidents. The first was the robbery of Mark J on December 27, 1981 in the City of Buffalo. The second was for the robbery of William . Both robberies happened at around the same time and in the same area.
A was found innocent of the robbery of J. At the trial for the robbery of N, J testified that he saw A in a gas station in the area. A asked the court not to include J’s testimony on the basis of criminal estoppel.
According to a Lawyer, criminal estoppel means that once the truth of a certain issue in a criminal case has been proved, the same issue can no longer be brought up between the same parties in another case. For example, if it is proved in a certain case that a certain thing happened, then the same people can no longer discuss if it is true or not in another case.
The defendant should then prove that the jury’s decision in that previous trial also applies to the certain issue raised in the second trial. In most cases, this is difficult because it is not always easy to point out the reason for why a jury reaches its decision. The court should examine the reasons behind the jury’s decision and if it finds that the reason for the decision is not the issue that the defendant wants to exclude, then criminal estoppel cannot be used.
The Trial Court dismissed A’s claim. According to it, J’s testimony was only that A was present in the area where he was robbed. In the case of A v. J, the question was not whether or not A was present in the area but whether or not A robbed J.
A’s lawyers were able to prove that he was innocent. There was no robbery because J forgot to mention to the police beforehand of certain items that he had lost during the robbery. Furthermore, during his testimony, J said that during the robbery, his shirt was torn and that he was scratched. His lawyer however, did not call as witness J’s father who was the first person to see him after the robbery. Since it did not matter in this case where A was or not, the Court decided that it was not an important factor in the jury’s decision.
The Appellate Court however, has a different view of the matter. According to it, J’s testimony should not have been included. Finding Acevedo innocent of robbing J should have acted as estoppel.
One of the major issues in A vs. J was whether or not there was someone in the gas station. For the Appellate Court however, the primary issue should have been whether or not A and J met at the gas station and whether or not A robbed J.
The jury did not believe J’s testimony, in fact, they believed that he had lied in court. If J was not at the gas station then, it would have been impossible for A to rob him.
Since it was established that J was not a credible witness, that his word was not believable, based on estoppel, his word could not be used in the second case. Therefore, A was granted a new trial.
All court cases include a lot of complexities and details that may be very confusing and frustrating. In times like these, everyone needs the support and guidance of experts knowledgeable in the field.
Stephen Bilkis & Associates can provide you with advice and recommend you good New York Robbery Lawyers. A good lawyer can mean the difference between a long, dragging case that can drain your money and the results that you want. You can find their offices conveniently located around New York.