Robbery and larceny are one of the most common crimes in the United States. There are many different degrees of each, depending on the context and the situation. Our source tells of an interesting case.
We have the People of the United States as the prosecutor and Ramel Bayard as the defendant. Bayard was charged with 2nd degree robbery and 4th degree larceny and sentenced to seven years of prison. As a 2nd time offender, he was also sentenced to two to four years in prison.
The events started thus. In June 1, 2004, Bayard ran across the victim in Sheepshead Bay. Reports establish that they had known each other since childhood and that the victim had a mental disability. Bayard went with the victim as he withdrew $587 from the bank and bought a $250 phone. After the purchase, Bayard tried to borrow $100 from the victim but was refused twice.
They then went to drop off a bicycle at a repair shop in Manhattan. They saw Bayard’s brother and two other friends. Bayard asked the victim to come with them and visit another friend.
The group entered the elevator and the 2nd floor button was pressed. When they reached that floor however, someone said that it was the wrong floor and the ninth floor button was pressed. When the victim tried to leave the elevator, he was suddenly put in a chokehold. He could not see the attacker’s face but saw that the man was in a gray shirt. Only Bayard was in a gray shirt. The victim fainted and when he regained consciousness, he was alone on the elevator floor. His newly bought phone and his money were missing.
The victim left the building and reported the events to a nearby patrol car. Around an hour later, the police found Bayard’s brother and the two other friends. The police gave chase and were able to capture the two friends. Bayard’s brother was able to escape, though. When the victim saw the two men, he identified them as Bayard’s friends and the men who were with him in the elevator.
On June 3, 2004, Bayard was arrested in his home. The detectives in charge though, did not have a warrant of arrest. When the victim saw Bayard, he identified him as the man who attacked him in the elevator.
In the Trial Court, the People presented its case as second degree robbery aided by another person. However, as there was no evidence to prove that another person helped Bayard commit the robbery, Bayard’s side asked if third degree robbery, where the robbery is non-violent and the attacker does the crime alone, could be submitted to the jury as a lesser offence. This was denied.
The Supreme Court however finds that the Trial Court was wrong in denying this claim. The submission meets all the requirements: 1) that in committing 2nd degree robbery, a person(s) also commits 3rd degree robbery and 2) that there is evidence to prove that the robbery was committed but not the violence. There is only the victim’s testimony that he was choked from behind, that he fainted, that when he woke his things were gone, and that Bayard was involved. There is also not enough evidence to either prove or disprove that Bayard was working alone.
Justice McGuire suggests that the appeal should be shelved until both parties submit their positions on possible remedies. The judge is quoted as saying “Further briefing certainly could not do any harm. The majority’s refusal to take that prudent step is baffling at best.”
According to our expert, the appropriate remedy, the next step to take is very important. The law states that when a higher court reverses the decision of a lower court due to an error in the trial which causes the defendant to be unfairly judged, there should be another trial. A specific subsection in this law specifically names the corrective action if a sentence is modified and reduced. However, the law as a whole, does not require the higher court to make this modification.
The Supreme Court weighed both sides. It weighed the possibilities of a decision that would not be unfair to Bayard but would not be unfair to the People too. The error in the Trial Court made the first sentence unfair to Bayard. If the decision were reversed however and Bayard was sentenced not guilty, that would seem to be against the rights of the People, as there is evidence to prove that a crime took place.
The Supreme Court has decided to suspend judgment on the case until Bayard and the People submit their recommendation for remedies.
Clearly, a court case is a complicated thing. Without proper guidance support, you can get lost in all the confusing twists and turns of the law. Stephen Bilkis & Associates, together with its New York Robbery Lawyers can guide you through that difficult time. With offices conveniently located around New York, help is just around the corner.